Sunday, May 6, 2007
The Transnational Mango
It was with tremendous glee that I read Wednesday's NY Times article heralding the arrival of Indian mangoes in the United States, at long last. It may have been an understatement to note that this was "probably the most eagerly anticipated fruit delivery ever." The story resurrected childhood memories of my father eagerly purchasing box after box of mangoes from Mexico, Hawaii, Central America, only to pronounce after several bites that these were not the mangoes of his youth. With all due respect to mango lovers of all nations, I can only concur, and I think the rest of the diaspora is with me on this one. Perhaps it is a sign of the burgeoning power of the South Asian-American community, or the rise of India as a global player -- indeed, President Bush cheered the arrival of Indian mangoes as he announced an agreement on nuclear energy and trade. Whatever the reason, the USDA's amendment of its regulations to allow irradiated Indian mangoes through US borders is cause for celebration. One buyer speculated that the high price may be prohibitive; I'm afraid he underestimates the diaspora's longing for the mythical mango of their youth -- and I bet he's never tasted an Indian mango.