Book Club : Climbing The Mango Trees By Madhur Jaffrey

I had barely overcome my infatuation of a time gone by, aroused by the book Amrita Sher-Gill A Life,the next book I picked managed to intensify it many-fold. Climbing The Mango Trees by Madhur Jaffrey starts in the 1930′s while Amrita Sher-Gill ends in 1941.
So Climbing The Mango Trees continued the history lesson that was started by the book on Amrita Sher-Gill.
Madhur Jaffrey paints a very vivid and tangible picture of life in India, especially Delhi, before partition, during partition and post partition. Its heartening to understand how the partition affected each and every aspect of each individuals life.


I could feel the anger and confusion when Gandhiji passed away, the heartbreak of friends turning to foes and the fear and mistrust all around. And then with time, as the dust started to slowly settle, new friendships were formed, new tastes were developed and a new culture emerged.
Madhur Jaffrey takes us into her home by the Yamuna, you can almost taste the food she writes about, you can hear the laughter of a group of cousins sharing a meal together. I almost felt like I was cycling alongside her to Simla for a giant picnic..
The book is a beautiful description of her childhood and is sure to make you nostalgic, taking you down memory lane, a flashback of your own childhood perhaps..


It is one book that is easy to read and yet memorable and enriching, I almost never wanted it to end and when it did end, it did so very abruptly. Though Madhur talks very fondly of the taste and aroma’s of her childhood kitchen, she clearly showed no interest in the process of cooking. Infact she clearly states that she was miserable at it, not knowing how to put together even a simple aloo sabji. Then how did she go on to become one of the formidable experts on Indian cooking, I really wish to know that and so much more..
The book leaves so many questions unanswered, but then the title does say ‘ A Memoir Of A Childhood In India’ and hence rightfully does end with her childhood and her stay in India.
I do feel that the wonderful writer that Madhur Jaffrey is and the accomplished life that she has led, there ought to be another book, one that gives an insight into how she became a name to be reconed with.
I would love to read it..

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