No other essential commodity, a vegetable to be specific, has so far affected the Indian heartbeat more than an onion. No, this is not going to be a medical article throwing light on how the bulbous vegetable affects the human heart. Nor is this going to be preachy advice about how this aphrodisiac bulb goes against the Brahmacharya traditions. It is actually the vulnerable price index of the priceless vegetable which sometimes gives us sleepless nights and restless days.
It is not uncommon when the price of this magic vegetable shoots through the roof and makes people cry even without having to slice it. People who have marriages and functions fixed during these days must be repenting their decision.
In a nation with a large middle-class population, the skyrocketing onion prices have a catastrophic effect on the monthly budget. Indians, who are known for their love for spicy food, just can't do without onions. Call it their pyar for the pyaz or anything else, Indians can make their governments fall over the murderous hike in onion prices. Thus, whenever the onion prices cross dangerous upper levels, all concerns at homes and offices taper to just one topic - onion prices. Going by the indispensability factor, a pyaz is to Indian kitchens, what pyar is to Indian movies. If onion prices continue to decide the joys and gloom of our nation this way, our film makers might as well think of their future ventures like Pyaz Jhukta Nahin, Pyaz Kee Jeet, Pyaz ka Mausam, Pyaz ke Side Effects, Jab Pyaz Liya to Darna Kya etc.
A common man is kept wondering - why are our governments so helpless in price control? Why can't they come down heavily on hoarders? What is the sense of a common vegetable beating intoxicants in the price index?
When left in the lurch by the authorities, we the Indians are also known to vent our frustration in a lighter vein, commonly called Indian humour. Following the recent situation of onion prices competing well with the petrol prices, our inboxes got flooded with quirky messages and pictures. A ring with an onion proudly perched on it in place of a diamond invalidated the phrase 'Diamonds are Forever'. A rakhi made with an onion placed aesthetically on it was declared the costliest rakhi. People seriously wished to gift their sisters a bagful of onions on Rakshabandhan. Want more? Another one goes like this: Amitabh Bachchan grills his honest bhai Shashi Kapoor, "Mere paas paisa hai, daulat hai, bungla hai, tumhare paas kya hai?" To which the mama's boy-turned-pyaz-lover bhai says, "Mere paas dus kilo pyaz hai."
Will the governments ever realise that this humour has an underlying agony, helplessness and frustration embedded in it? Isn't the common man sobbing in this satire?