Monday, January 10, 2011

Of Onions and Terrorism

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?

ME: Onions.

R: You crazy, Ma?

Me: Yes. Onion crazy.


  1. Brings tears to my eyes, these teary tales of onions ;P :D

    But if it can break the ice between two hostile nations, it should perhaps bring smiles :)

  2. I am suspicious,even about the onions from Pakistan.What if they make us infertile? Pakistan will have the whole of India easily with this onion pact!

  3. Do ask your daughter to be careful about the onions in the luggage. One never knows when the TSA might decide that those are worthy of placing any one on the No-Fly list ;)

  4. Yes onions are more important than Kashmir.And more over Kashmiris do not need onions to weep they have enough agony foisted on them by the democracy that is all around.
    And as for terrorism and terrorist you do not have to run to Kashmir or to the border over there, they are in our midst- terrorists of different hue far more deadly than the Bin- Ladens and his ilk. The food minister we have now at the center , This fellow has now presided over the most number of farmer suicides in India , he has expressed his blatant indifference to the plight of the debt ridden farmers, he has ensured Cotton crop is controlled by his cronies, now he has also ensured that onions are his forte too. He has also effectively made it a fact that food inflations rules the roost. And in the bargain his private wealth must have quadrupled, and his contorted twisted face still smiles .

  5. There were reports that Dawood Ibrahim trying to block onion import through wagah border so that he can help blackmarketeers in Mumbai can extort money from common man. But why we Keralites are so concerned about onion, in my childhood I have never seen big onion bought in homes, ok, red small onion was used and it comes from Tamilnadu and more tasty and nutritious too. Chicken, Mutton beef etc have a special better flavour if we use small onions. But big onion is easy to peel and our household ladies now want everything instant without doing small onions which is a tearsome process. None understand the more tear comes out its priduced and good for eyes especially for those who spent hours before TV and computers.

    Many 'thorans' can be created without onion, small quantities of cabbage can be used as as substitute for onions.
    North Indians are practiced to onion/big because they dont have coconut to make thick gravy. They can also substitute coconut paste or groundnut/cashewnut grided to substitute onions in gravy.
    Our India Government especially Sharad Pawar whose only interest is big money in crickets should be thrown out of Agriculture and Civil Supplies if any considerable progress to be made in arresting price hike. The producer comman farmer doesnt get anything out of these price hike , only middlemen make big money by blackmarketing and hiding stock in godowns.

    Unfortunately we have a coalition and gutless central government in present time, we need an iron lady like Indira Gandhi who can take stern actions and control government. Thats sad part.

  6. Hi ..nice oniony write up!I liked mr anthony's comment ;even i feel what if there was a bulb bomb there:)anyways yeppee..we have cheaper onions here at US.Hope the situation recovers soon..

  7. You've almost said what I wanted to say for long but didn't have the courage to. What's the use of the Twitter for ordinary mortals who have no earth-shattering secrets to share with the world, and who can't hammer out a decent message within 140 characters any way! (267 characters)


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