This is one vegetable which I have started to hate. Not because it tastes bad or it gives me a bad stomach or an allergy, but I hate it simply because it is so ever-presently boring.
God is Omni-present but he does not make his presence so obvious. But this is not the case with the meddlesome Aaloo (Hindi for POTATO). Breakfast, lunch or dinner, this veggie is present in some form or the other. Aaloo-this or Aaloo-that, or just simply Aaloo. There are so many other kinds like long, short, green, leafy etc. wholesome and nutritional options but somehow this Aaloo beats all of them on its way to the dining table. Even in the bazaar, the largest pile and the largest crowd is around this confounded Aaloo.
My earliest “tryst with Aaloo” was with this Hindi song –
“Re mama re mama ree,
Hum to gaye bazaar mein lene ko Aaloo,
Aloo-waloo kuchh na mila,
Peechhe padaa bhaloo”
(I went to the bazaar to buy Potato. I did not get potato (Aaloo) but a bear (Bhaloo) started following me.)
Whosoever he was, but he did a great job of rhyming Aaloo with Bhaloo. Our Hindi songs are so intuitive and futuristic like the “Avatar”. I ardently wish, people buying Aaloo should indeed be chased away by a Bhaloo.
Aaloo as veggie is actually alien to Indian cuisine. Our culinary science frowned upon Tubers or vegies growing below the ground. Recommended were those vegies which grew above the ground. The further away the better.
But somehow we have succumbed to this obnoxious tuber and sullied our reputation with mud. History tells that Aaloo made its appearance in Indian cuisine sometimes in the 18th century. Its lineage could be traced back to South America. But the way we have our Aaloo, it all seems so indigenous. We also seem to revere it. Probably in the near future, we would even end up worshipping it and presenting it to our Gods.
Take for instance our protests. If we don’t like someone or if we want to humiliate him, we throw Anda (Egg) or Tammatar (Tomato). Both are wholesome and nutritional. But did we ever hear or see any one throwing Aaloo. They would rather throw shoes than Aaloo. If we intend (yes, intend) to change for the good, we should switch our preferences. We should eat more Anda and Tammatar and throw Aaloo. I bet, if the Aaloo hits, it would leave its mark on the unfortunate. It would be more painful and impactful than the Anda, Tammatar or Chappal/Joota (Slippers/ Shoes)
Go to any Indian restaurant or dhaaba, and the menu card will have the longest list of “A”. Ask a waiter and he will delightfully rattle off the menu. The only common and oft repeated sound will be “Aaloo” . Aaloo methi, Aaloo matar, Aaloo saag etc. etc. and my ever hateful Aloo-Dum. Aaloo-Dum will feature in “A’ or will definitely make its appearance in “D” as Dum-Aaloo. The Aaloo does not spare you. It seems to cling like a disease and infects other vegies too. A to Z, the Aaloo will be found either as a suffix or a prefix.
The eating of Aaloo has also made many look like one. For example, see Lallu Yadav. He looks like a cross between an Aaloo and a Bhaloo. These days even I look like an Aaloo. If you see movies in theatres, just before the movie starts, there come this man – Vijay Mukhi- in copconnect.com. He cannot help but remind me of Aaloo. The audience do not mind, as they are themselves huddled with Aaloo Chips or with someone looking like an Aaloo. I believe, Shah Rukh does not eat Aaloo. But he looks like a Bhaloo, which is good. That’s why he is so successful. We should all learn from him.
It’s an emergency. Some major steps should be taken to get rid of this malady. Probably, the Prime Minister should call an All Party Meet. Or the AFSPA should be applied on Aaloo. Or, we need to schedule a batch file to rename Aaloo star dot star to anything else star dot star. Or somebody should throw some magic and turn all Aaloo into moon-stones which they actually look like. Or best, there should be a Mad-Aaloo disease or Aaloo Flu breaking up round the corner. Or else, I am going to make my own Aaloo-Qaeda……..