The Pulp Fiction Of Alphonso The Mango

Gangster yellow cadillac on the tongue
eats, shoots first and leaves
asks no questions with tantalising aloof fibre
and a heart of stone

Double-crossing outshelfer to
varieties like the character-driven chausa
or langra the lame, or totapuri a luring favourite
with your licheeing uncle

Dance-off with belle moll mankurad
a tail, a twist, a quercetin tarantella
glorious basterd son of a sunray
slaying with honeybunny good skin
and hardboiled looks of thrillophilia chrome

Bred in the wild wild tropicanas
outcropper from fecund alleys of hortigunculturists
Hit the road jackfruit and don’t call me
pumpkin he says spitting nectar on the Konkan

Strolling into bazaar wars a reservoir god
overseeing dealers swearing in price profanities
to saree-cut lasses and macheted fruitivores
hardened coldpress pimps looking to snort gold

He tickles the subconscious afternoon heat
with wafting fingers tattooed in intoxicants
stalking out chutneymaking desperadoes
leaving a wake of guerillas sliced and diced
a carnage of peels, grenades of sweet core
glittery gore and a good-bad-hungry whistle in the wind.



Chausa, langra, mankurad, totapuri are local mango varieties in subcontinental India.

The Alphonso mango was created by Portuguese colonialists in Estado da India as a cross-breed variety. Today there are usually two camps – one that declares it is the king of all fruits and the other that pooh-poohs it, preferring other local varieties instead.

Summer months in India mean a ripe harvest of mangoes and every Indian summer’s  reason to have a #mangowar on Twitter about which variety is the best

Read more on India’s affair with Mangoes, here and here.

Photo by HOTCHICKSING on Unsplash

Mrinalini Harchandrai

Mrinalini Harchandrai’s poetry has been longlisted for the erbacce-prize 2022, was a finalist for the Quarterly West Poetry Prize 2021 and Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize 2019, and received an Honourable Mention for the CID Pearlman Performance Project 2021. Her short fiction has been longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2018 and shortlisted for Columbia Journal Spring 2020 Contest. Her novel, longlisted for the McKitterick Prize 2021 and selected as Notable Entry for the Disquiet International Literary Prize 2019, is forthcoming with Bloomsbury. She is Deputy Editor at Poetry at Sangam.