Tuesday, 14 August 2012


There have been times in the recent (and not so recent) past when onion prices have literally made people cry here in India. To peel back a few layers, all you need to know is that artificial demand for onion was created, people stockpiled, and boom! onions vanished faster than you could wipe away your tears. Result? Our sudden love for onions, at whatever cost, literally. Until then, I'm sure people didn't hyperventilate or check themselves into hospitals because they hadn't seen an onion. But on the demise of the onion...

It's the same thing with humans. When a person is alive, you really don't hear any good stuff about him. You know, it's always been about how he's been a big so-and-so, how's he trampled more than a few careers in his path, how it's not only his carbon footprint that should have been eliminated much earlier... you get the drift. Suddenly, in death, he's now Mr Popular. The same chap has now sprouted a halo that could wrap itself around the Earth several times.

It's like the drunken uncle in the family. Nobody cared about him, nobody invited him to family dos, and noses wrinkled in disgust if he did turn up, owing to someone's serious lapse in judgement. But now that he's no more, the bottle is long forgotten, and his grieving widow is the favourite aunt, while he has been elevated almost to the heavens. Pun unintended. Of course, his snotty nosed boy, the Cousin No One Could Stand, is now the favourite, without whom all celebrations are incomplete. That one random memory with said uncle now comes to the fore, which up until then was best forgotten. Embellished, of course, such that it would put a brocade tapestry to shame. Everyone is suddenly so close to uncle, aunt and cousin, that everything else pales into insignificance.

Is it, as a friend mused, just human nature? We are raised to believe that we shouldn't speak ill of the dead. Or cry about onion prices.

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