I have been visiting the Mango and Jackfruit Mela at Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens since the last seven years but have never blogged about it. But this year, visiting the mela was an altogether different experience. I have not been using my DSLR like I usually do nor have I been blogging like I usually do. I just couldn’t wait to click and just couldn’t wait to be engulfed by the aromas of hundreds of varieties of mangoes. It is simply a lovely experience stepping out of home on a hot summer day. Summer is my favourite season and ever since I can remember has been synonymous with school holidays, play, travel and also mangoes.
I left home on a bright Sunday morning. My initial worries about my day getting ruined by the rains vanished when I saw the sky. I took an auto as I was running late; I had actually wanted to leave two hours earlier. It must have taken my half an hour to reach Lal Bagh. I was greeted by a serpentine queue at the ticket counter which surprisingly had only one man on the job. What was more surprising was that those standing in the queue were hardly perturbed. There were expressions of happiness on almost all the faces that I saw and there were some who were even clicking selfies! Hats off to all these ambassadors of happiness!
As I walked inside the gardens, I noticed a large crowd of people sporting different hues of summer. Many were there with their entire families. It felt so good seeing so much warmth all around to add to that of the sun’s. For a moment, I forgot why I had come to Lal Bagh.
Closer to the stalls selling mangoes, the bag sellers (actually a husband and wife duo) were doing brisk business. With ban on plastic catching on, the demand for shopping bags is on the rise. The couple selling the bags chose a strategic location, just after the entrance of the fair and before the stalls.
The mini makeshift exhibition hall had on display innumerable varieties of mango. I never knew there were so many kinds of mangoes. Even during the past editions of the mela, I don’t recall seeing so many varieties.
Soon I was amidst the sea of stalls and I went on a clicking spree. Mangoes are not just yummy to eat they are a delight to photograph too!
And in between the mango stalls, there were other vendors making the most of the crowds and doing brisk business.
Two stalls selling ‘Aam ras’ (popular name of mango puree) was a hit with many. Balloons were of course a favourite with kids.
There were a few stalls selling jackfruit. Like the mangoes, the jackfruits were also vanishing from the stalls at a fast pace. I was amazed to see many shoulder the weight of an entire fruit and walk away. At some stalls, the farmers were shelling the fruits with artistic ease.
After hanging around the stalls for close to an hour, I ended my trip to Lal Bagh with a walk by the lake. My simian friends were there in plenty and I couldn’t help going after them with my camera. And the Monkey Man of Lal Bagh was also there amazing one and all with his proximity with the monkeys.