NB: For all those who recognise the title, whacked from a Bodhi Tree song, I blame my lack of imagination on the bald stupor caused by yet another display of the various ways in which potatoes can be put to use.
Before I moved to Delhi, I knew of the potato. I actually liked it; it was an occasional carbohydrate stuffed delicacy that we ate once a week.
Then I moved to Delhi.
Two months later, home with typhoid and too many boiled potatoes, I went into hysterics when my mother placed before me a dish of little diced potatoes, just the way I liked them.
Then I came back to mess food and between snake gourd and ash gourd, I wanted to do violent things with and to gourds, so I opted to eat the potatoes that were liberally sprinkled over each dish. Oh, and in case one didn't get enough of them, they also made their presence felt at breakfast, at least thrice a week.
Somewhere between all this, winter came, and ensconced in my sweaters, I failed to notice how I was fast becoming a potato. Why, now that I think of it, that sounds a little like one of Roald Dahl's stories come alive. Not too nice an allegory, I'd say, though I quite liked reading Dahl.
After that, the next 18 months passed in a war of potatoes. If you didn't like this potato there was that potato. One learnt that potato was the most transgastronomical vegetable ever. Start your day with alu paranthas or perhaps alu kachoris or chole bhature with alu in the chole thrown in for good measure. I even had sprouts with...potatoes. That little insignificant cur of a tuber suddenly dominated our lives. Except, it has always appalled me that Delhi cannot make decent batata vadas.
Like everything else, too much of the potato is harmful and one is susceptible to withdrawal symptoms no matter how much one hates it. When I went to Kerala, there was no food, and no potato. I still fail to acknowledge the side of me that walked into Big Bazaar one day and picked a ready-to-eat alu mattar off the shelf. I don't know her.
Eventually, I did return to saner climes, and saner food, where the children study their green vegetables well. Erstwhile exotic delicacies like rajma, chole and any remotely alu-using dish have been banned from the table on pain of death by potato-sized temper tantrums.