One of the advantages of being a reporter is getting aphonso mangoes from well-wishers. Commercial reporters get the largest amount of these, but general reporters also get a fair share. And receiving mangoes is not considered a bribe, also, receving sctoch. But receiving cash is, or Reliance shares, or government allorment of a house.
My flow of mangoes has been steady over the years. Some people may have dropped out during this period, but new people have been added.
And they began with Air-India (in those days, Air India was spelt with a hyphen has been removed and punctuality, service, everything has improved). It must be a quarter century back, a basket of mangoes, gaily wrapped in pink, green and yellow striped paper, sent by Sidney Almeida through Ramesh Sattawalla and on behalf of Bobbby Kooka. I was so impressed with the honour, I did not open the basket, and the mangoes finally all rotted inside.
Since then, Air India has never failed, not even during its most severe economy drives, though the size of the fruits have become smaller, their numbers fewer, the man who has sent them a stranger. I am not compaining: long before the airline started accepting them as such. Once your name gets put in the computer, you keep getting the mangoes, and, even after I am dead, I am sure for a few years they would continue.
The Dawoodi Bohras organisation used to send a basket, but they have stopped. But Akbarallys are now sending regularly, one of their well-known and patented boxes. There are other regulars: Advani Oerlikon, Media Trans-Asia, banks shops, hotels.
Then there are individuals who have sent mangoes, friends, acquaintances. Dr. Hiranandani was a new one this year, he sent a box. And I am surprised that he did not come personally, carrying the box, because he is that kind of a person, generous, effusive, spontaneous.
But eventually mangoes are like flowers, you can have too many of them. And you can’t keep them, because they get spoilt. I cannot even idently one mangoe from another. The wife does that, she can tell whose mangoes are good, whose are not so good, whose are ripe, whose raw.
Now the rains have come, the mangoes should stop. Yesterday, we received what may be our last mangoes for the season. They are from Murli Deora and this is the first time he has sent them. Probably he is moving to something big in politics or going down. In any case, the wife has said: “Murli’s mangoes are good.”