What is brown and round and looks like a potato?
What is brown and round and also looks like a potato?
This is the point I was trying to make at lunch the other day. My colleagues, on the other hand, laughed uproariously and generally shattered any inclination I may have had to drive home my point. You can’t be insulted and persuasive at the same time, you know.
Anyhoo, this is how it happened several moons ago.
I’m walking to the station after a particularly enlightening day in college. Those were the days when I discovered a new chink in my armor every day. And that, to my innocent, blithe, and adolescent soul was enlightening. So, there I am walking like Charlie Brown, replaying the canteen scene in my head.
Pimply boy wearing black Nirvana T-shirt: You are spoilt. You haven’t seen the real world, Mukta. It’s very easy to just talk.
Me wearing black: Not true. Why do you think that just because I haven’t seen anyone bleed to death, I haven’t seen life. Each person goes through different things and…
Pimply Nirvana: Oh! Shuddup already! Death and blood and all that crap! Empty hyperboles don’t give perspective ya! (He did talk like that until he went to ‘read law’ at Oxford. Then he talked like that with an accent.) Have you even bought vegetables yourself? Or have you always got them ready-made on the table?
(Note: Pimply Nirvana walks off in a huff. I would have done that but I was inappropriately wedged between a stone slab and a tree. You’ve just got to see my college campus to understand how such a thing would be possible.)
Anyway, there I was thinking about the twisted truth of his words when I saw a man selling something on a cart. They were round and brown and to me they looked like potatoes. So, I decided to buy some to get a license to reclaim the belief I was upholding so zealously a while back. If I didn’t even buy vegetables, could I really have an opinion about life?
I asked the guy to give me a few of the items and paid him. I now had a plastic bag with my own hand picked vegetables. Could there anything more liberating for a spoilt girl? I think not.
I got home and decided to cook them. Oh! I love thinly sliced potatoes cooked with lots of green chillies and a little bit of curd and turmeric! (Tastes yummy with hot rice and Oprah Winfrey on afternoon TV.) That’s when I sensed something was wrong.
They were a little squishy to be potatoes but looked pretty enough to not be spoilt. I thought to myself while the oil on the gas started sputtering like Bugs Bunny…What could this be? I tasted one and it was sweet. Now, because I seen a sweet potato once before, I realized that it was indeed not a potato. (Oof! The pain at letting go of a firmly entrenched point of view.) It was a chickoo.
Fine. Granted I was dumb and stupid and everything that pimply Nirvana had figured me out to be. But my point is, it could happen to anyone.
Anyway, I relived that shame the other day during lunchtime.
‘Kya yaar! A chickoo and a potato are different, man! You can’t possibly confuse one with the other!’
‘Sheesh! Couldn’t you tell that they smelt different?’ ( A word of advice here – I don’t smell and buy stuff anymore. Turns out it’s a very potent date-repellent.)
‘How could you be so stupid?’ (‘Coz I can’t resist the temptation, Einstein)
Anyway, that was that. But here’s something my friends or Pimply Nirvana don’t know.
I chopped up the chickoo into little bits and put them in a bowl. Roasted a couple of handfuls of honey crunch cornflakes and mixed them with the chickoo pieces. Finally, I topped it off with two spoons of hot custard.
What can I say?
I felt equipped to hold an opinion on life once again.