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From the Pen of The Vindictive Aloo

That’s it! I can’t hear anymore whining regarding me. I am sick of those hostel tales about how the messwallahs use aloo everywhere and how the local bai does no better. I have been hearing for ages complaints about how tasteless I am. I can’t take it anymore. After watching a few high adrenaline movies related to vengeance, V for Vendetta notable among them, I have decided that it’s time to strike back at my critics.

Why am I a staple food which so few love? You’d think  Inzammam ul Haq would have been happy to be crowned the title of the world’s most popular vegetable by an Indian fan in 1998 but instead he crowned him(with a bat). I have diligently provided the world with nutrition but have you ever heard a single poet going into rhapsodies over me? No instead they focus on useless things like rustling leaves and tweeting birds. Why do community kitchens and mothers short of time swear by my usefulness but no one says that she loves me? They can love bhindi, gobhi, mutter, even baingan but not aloo.

It is not my fault that every choice in a hostel menu inevitably has me: dum aloo, aloo gobhi, aloo paneer, aloo mutter, aloo pyaz, aloo palak (huh? a disastrous combination, trust me) masala dosa, french fries, mixed vegetables, samosa, aloo chop. I am good. However, I do not want to have the entire dish to myself. It is the fault of those **%^&&*!** cooks???  That my co-vegetables are reduced to the role of heroine in a typical  macho Bollywood flick, the ones where the heroine only exists for the purpose of a couple of songs and bachao scenes and the hero hogs the entire movie. Believe me, the actual recipes were free and fair unlike the dishes that are actually dished out, all except for aloo palak i.e. That one only makes me feel inferior to paneer.

I am cheap and easy to store. You cannot blame me for that. The **%^&&*!** cooks???  have misused me. Not only do they keep their costs low; their campaign of producing terrible tasting sloppy food that has only me is meant to put people off their food. That keeps mess bills low. It also helps the neighbourhood restaurants. In fact, I am pretty sure that there are some underground contracts which these benefiting restaurants sign with the authorities of the hostel mess.

I am full of carbohydrates and contribute to weight gain. Right, but I also contain no fat or cholesterol. I am rich in potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sulphur ,copper and vitamins A &B. I have a fair amount of good protein and substantial amount of alkaline salts. I am one of the favourites of traditional Chinese medicine. Besides this, I really do not subscribe to the view that carbs are bad for you.

Only Mc Donalds by charging Rs 50(+taxes) for a tiny amount of French Fries and by aggressively marketing the Mc Aloo Tikki gives me the premium place I deserve.

P.S: The term Vindictive Aloo was coined by the mama of the owner of this blog after eating a horrible version of Vindaloo in Goa.

P.P.S: Now, that I have had my say, I terminate my hijack of this blog.

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The Subzi Haat

The Subzi-Haat or simply the Haat is a place that simply radiates life. There  is life in the cartloads of fresh vegetables which are soon going to infuse fresh energy into the systems of thousands of human beings. There is life in the hundreds of vegetable sellers who shriek at the top of their voices trying to attract customers to their vegetables. There is life in the enthusiasm with which neighbourhood aunties bargain for five rupees with the subzi wallah. There is excitement in the way that prices drop suddenly across the market because of the failings of a particular vegetable seller who himself is driven to desperation because of the  fear of having to carry his goods back home; the life at the haat, incredibly increases as the time of market closure approaches with unbelievable deals being offered.  There is life in my effort to locate that particular vegetable or fruit seller who sold me those capital radishes at that throwaway price last time and in my failure to do so among the sheer numbers.

The one-handed fumble for change(the other one is grasping a helmet or a bag), the painful long jostle through the crowds back to the car/bike with arms bursting from the weight of those two bulging shopping bags, the frustration of seeing peas at 12 rupees after buying at 15 rupees, the insincere consolation to your mind that yours must be the better peas, the impulse buying of the 12 rupee peas as well, the realization that your refrigerator and stomachs simply do not have the space to accommodate those bulging shopping bags: the subzi haat is an experience of life that not everyone steeped in the metro life might quite have either the chance or the inclination to savour.

P.S: The economic angle: The haat is the perfect example of perfect competition that economics tries to peddle. Demand meets supply and high prices directly hit sales. The prices are also such that everyone is able to participate thus leading to a much more realistic price discovery.