On Wednesday when asked by an MP if she ate onions, Sitharaman had said, "I belong to a family which does not eat onion and garlic."
This led to a jibe from P Chidamabram – who’s enjoying a breath of fresh air after 106 days in Tihar jail – who couldn’t resist taking a dig at her.
"I thought the Finance Minister said yesterday she does not eat onions, she is not bothered... What does she eat? Does she eat avocado? She does not eat onions," Chidambaram told media.
Speaking at a press conference later, Chidambaram said that his comments on the finance minister was not "sarcastic". "I was not sarcastic, I was quoting her. They should have planned in advance, what is the point of importing (onion) now, when will they arrive. But if the finance minister says I don't eat onions, that shows the mindset of this government," he said.
Chidambaram’s jibe was particularly interesting given Sitharaman had once blamed millennials’ propensity for taking Ola and Uber for falling car sales.
The avocado – the one of the millennials’ favourite go-to foods – has often been vilified and revered in India and the world.
The wily fox – who has started to get a martyr’s shine thanks to his 106-day incarceration – certainly picked the perfect fruit to attack Sitharaman.
Of course, it would seem that Chidambaram has spent a lot of time brushing his millennial lingo.
A few years ago, he was so out-of-touch that he was shocked that coffee at the airport costs Rs 180 and once mocked people saying that if people could afford to buy ice-cream for Rs 20 in 2012, they shouldn’t complain about price rise.
The wily politician appears to have updated his vocabulary, more so than his other Congress brethren.
Casteist undertone in Nirmala's statement
And while we might laugh about Nirmala Sitharman’s jibe about onions, one should also remember that her statement actually has casteist undertones. In many states, people often mock onion eaters.
In Maharashtra, lower-caste individuals who eat onions are often mocked as ‘kaanda khau’ in Kannada the phrase is ‘neerulli-belulli’. So when, Sitharaman brags in parliament about her family not eating onions, she is reinforcing a deep prejudice that exists against those who eat it.
Avocado on people's mind
But that leaves up with another questions, what is the avocado?
The avocado (persea americana) classified as a member of the flowering plan family Lauraceae, the fruit of the plan is botanically large berry.
In 2018, Peru – one of the importers – exported 11% of its total avocados here, and a statement from the embassy had said: “Indian market is quickly turning into a conscious healthy consumer and we will ensure that more of our superfoods continue to enter the market.”
Sonal Ved writes in Vogue that their exists an Indian counterpart in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which sells at Rs 500 per kg to the imported one’s at Rs 1500 per kg.
Thanks to P Chidambaram, the nation now wants to know about avocados.
With inputs from agencies