The chief electoral officer of Tamil Nadu appealed to the electorate to vote without fail, according to their conscience. He also exhorted them to select a good government as they would carefully choose good brinjals.
When queried by the inept French police detective, Inspector Jacques Clouseau of the Pink Panther movies fame if he had taken a sample of the wax on the floor, Police Chief Lundallah said, “Wax is wax.” Clouseau replied, “Wax is not just wax. In this case it is a clue. Domestic wax, Belgian wax, French wax, English wax...”
Similarly, all brinjals are not identical. Some are rotund, some elongated and some resemble dinosaur’s eggs. Some are purple and some green like the Udipi Mattu Gulla. Americans call it eggplant, the English aubergine and Asians brinjal. Some are naturally shiny. Some are coated with wax or oil to shine them. Some brinjals come without any gloss, like the “Mattu Gulla” but with a trademark taste. All brinjals come with natural crowns. Even the bad ones can be made tasty by a smart cook by scooping out the fleshy part with seeds and stuffing them with garam masala.
Politicians also come in different shades and sizes. By the outward look of a person, one cannot pick him. Brinjals need to be carefully examined to detect worm holes. Normally, women teach their children how to select vegetables. My mother never taught me, because she took the trouble of buying everything.
After marriage, my wife taught me the art of picking good vegetables. “Tomatoes should be red and firm when you feel them. Drumsticks should yield to twisting, otherwise they are overripe. Coconuts should be shaken. If you hear too much water inside, it will be tender. If you hear too little water, it will be copra. The sound of water inside the coconut should be perfect for use in the kitchen. Brinjals should be free of worm-holes, not too shiny and not coated with shrunken skin. They should have more flesh and less seeds,” the wife educated me.
But I am overawed by vendors. They assure me that whatever is stocked in their shops are the best hand-picked farm produce and coerce me to forget the yardsticks. So, every time I return home, my wife detects a few worm-infested brinjals or rotten tomatoes in my bag and complains, “You are too naïve. You allow yourself to be cheated by the vendors in the market. Hereafter, do not buy any vegetables. I will do it.”
The poll candidates don’t come alone to seek my valuable vote. They are accompanied by a dozen tough-looking brinjals. I dare not examine the merits of a candidate with his past performance by asking incisive questions. I vote for the better of the bad brinjals and face the music.