In the late nineties, the price of onions soared, aiming, as it were, for the abode of Gods. We were in Mumbai then, and this phenomenon gave nightmares not only to the government which was on the verge of being kicked out by this bulb plant, and domestic cuisine managers like me, but also to my school going son!
The phenomenon now returns. Looks like the average Indian’s purchasing power has increased substantially – that’s why, Vis a Vis the nineties, no State or Central government is tottering, no deafening protests are heard and no nightmares haunt the common man. The BPL man just decides to go without a food item that is obscenely priced – a piece of wisdom that the middle class has not yet acquired.
I tweeted asking for onion-free recipes. Since no one reads or sees my tweets, I got no help from netavians (don’t look up the dictionary – it’s my coinage). But onions opened my eyes to the truth that one has to be a celebrity to have anyone take your tweets seriously. With the net world deluged by twittering sounds, only the rare or exceptionally harmonious tunes, or those emanating from rare or celebrated species will be heard. So am not grumbling. Griping, after all, is not the privilege of the nonentity.
Recently, with a group of ladies, I took a day off to a resort far from the crowd maddened by the exorbitant onion. But there was no escape from onions. I met a lady in the group who became an instant celebrity with the announcement that her cuisine has known no onions. I put in that extra effort for us to become the best of friends. After all one has to learn to live without onions. The plethora of onion-free recipes that was in her kitty excited me and I resolved to try them out one by one. But, I must confess, I haven’t yet begun. Am waiting for the last of the onions (which I use oh! So sparingly)from my last purchase to get over. Mebbe by then, onion prices would come down, with the raids on hoarders that’s going on and the onion treaty with Pakistan signed though after much hiccups.
Let’s hope Pakistan would not hold us to ransom with onions to let go of Kashmir. Forgive me, but I think for the common man, onions at the moment are more important than Kashmir. Oops, I mean the celebrity Indian, not the common man. I have no way of gauging the mood of the common man on Kashmir – he is not very vocal about it. But celebrities yes, they go up the Himalayas and down the Valley screaming themselves hoarse about setting Kashmir free from the brutal Indian soldier! Of late, they’ve been silent. Guess the onions have got to them too.
Talking of Pakistan and India, it appears as though onions would break the ice between the two countries. For time being at least, Pak has agreed to export onions instead of terrorists. This is the best news we’ve had for two decades. I get a gut feeling that if the people of India and Pakistan take over from the politicians, governments and ISI, and leave the rest to onions, peace will descend on the subcontinent and goodwill will prevail among the citizens of India and Pakistan.
PS. An extract from the conversation I had with my daughter before she started from the US to visit us.
R: Amma, what do you want me to get for you from here?
Me: How much are you allowed?
R: 40 KG.
ME: How much to spare?
R: More than 15 KG. What do you want?
R: You crazy, Ma?
Me: Yes. Onion crazy.