A PLEASURABLE PICKLE – Blog – Category- Family
Ah, it was such a pleasurable pickle.
The day was totally devoted to ‘pickling’ and it turned out to be most exciting, intrepid and hilarious experience of my life of five decades plus.
It reverberated my unshattering belief in simple pleasures offering ample treasures in life. Little did I plan to have it this way but the sheer bliss of doing something with my own hands and own labour was invigorating enough, not only to the sedentary body but to the mind too.
A metro city bred girl, feeling exhuberant at the sight of a tree laden with green luscious fruits in the front yard was unlike a trip to the best holiday resort in the world, nor did it compare to the E or F Class Merc in the glass vaulted garage but this was something that evoked glee much beyond expressions.
This was the day, the day for the mango pickle.
All was set. Phone calls were made and the time for plucking was meticulously decided to be early morning before the sun rays spoil the plucking spree. So, a bamboo and a metal rod with a proper curve for hook were improvised. Tied with strings and fastened with belts to keep it in place. There was a lot of science that went into making it. The curvature, the angle and the proper bent in 90 degrees to clasp those dangling green clusters on the mango tree; Stones, pliers and strength were used to make it absolutely appropriate for the mission.
And by late evening, It was ready.
Time was running short because more and more visitors to the area made it urgent for us to pluck the booty before anyone else would vamoose with it in our absence. Human traits and no one could ensure another mans behavior when temptation it is known how temptations are superior to all other emotions …. Especially today.
She came. With the remaining paraphernalia. The mango cutter, a special one that is needed to cut these mangoes and all the condiments for the pickle.
The ‘Tarzan’ of the house was ready for the big job while the two ladies spread out their big bed sheet under his shadow to maneuver the fruit he aimed. The bump of which could be dangerous too.
The main event began.
“There it is” Oh! “Here this one” “I see a big cluster here” were the shrills.
The camouflage was perfect so it was difficult to locate the fruits between the glossy leaves. Easier said than done. It took more muscle and more skills to grip those mangoes and pull them down into the sheet. Half hour gone and there was fuming and fretting, the arms gave way. The ladies tried too, but more than one – was impossibility.
The man of the house tried a short cut.
Aimed at the huge cluster and stuck his hook right above it to bring all the mangoes down in one jerk. There was a big jerk and a bigger thud at the back.
There he lay!
The mangoes in tact on the branches and the hook laughing back at us from the high branch … dangling beyond our reach.
So, much so for the ‘greed’ governed short cut!
Our pickle was on the tree!
Wait till you hear next!
…. The pickling activity continued but with a forced interval.
There was a break for an iced ‘panha’ under the green mango tree sitting over a fallen log of another tree.
Now to recapture the metal rod stuck high up on a branch was the challenge.
I remembered the famous story that we had in our course books in school of Dronacharya using his ingenuity and dexterity to acquire the ball in the well. We scratched our brains but the hook was so snugly stuck that no amount of thrashing and pulling from below made it move a bit.
Then again another break for brain storming sessions! “Do this” and “do that” and “Oh no” and “Oh yes”
Inspired by Vivekananda’s quote ‘Try and try again till the goal is reached ‘ the ladies and the single man of the mission tried their wisdom to do whatever they thought of to make it come down or else the whole mission would remain un accomplished.
And finally ….. It did succumb to human efforts.
Then began the mango plucking again!
The macho lady tried it but it looked easier than even hold the tall bamboo in place let alone aim it at the luscious cluster and hook it properly for the final pull to make it fall into the bed sheet held below. It was a precarious circus act. Not possible for the dainty ones so she gave up sooner than she had planned. There were more thuds, sometimes the green mango fell directly on the head and sometimes the glare was too much so something else fell down instead of the mangoes. The big red ants accompanied with it.
Amidst “ouch! And oofs” the process continued with gleeful laughter until the hands of the ‘Tarzan ‘could withstand no more. And yet there were so many laughing back at us – knowing fully well they were out of our reach.
Another small break with accolades for the greens that lay in a heap in our bed sheet. Strong, sturdy, green and fresh.
So, “this is enough” they chorused.
The mangoes were promptly given a royal bath, a quick dry and then the ‘cutter’ which had been brought from the rural home, was made ready.
No, no, not without prior preparations! The crepe bandage covered the palms of the man who was going to do the job. Lotions were applied before the bandage too.
Guess how many mangoes?
The betting began. It was more sensational than the bidding for IPL.
100,150, 200… went the guesses.
‘Whoever is correct gets a Cornetto’ was the prize.
(My 200 was the closest as there were 192 + 2 discarded ones).
Ah, I had won myself an ice-cream cone.
The kitchen weighing scale did its job. They measured 20 kg total.
Fresh bedspreads were laid down on the floor.
And all was set for the next phase of the pickle.
The green mangoes were systematically guillotined. The white seeds removed. The cut pieces wiped clean again separated for the final mix.
Then the recipe was multiplied 20 times over. The condiments were multiplied too.
It took a long time without the calculator of course!
THE GRAND FINALE
The last phase of the pickling day!
The sweet fruit of labour!
The measures were taken, math done, the condiments promptly bought and the drive was back home till all the mangoes had been guillotined, ready to be pickled…
The hugeness of the whole affair was exhausting.
For two girls (now middle aged ladies) brought up in a perfectly urban environment, this was an event of a lifetime.
Beyond measure of pleasure.
A degree above the Dubai Shopping or the Holiday at St Moritz in Switzerland.
The childlike fun of the whole process made it surpass all other joys ever had before.
The hard labor and the bruises and the skirmishes with nature made it an adventure at the door step without a ticket.
The tempting red, with the luscious and sour green mango pieces made it a spectacular picture.
There was no pot or jar large enough so brand new plastic buckets were used.
The pickle was ready. 20 kgs of it.
Good enough for a generation of home made pickle lovers.
Daughters in New Zealand were informed and were delighted at the prospect of having a supply for them. Neighbors and all close ones and dear visitors were presented packed bottles too.
Sharing made it still more pleasurable for these two enthusiasts.
The next day was a ‘Sunday’ no work, breakfast in bed, etc etc.
The hangover of the pickling day!
The aching muscles, the small boils on the body – tell tale signs of raw mango contact and the scattered paraphernalia.
The grand finale indeed!
It was an event to remember for the whole life!
Thank the tree. Bless the person who had planted it.
Who could imagine the ultimate bliss of such a mundane errand- making a pickle at home?
Really, there was so much to learn from and so much to imbibe from this incident. Simple pleasures may evoke valuable treasures in life- if only we explored the possibilities around us.
For everything else……..there is a MasterCard!
4 hand made caricatures 1,2,3,4 with the blog.