Dichos Talk: Mango Bajito

By Martha Gonzalez

I grew up listening to dichos like “Si el río suena, piedras lleva” and “Ahí esta pintada.”

Every culture has them, but Latinos especially, could carry an entire conversation just using dichos.

My husband’s Cuban-American family, who has graciously welcomed me into their clan, provide a great source of Cuban dichos. My Colombian roots and my hubby’s Cuban heritage tend to mesh really well, but sometimes I wish I had a camera to save those moments when he’s either totally confused by the Colombian flare or I’m in La La Land over the many flavors within our cultures. It’s surprising we communicate as well as we do.

The other day, I was with my sister-in-law when she said to one of her boys: “Estas cogiendo mango bajito, get off the computer now.”

I was totally baffled by her expression: Mango bajito? Really? Since when are fruit and computers even remotely related?

Now, Cubans, just as many other Latinos LOVE their fruit. Mangoes are an institution in Miami, almost as important as the sacred guayaba. Proof of this: the three mango trees in our backyard. They are cherished, envied and fought over during the season. In my family, we never cared about mangoes so much until now.

My mom has not fallen behind at all. She talks about her daughter’s mangoes to other family members and even to strangers at the supermarket because, after all, she doesn’t have to buy mangoes anymore. We receive requests from my friends in Texas and family in Virginia to the tone of “Guardame mangos.”

So, “Mango bajito?” I asked my sister-in-law.
“Yeah, you’ve never heard that?”she said, immediately recognizing that this would be a Cuban-teachable moment to the colombianita in the house.
I pursued the opportunity. “Explain,” I said.
“Well, it’s simple, like something that comes by opportunity or getting something for free.” (Or, “easy pickings.”)

Wow, neat I thought. Needless to say, my daughters will hear “mango bajito” from their Mami soon enough. It’s been added and checked into my Latino dichos dictionary.

Now if only I could define the true meaning of el Sereno

Martha Gonzalez, the mother two Colombo-Cuban-American daughters,  lives in el “corre corre” in Miami.

ed. note: Some say “mangos bajito” means something wholly different. Mira. Descarados.

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By Contributor on June 28, 2010 · Posted in headline, the habla habla

11 Comments | Post Comment

Tweets that mention Dichos Talk: Mango Bajito = Easy Pickings -- Topsy.com says:

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Larry Berglas, Tiki Tiki Blog. Tiki Tiki Blog said: On the Tiki Tiki: Dichos Talk: Mango Bajito http://goo.gl/fb/tDdcm [...]

Posted on June 28th, 2010

Tia Mirtha says:

It all depends how you use “el sereno”. If you are talking about a “security guard”.. who works at night. You can call him “El Sereno”.. If your kid gets sick with a cold, don’t take him out at night o “que no le de el sereno”.
Mango bajito, can be use in many ways… it is an old Cuban saying. Years ago, when a young girl got in trouble, they would say”es que el novio estaba cogiendo mango bajito”..

Posted on June 28th, 2010

Sandra says:

Or “Yo no soy mango bajito” meaning no soy facil….

Posted on June 28th, 2010

Christy says:

Sandra, I like how you put it!

Posted on July 1st, 2010

Fefo Estofa says:

I don’t get why the boy was cogiendo mango bajito if he was messing around on the computer. Para mi, estaba sacando provecho o being lazy….estaria cogiendo mango bajo si estuviera usando la computadora para spellcheck o calculator en vez de hacer la tarea el solo…

Posted on July 2nd, 2010

Vanessa says:

Loved this post! As a Colombian-American married to a Cuban-American this same scenario happens pretty often in our home. I can still remember the first time I was perplexed by a Cubanism. My mother in-law expressed “Esta lloviendo como quando mataron a Lola!” My natural reaction was “Quein es Lola?” The reponse to this question was an erruption of laughter. I’ll never forget this moment!

Posted on July 2nd, 2010

BLOGitse says:

Hola!
Que tal? :) No, I can’t write Spanish, talk only a little…
Tiktak (with a) is Finnish girl band, a very popular group!
Thanks for your comment on my blog,
greetings from Casa!
BLOGitse´s last [fabulousness] ..Dard Ghalaf-Mers Sultan-Mc Do in Casablanca- Morocco

Posted on July 4th, 2010

Country Sundays | Bilingual In The Boonies says:

[...] dichos post: Mango Bajito! What happens when a Colombian and a Cuban [...]

Posted on July 4th, 2010

Carrie says:

I loved this post so much too and so glad, especially, for Vanessa, who I can imagine totally, totally, totally relates.

(You see folks, you too can submit your cuento to the Tiki Tiki!)

Posted on July 4th, 2010

Oprah, consider Tiki Tiki Talk! for OWN says:

[...] Dicho del Dia, to dissect and crack up over things like “sana, sana colita de rana” and “mango bajito.” [...]

Posted on July 7th, 2010

Giovanny Gutierrez says:

Great post… brought a smile to my face (‘specially the analogy w/ a computer and a mango) lol

Speaking of which, I think you and your sis would like this app: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cuban-dichos/id408068833?mt=8

Enjoy,
-g

Posted on January 26th, 2011