I have long had an affection for the mango. I love the way the word sounds and I enjoy how the fruit tastes. If anything defies the popular belief that something that tastes so sweet and delicious can’t possibly be good for you, it is the mango.
My admiration for the tasty tropical treat is such that I once considered attempting to update William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy Romeo and Juliet by replacing the character Romeo with a mango. When I think back on that now it seems like a really bold and unnecessary gesture, but at the time it felt like it had reason. What love can be more forbidden than that of a girl for a juicy stone fruit?
The way I viewed it, introducing the mango as Juliet’s love interest would have saved a significant amount of heartache and death. While Juliet’s family might have struggled to come to terms with the reasons why she would become involved in a romantic relationship with a mango, you would feel certain that they wouldn’t wish death upon the mango, or indeed the tree it fell from.
The underlying theme of love conquering all in the story would still exist, and would perhaps even be enhanced by the boundaries between humans and fruit being challenged by Juliet and the mango. However, I really struggled to come up with believable dialogue for the mango and this new version remains unwritten.
I still find myself wondering if mangoes are capable of having feelings. It would be all too easy to enjoy a fleeting moment of delight with a mango, consume it and forget all about it as you return to your daily routine, but I can’t help but believe they are sensitive deep beneath that soft peel. After all, if you have mishandled them they will bruise just like any person, so why wouldn’t they experience emotion?
Whether the mango has a full range of emotions is open to question. I have often tried making witty observations in their company and have never received so much as a chortle in response, which may suggest that the mango doesn’t have a sense of humour – although I have frequently experienced this in the presence of people, too. Though it is difficult to imagine that something so bright and beautiful isn’t capable of some form of joy, particularly when it brings such pleasure to others.
There is nothing to suggest that mangoes can contemplate the intricacies of Brexit (but then who can?) or that they would have the ability to weigh up the pros and cons of making a selection on Netflix (again, who can?) but I am convinced that they could appreciate Keats or Whitman, I believe that they can suffer the disappointment of being discarded in favour of a more fashionable fruit like papaya and I would be astonished if the mango isn’t aware of a desire to be wanted, like the character in the updated version of Romeo and Juliet.
So the next time you see a mango, savour its sweet scent and enjoy touching its tender skin, but remember that sometimes mangoes have feelings too.