middle of a busy street. We have plenty of witnesses.
Rapist: It was the chowmein, sir.
Police Inspector: Nonsense! Are you under the influence of alcohol?
Rapist: No sir, I am under the influence of chowmein.
Intelligence Bureau man: If what this guy is saying is true and based on the khap panchayat's research, we might have a major problem. After all, we did get raped in 1962.
Rapist: I'm sure our local chowmein vendor must be Chinese, because he once asked me what were my views on lape.
Superintendent: On what?
IB man: On rape. He pronounced it lape.
Asst Inspector: Hope the foleign spy lots in herr.
Inspector: Sir, I think this lapist, I mean rapist, is lying. I remember it was after eating pudding and pie that the criminal Georgie Porgie kissed the girls. Hence, it is pudding and pie, not chowmein, which is to blame.
Superintendent: This rapist can hardly have consumed either pudding or pie in the Haryana boondocks. Pudding and pie may lead to rapes in the West, but not here.
Constable: Sir, in Bengal, when a person has a roving eye, or is too frisky, we say he has the "potato's fault".
Superintendent: (to rapist) What did you have for breakfast?
Rapist: Aloo parathas.
Inspector: Ah. So that is why they say 'couch potato'.
IB man: Potatoes may make a man frisky, but there's no evidence it leads to aggression.
Superintendent of Police: Grapes do that.
IB man: Eh? Grapes?
Superintendent: Yup. Steinbeck wrote a famous treatise on the connection between grapes and anger. He called it The Grapes of Wrath.
Inspector: The great Popeye believed the ingestion of spinach boosts aggression.
Superintendent: I think not. Remember the movie Attack of the Killer Tomatoes?
IB man: But the tomatoes didn't rape anybody. Tomatoes can murder, not rape.
Constable: Could it be mangoes? I once saw a very sexy movie called Last Mango in Paris.
Rapist: Perhaps that is why we are called mango people.
Superintendent: This investigation is going nowhere. Mr Hercule Poirot, could you please help us out?
Poirot: But of course. It is only a matter of exercising the little grey cells. (To rapist) - What vegetables did you have with the chowmein?
Rapist: Cabbages, capsicum, carrots.
Poirot: Carrots! Did you know that the Greeks thought carrots were an aphrodisiac? Are you aware that the mad Roman emperor Caligula once fed nothing but carrot dishes to the Roman senate so that he could watch them rut like beasts?
All: No, sir.
Poirot: And as clinching evidence, in Monsters vs Aliens: Night of the Living Carrots, zombie carrots control a victim's mind after biting him. So it is absolutely clear. Voila, the carrots did it.
Superintendent: Merci, Monsieur Poirot.
IB Man: Great! We have nothing to fear from China now.
Constable: Could I push off early, sir? I have to go buy some veggies.
Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint
Views expressed by the author are personal