Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Aping is so easy

I have been making entries on my blog under foodies' sphere section over last one week. The red, pulpy tomato in my kitchen served as a bridge in sudden migration of my thoughts from cooking to more serious issues. I read reports of the recent La Tomatino festival in Garden City college, Bangalore following links - - and . It is said that many kilos of tomatoes were wasted in recreating the fun that people visualised in the recent Hindi movie - Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.

La Tomatino is a traditional festival celebrated by people of Spain in month of August, much like we celebrate Holi with colors. Instead of colors and water, it is tomatoes and its pulp.

I put my earnest efforts to understand how people or more precisely youngsters get such brilliant ideas to make merry and have fun and frolic. The moment something is shown in a movie, even if it is a practice we do not have and cannot imagine having at any cost, we yearn to ape it instantly. Aping seems so easy and effortless.

On one hand, we take away farmer's land in name of continuous development, for every activity one can name - construction of highways, power projects, express corridors and real estate development and then there are vagaries of monsoon and climate that the farmers battle every year. Farmers are this unlucky lot who are not aided by both nature and men; yet they toil and till their land to provide us agricultural produce so that we can feed ourselves. Blame further, the inefficiency and mismanagement in the chain from the time harvest leaves farmland to storage warehouses, till it reaches the customers' hands. The middlemen, suppliers and stockists build a mafia and inflate prices artificially to unimaginably high figures. In such a scenario, neither is the end customer benefited by the skyrocketting prices for a kilo of veggies nor the farmer who despite all his labor does not even get a paltry share in the profits.

If this is the situation in India, how can one digest the idea of wasting 62000 kg of tomatoes for sake of mere fun? When the government wisely re iterates to fools who throng behind such ideas; they accuse and call it lack of modernity in attitude, lack of tolerance and acceptance of others cultures and traditions. They give a sordid defence for the heinous act of wasting such veggies saying they are only rotten tomatoes - so where's the loss? The first question that arises - how/why 62000 kg of tomatoes goes waste and rotten and this is only a fraction of the total figure from one state, so imagine the scale of wastage in a big country like ours. Can these college students who seek fun and such pricely pleasure pay some serious thought on how food loss can be averted, what can be done to improve the storage and distribution systems in our country? What appears rotten to some may help in making a decent meal for the utterly destitute. But yes, we cannot expect college students in Bangalore (who whine on news channels that the monthly provision of pocket money of Rs 1500 is not enough) to understand the plight of people who spend little over Rs 32 per day and still be not termed as poor in our country.

I am sure the immediate question will be " that this blog post comes from you, what have you personally done to better the storage and distribution systems and mitigate the food crisis situation in our country? " The meek answer is NOTHING .. but I do not get such preposterous ideas in name of fun (despite watching the movie) and I ensure that food does not go waste whether I eat at home or outside.

For once, the state government has taken a wise decision by not lending support to such abominable acts. It happened once in Garden City College premises but care has been taken to avoid a bigger and grander act in Palace Grounds in the city. To appreciate the fiscal and practical details of damage that can occur from such an event, please read -

Through this blogpost, I sincerely request the youngsters to head back home and relish their burgers and pizza with a huge dab of tomato sauce and refrain from such disastrous acts that are totally uncalled for. We live in Bangalore and not Bunol; even in Bunol, in current times when the Horn of Africa is starving to death, this festival only denotes serious crime of food wastage and no fun. However, I am nobody to question foreign practices and festivities, let them be the way they are and let us simply be what we are - human and not apes.


CK said...

Agree.. big time!!!! La Tomatina is so exclusive to Spain. Wonder whats the point in such aping. Glad to see we have some wise old heads who take good decisions at times :)

Shubha said...

I agree Divya. This comes of assuming that modernity is doing something different and "western". But the bigger issue you raise is that of food wastage. I've often read that several tonnes of food grains at government owned silos spoil each year due to improper storage. So many people go hungry every day. Measures should be taken to reduce food wastage every where.