The Mango Season - Amulya Malladi - Reads Good !!!

After a long time I am doing a back-to-back. Mango Season is awesome !!! I am not hyping a bit. Its totally desi !!! You can even put a 100% desi tag on the book.

I just loved the prologue part, where Priya says,

Sucking on the sticky stone while holding it with bare hands was the most pleasurable thing one could do with a mango. Nate and I called the mango stone HAPPINESS.

The story is simple. The girl Priya goes to U.S to study. She gets a job, falls in love with an American and gets engaged. The time comes when her parents want to get her married off to an Indian guy and that is when Priya comes back home, alone, after seven years of stay in States. There is a maternal family ritual where all the brothers, sisters and their respective spouses come together for a couple of days in their ancestral home to make mango pickle !! :)

Sounds funny isn't it ? Sowmya is supposed to be her aunt (as she was Priya's mother's sister, but was only a couple of years older and hence they share a buddy relationship. Sowmya is 30 and is yet to be married. Anand is Priya's uncle, who eloped and married Neelima, who belongs to a different brahmin community and whom Anand's parents don't approve of. Lata is Priya's Mom's brother's wife :P (I am doing this on purpose :P) and who is now the villi of the lot, who is pregnant a third time, to beget a son so that she can be in the good books of the grandfather of the house. Nate, Priya's brother is in love with a North Indian and is yet to disclose this to his parents.

And amidst all this, happens the pickle making session. And a lot more happens, of course. Does Sowmya meet the boy of her dreams ? Does Anand realise that his wife is being treated like shit ? Does Lata realise that there is more to life ? Does Priya's mom realise that life is more than just parental ego ? Does Priya finally get to say that she loves Nate, an American and is engaged to him ? is the crux of the story. :)

It reads quite well. Typical Indian middle class story told with all the drama and politics that is prevalent even today. I could even relate to a number of characters in my close family circle :P

பக்கா தமிழ் படம் ஸ்கிரிப்ட் !!!
பாலசந்தர் கிட்ட குடுத்தா, பிரிச்சு மேஞ்சிடுவாறு !!!

Only KB can handle this script. Nobody else. The whole story happens over less than 48 hours and the setting is in one house. And the dialogues, are always a KB strong point. Hence it is bound to have some awesome dialogues which I would love to watch. I am not characterising here, as KB knows his actors.. :P



I found quite some lines endearing in this book. Some are highlighted below. :)

I explained to him that it was not quite that simple. I was buying my mother a bottle of perfume along with other assorted gifts. Ma had specifically asked me to get her some perfume and that was why I couldn’t buy Lata perfume, too. I had to buy her something that I hadn’t given my mother but it also should be something that my mother would not want.
“This doesn’t sound like buying gifts but more like a diplomatic mission to the Mideast. I’m very confused,” Nick confessed, and I agreed wholeheartedly with him.

THIS FEELS LIKE A BAD TELUGU MOVIE; ALL THE CHARACTERS ARE THERE IN DIFFERENT SHADES OF GRAY: THE INTRACTABLE MOTHER-IN-LAW, THE VILE SISTER-IN-LAWS, THE SPINELESS HUSBAND, THE PATRIARCHAL FATHER-IN-LAW, AND, OF COURSE, THE POOR DAUGHTER-IN-LAW FROM THE OTHER CASTE.

For the first time I realized that this mango pickle–making ritual like everything else was a power game. Ammamma had lost the battle a long time ago; my mother had been winning, but now Lata had thrown in a googlie—a cricket ball with a spin—by getting pregnant to please the old ones.

Lata and Ma were the contenders while Neelima, Sowmya, and I were spectators. Ammamma sometimes played a biased referee while other times she tried to recapture her days of glory.

My relationship with everyone in this room was in some way or the other fractured, but it was my relationship with my grandmother that was the most superficial. Ammamma was a feeling, a smell, a memory, not a real person. I knew little about her. I knew who her favorite film star was and which movie she watched repeatedly ever since Thatha bought a VCR, but I didn’t know how she felt one way or the other about her life, about having given birth to her first child when she was just fifteen years old.

I figured that way I would get more juice and I would not have to speculate where the ice came from. The rumor was that the vendor probably got the ice from a morgue.

“He’s a nice guy. I love him,” I said and it sounded like such a line, even to me. “I didn’t plan it.” Another line. “It just happened.” I felt like I was tripping over clichés, one after the other.

She was sleeping, but the minute she heard my voice she sounded wide awake. “They’re forcing you to marry some Indian man and you want me to say good-bye to Nick for you,” she said as soon as she heard my “Hello, Frances.”

India was not just a country you visited, it was a country that sank into your blood and stole a part of you. “I’ve seen five girls and I liked you the best, but I’m not in love with you,” Adarsh said.


P.S:- My rating - 7/10. Its good. But not racy enough, but I guess its because its a 'family' drama :P

P.P.S:- I particularly liked the part, where the recipes for the items mentioned in the story have been listed down. Avial and Avakka are some among those.. :) :P

Thursday, July 22, 2010 by Hari
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