Every dog has its day. And why shouldn’t it be so? The also rans, the me toos, the taken for granteds, the making up the numbers, the part of the furnitures. I can go on and on about the souls who are so near the headlines but end up not even as sidelights, the after thoughts who are always the part of the chorus, the post scripts. Never the highlight, never the headlines and never noticed. Until that moment when the dog wags the tail as the saying goes. There are many instances and millions of examples of the above. No, I am not referring to second leads. The Rahul Dravids to Sachin Tendulkars, the Shashi Kapoors to Amitabh Bachchans who get lesser importance, but get importance they did nevertheless. I am referring to the ones who make up the scenery without being noticed at all. Like the 300+ dancers behind the heroine in a Bollywood potboiler, the crooners who fill in the “La la la la” part of the song while the lead vocalist belts out the lyrics, the villain-in-chief’s adi aaLu who get the pasting from the hero. Who knows them? I mean, seriously! And then the exceptional day arrives when everything is turned topsy turvy. One such day was 5th of July when I came out of the shadows and hit the limelight. That’s the day when even twitter celebrated by trending me all over India, the day the people finally understood my importance. The day my price hit the stratosphere. The day I hit a century. Sing hosannas friends. I have arrived. I, Tomato! Tamatar, Thakkali!
I have always been the substance while everyone around me celebrated the fluff; the beauty which is skin deep. I mean can you imagine anyone more versatile than me? I just have this wonderful habit of merging into the scene so beautifully, so naturally. No wonder you miss noticing me most of the time. I start your meal as the quintessential soup. I am the primary nibble in the green salad till the starters arrive. For people with class I am the drink of the evening. Imagine a bloody mary without me! Whether as chutney or ketchup, sauce or thokku I am the first choice fill in dish for the pressed-for-time homemakers or when cooks take a vacation.
I am also a chameleon of the grade one variety. From Rasams to sabji, tadka or gravy, I mix with everything. No one from the veggie land or my cousins who walk, fly or swim have any issues with me. I mix wonderfully with every one of them. In most cases the lead artists on your dining table will be tasteless tinsel without the key role I play as a silent partner. But all this effort that I put in, all this sacrifice that I graciously submitted to resulted in me not being given the importance due to me till I decided to hit you where it hurts, your wallet. And now I have got my rightful dues, headlines finally. Der aaye durust aaye, better late than never, latea vandhalum latesta vandhen. Pardon my song-n-dance about this but I am sure you appreciate that it is not often I get the top billing, not just another day when you shell out Rs.100.00 for a KG for the juiciest of me!
And see what I have achieved! I am told by my reliable sources that the Saravana Bhavan chain of restaurants in Chennai have overnight changed their menu. The Thakkali chutney is main course now and comes @ Rs.120.00 a bowl while the dosai comes free with every bowl ordered. In Kolkata the baudis and bhodroloks have planned an agitation to demand that I be supplied at subsidized rates at ‘Fair price shops’ (Ration shops you ignoramus). I am also informed that The Didi was planning to withdraw support to the Central Govt. on this point till someone reminded her that she had already done so earlier. A major fight broke out at Hatwa Market in Patna over my availability. The warring sides accusing the other of hoarding and black marketing me in an attempt to deny the pleasure of having me for lunch with the staple litti and chokha. Meanwhile there are rumours that certain elements in Ahmedabad have ‘modified’ my price by adding a few zeros to my actual going rate to create scare mongering of National scale. In Mumbai security has been tightened around every kitchen and terrace garden. My sources in the Intelligence agencies claim to have an intercept wherein a plot involving a ‘foreign’ group has come to light. The group in question is planning to raid of all the gardens and finish me and cause untold damage to the Wholesale Price Index. Yet another of my sources confirms that a certain National party has decided to take out a rally against its own Govt in the National Capital Region. It is the rallyist’s hope that the aam aadmi will throw enough of my ilk at them in fury. The same will be then carefully collected and sold, the sales proceed will go on to fund the next Assembly election.
PS: @ImDp_ informs me that they call me ‘Pomidor’ in Russia. Never knew this.