Monday, October 5, 2015

Tater Jack

While he held the stem of his champagne flute with the pinch of his right hand, a pinch of the left clutched a beedi. There weren't many who would attempt to taste the smooth tingle of bubbly with the hit of cheap, unfiltered tobacco. But the lines of socio-economic stratification remained invisible to him, and not just blurry.

Throughout his career that spanned decades, he had played a variety of roles. His depiction of secret agent "Brown; Hash Brown" was as loved as his performance in Ratatouille. He could play each character with panache - completely personifying the culture he attempted to fit in.

But tonight, Mr. Potato sat on his couch, paying no heed to the negative connotation his association with the piece of furniture had earned, and pondered over his import in the global culinary industry. Was his contribution ever acknowledged as much as it truly deserved?

A fan of Bollywood, he knew that life was not always just, and there was a lot other than talent that determined an actor's popularity. Fair skin and dimples took actors a long way – it was something that also led to the Paneer's success. He knew that even though the world liked its food fried deep, the people themselves were just shallow.

Paneer was the Shah Rukh of the vegetarian food industry – enjoying fruits of a wonderful stroke of luck over talent. And Soya, the Salman – winning thousands of vegetarians with nothing, but a muscular personality.

Paneer was smooth, no doubt, but there were many like him throughout the world. Gouda, Cheddar, Mozarella... You name it, and every country had its own version of that typical romantic hero. Hell, even Tofu fell in the same category. Where was the Paneer's individuality? But it was loved – dipped in a gravy of tomatoes, it became Shahi; marinated in spinach, it became the Palak Paneer. Vegetarians ordered for the Paneer wherever they went, but not one thought of the Aaloo.

To hold it in contrast, the Aaloo had displayed a lot more variation. He was the protagonist in The Burger Patty, and also played the role of a thickening agent in the Tomato Ketchup – something very few were aware of. He beat Aamir Khan at being socially active as the Bhaaji with the Poori at langars across the country. On the other hand, he was mischievous enough to let people believe that his character in Fries was French, when it was actually American - this sly thing!

Here was a man who had romanced with every possible partner one could imagine to work with. From French Beans to Okra, from Ketchup to Mint Chutney, and from Chaat to the Parantha – this gentleman had perfected all. Was he the Anupam Kher to the industry; extremely talented, omni-present, revered, and yet not the Best Actor winner at Filmfare?

He looked into the mirror and rubbed a hand on his bald pate. He had come a long way with these looks that still spoke of his past when he grew in the mud and rose from the ground. He wasn't going to let such thoughts bog him down! He had his own identity that he was proud of. At least he wasn’t pretentious like the Paneer, calling itself “Cottage Cheese” while travelling across borders. Bloody Cottage Chu!

He took a puff from the beedi and blew a smoke circle towards the mirror. "Anupam Kher nahi, Irrfan Khan hain, bh****od!"


Image Source: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Bq07-YBIEAIYsCU.jpg

16 comments:

  1. I'm upset for there was no Jalebi Bai item number reference.

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    Replies
    1. I wanted to write about the Aaloo Jalebi that you get in some parts of UP, but refrained since the topic deserves a whole post in itself. Will try not to disappoint you, good lady :)

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  2. Bwahahahah!!!! Amazing one!
    "Paneer was the Shah Rukh of the vegetarian food industry – enjoying fruits of a wonderful stroke of luck over talent. And Soya, the Salman – winning thousands of vegetarians with nothing, but a muscular personality." That just made my day! Such comparisons. Much waav.
    @@@@@

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    Replies
    1. Much waav. You prefer vada paav over samosa paav :D

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  3. Yet another Halwai Shop for you <3

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dev. Also, oho aaha, kya photo by god :D

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  4. How did you even think of this parallel universe? I love it. :D

    Also, it's close to lunch time and this post is making my stomach growl!

    Take a whole sweet shop, you deserve it! :D

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    Replies
    1. Haha. I mostly write random crap, so yes, doesn't take much to write stuff without sar-paer.

      Aaaand, thank you. I like your writing more!

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  5. @@@. Nice effort!! A lil different. Not so you though..missing the sarthak touch..it's more like someone tried to write like you.

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  6. The Anupam Kher comparision got me saluting you, seriously. XP


    Like everytime I do, I'll repeat the same question - where in the world do you come up with this ? You're the bloody SRK of blogspot, bud. Kudos. *bows to you*



    If you're unhappy with me calling you SRK, just change it to Irffan and suit yourself. :*

    My favourite reference though, was - On the other hand, he was mischievous enough to let people believe that his character in Fries was French, when it was actually American - this sly thing!


    Take a bow Sarthak. You've come to humour as deep as potatoes in the ground. Take some aaloe this time, its only as round as your jalebis - OOOOO

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  7. You gave me aaloo's. Haha. That's so creative! I'm "ubla"-iged, if you know what I mean :D

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  8. And yet paneer has its days of struggle...

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    Replies
    1. Doesn't everyone? Every Bhurji has its day.

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  9. WHAT did I just read? One minute, I am reading and commenting on your deep and thought-provoking Section 498A post, and then I read this. What is life?! Talk about variety.

    I must say, you have raised a very important issue, Sarthak. While the paneer faces the struggle of not being recognized as a vegetable despite being an important part of vegetarian food, the problems faced by potatoes across the world cannot be deemed irrelevant. Look at you, always considering dire issues with a fresh perspective. This is how we'll find balance in this world! I am proud to be a reader of this blog. :P

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    1. *looks into the distance with a serious but hopeful gaze*

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If you had 5 Jalebis, how many would you give me for writing this post?

None = You don't deserve any >:O
@ = Soggy and stale! :(
@@ = Stale! :|
@@@ = I'll need a samosa to digest this with! :P
@@@@ = Sweet and Crisp! :)
@@@@@ = I'm opening you a Halwai Shop! :D