The mango season has come and gone, transporting me into a time where the appearance of this 'King of Fruits was celebrated with much pomp and show. I inherited some knowledge about this oval-shaped source of unparalleled flavour from my grandfather, who was once the proud owner of a mango garden and who won one prize or another at the Agricultural Exhibition held in Lyallpur of yesteryears. Cultivation of the mango plant originated in our part of the world about 4,000 years ago. The word mango was derived from the Tamil word mang-kay or man-gay and adopted by the first Portuguese colonists, who arrived in India. The mango tree is held sacred among Hindus even today, as a symbol of love and some believe that this tree can even grant wishes. Perhaps it is for this reason, why one can spot mango leaves hung over doorways in India on the occasion of Diwali and weddings. As far as I am concerned, the 'King amongst these Kings' was the Langra. This green skinned, fibreless, juicy piece of pure ecstasy, with not even the remotest connection with a 'limp', has remained my favourite, much to the annoyance of my spouse, children and grandchildren. The Dusehri, named after some place near Lucknow in India, is a family favourite. Smaller in size when compared to the Langra, it is thin skinned, fibreless and very sweet. I am not very keen on the Alphonso, as it somehow conjures up the image of me devouring a Portuguese missionary. In any case, we did not grow this variety in our garden, as its ideal habitat required a humid climate. Sammar Bahisht or 'Fruit from the Garden of Eden' originated from a place in India called Muzaffarnagar and is what its name implies it to be. It has some fibre, is very sweet and possesses an exquisite flavour. The big-sized Fajri was named after some lady and traced its roots to Bihar in India and though fibreless, varies in succulence. Another variety that is a shade miserly with its juice is the Chausa, said to have originated from a place near Lukhnow called Malihabad. However, what this mango lacks is adequately compensated by sweetness and flavour. Anwar Rataul appeared as a variety much later in time, but took mango lovers by storm. It has a uniquely pleasant almost scented flavour that is unforgettable. In my books, if any mango has the right to sit in the company of the royal Langra at my table, it is an Anwar Rataul. Sindh's gift to mango fans was the Sindhri, Banganpali and Neelum. Out of these, it was the Sindhri that took the cake by virtue of its aromatic flavour, lack of fibre and succulent sweetness.I am told of another type of mango in the market called Muhammad Wala, but I have not had the opportunity to sample it. No discourse on mangoes would be complete without mentioning the 'foot soldier' of this family - the desi aam that was the life of mango parties all over the subcontinent. These parties were an essential social and recreational event of the mango season and were a regular feature in our family. First the desi mangos were washed and soaked in buckets of iced water for at least an hour. These buckets were then carried to a cotton rug or dari placed in the verandah. A washbasin or portable hammam was placed in close vicinity with an adequate supply of water. A large cooking pot or patila brimming with katchi lassi (a beverage made of milk and water) was also brought in along with trays, glasses and plates to complete the setting. The mangos were first rolled vigorously between the palms of both hands to soften their flesh into a juicy pulp. The top was then bitten off and the delicious insides were sucked out bit by bit. The limp skin was then tossed into a rapidly gathering heap in a large tray. Once the mangos were finished, they were topped off with glasses of lassi, which according to mango lore, counter acted the 'hot' effects of overeating the fruit. So dear readers, next mango season, prepare yourselves for a date with this heavenly fruit and remember the words of the immortal poet who said: "Let there be mangoes and lots of them." And be warned that you will be considered a 'mango party pooper', if you left your place on the dari without your hands and mouth generously splattered with sticky yellow mango pulp. n The writer belongs to a very old and established family of the Walled City. His forte is the study of History.