top of page

Mathematics of Mangoes

Written by Dr. Pragya Suman In my neighborhood a big mansion is looming and it was at one a big villa and collection of flats. A hybrid building kept its fluidity always alive. I like to go there as one of the boys of that building as my crony. Talks, visions, scents are not alien to me and I am quite adjusted there, like my own house. One day, I saw a collection of raw mangoes, which the orchard guard brought in the early morning. it was in a burlap sack woven in brown threads of jute. Summer was at hand. A perfect time to prepare mango pickles!

Master of the mansion always preferred homemade pickles over the products of big malls. Big malls suck the sap of mangoes and it tastes like pecking at artificial birds! Be organic and natural. They owned a big bulk of land for farming and orchards. They are three brothers, two are married, the spare one is still unmarried. All lived together in the joint mansion. Though both brothers are in a joint venture on their commercial front, their kitchens are built in separate segments of the mansion. Both feed on the same platter, filled with vivid, sumptuous dishes as efforts of both kitchens are reflected in the combo pack on their platter. The separated unmarried brother juggled between both kitchens, depending on his current rapport with his sister-in-law!

They lived in an outer house which was built near the main entrance gate of the mansion. They ate in the outer courtyard, they slept in out house together. Both were busy in their common business ventures and they had no spare time for wives.

Unmarried brother was hot cake, between two women, as he was considered of their looming frustrations.

Both brothers are soulmates, much indifferent to their wives mutual rapport status as that is a matter of women for them in a conventional sense. Talks of dignity in the society are a matter of men, women are workers of boundary wall. Medieval renowned poet Tulsidas has composed a couplet "Dhol pashu shudra nari, sab tadan ke adhikari" (drum, animals, lowest caste and woman, all are meant to beat). This is a trademark quote for a house woman!
And both women are no exception.
Both men have no time for the tiny tittle tattle of their wives.

Though today, matters are different. Environment is a bit frisky and topsy turvy. A burlap sack of mango is the most curious pack for both women. They are tottering in tight mode, smashing everything lying under their feet confiding in their anklets which are making noise! Something strange and complicated algebra they have to solve. Look! Snails are creeping among the mud but they have forgotten the counting of crippled pearls. Elder brother's wife poked her daughter who is a chubby one. In her youth, she was a bit lame due to arthritis in knee joint. She likes to squat and munch betel leaves. her daughter accompanies her in between chewing and both are great mutual confiders. "Go and be aware, counting shouldn't be wrong. Previously, you have made a lot of stuff." They are cunning enough and you have to be aware. "Don't worry, mother, I will be careful today," the daughter replied, things are not going to repeat as it happened the previous year, they stole a lot of mangos and I myself saw in bunches they were rolling in the sky. They got hidden and even after endless searching, everything was in vain.

Twitching around her podgy mouth is brisk! Both mother and daughter concluded their opinion and whispered, "They are so cunning that a mere blank glimpse would be enough. So eyes have to keep wide open."

Discussion was done by the elder brother's wife and daughter about the younger brother's family, wife and daughter. Mother and daughter were making strategies. Perhaps the same was happening on the counterpart side.
Finally, each was opened up, mango began to stumble out, counting was two three...
Eyes of both sides began to bulge, it seems they were drooping down in a sack, as soon as they were going to touch the soiled land, counting finally stopped. Total number of mangoes was ninety-nine!
An odd number always creates confusion.
But not now, as previous experiences have taught them to sort out the jumble.

A sharpened knife was brought down by the servant and one mango was sliced into two halves. In the same diameter, even Euclid would have been astonished! Mangoes were parceled in both kitchens in exact equal numbers. Both women then prepared the raw material, enmeshing the raw mangos in turmeric, salt and kept them in the open sun. Fresh pickles were prepared and they were stored in rows of glass jars. Every summer was for preparing mango pickles which used Ito run in platters the whole year, until the next summer came. Pickles are taste twisters among the rice, lentils, roti and veggies. After one month baking in sunlight, pickles went to the common platter of both borders. "Wow! so delicious, spicy pickle, younger brother quipped! Yes, it is, perhaps it's your wife's hand, bigger brother praised. No it can't be. I think it is your's ! Generous brothers were mutually cordial and so sharp was their slog. Dr. Pragya Suman's poetries, flash fiction and reviews are published in several magazines and anthologies. Her poetry won the Gideon Poetry Award in the summer of 2020.

Dr. Pragya Suman is a doctor by profession and an award winning author from India. Writing is her passion, which she inherited from her father. She also writes short stories and reviews which have been published in many magazines and anthologies. Surrealism, prose poetry, free verse and avant grade are her favorite genres.

Recently, she won the Gideon Poetry Award for her debut book, "Lost Mother."
Her second poetry book Photonic Postcard is published by Ukiyoto Publishing, in Canada. Dr. Pragya Suman is Editor in Chief, Arc Magazine in India.

Her social media account is:

Twitter and Facebook and her magazine can be viewed at Arc Magazine

Mathematics of Mangoes
bottom of page