Sriram Karri | Tomatoes are not onions. Period!

Update: 2023-08-05 18:32 GMT
Amid prices of tomatoes and spices hitting the roof, onion prices are set to surge in September. (Representational Photo: PTI)

As chief anchor of the Vegetable and Fruits TV channel, it is our significant endeavour to ensure journalistic fairness in all our debates, presenting verified facts and news, and without being partisan, ensure all sides are given a fair platform to air their opinions.

V&F has never succumbed to allowing debate participants to cross a line, but since a recent prime time discussion between Onion and Tomato got a bit out of hand, it is fair we present the entire transcript.

Anchor: Good evening. Today, in our studio, for the prime time debate, we have…

Onion: The stupid confused tomato. A totally split personality, confused identity. Is he a fruit or a vegetable? A fruit that cannot be used in a fruit salad.

Tomato: Look, you colourless stinking lout, I am star, the life of a vegetable salad and that must hurt you a lot. You have to be hidden, and flavoured, to hide your stink.

Onion: You are merely an edible berry. And oh, why did you refuse you in the fruit family? Because you are not sweet enough. Did that leave a bitter feeling or what?

Tomato: Bitter? Ever heard anyone cry and go all in tears while just cutting them? Ever? You make stink and make people cry?

Anchor: Please guests, let us not get personal. We are all born who we are — what can be done about it?

Tomato: Allium cepa.

Onion: Solanum lycopersicum.

Anchor: Guys, no bad words or calling names.

Both Onion and Tomato: Those are scientific names.

Anchor: Sorry, my ignorance. Can we focus on facts please.

Onion: You have a history of only 3,000 odd years. I go back over 7,000 years. Did you get that?

Tomato: Who conquered the world faster? Who is more acceptable? Who has paintings and poems in their honour? Have you ever seen a painting with onions?

Onion: I have a satire magazine named after me.

Tomato: I have a food delivery app named after me. Big deal. I have a festival named after me in Spain. Famous movies have cast me.

Onion: I was revered by the Egyptians, and buried with emperors. Have you seen a tomato in any event of significance? Have you ever considered what the world would be without me? The kitchens, the pantries, the cuisines and menus.

Tomato: Oh, and what about me? You are at best a side dish, a flavour, with substitutes. I am a main dish, the base of a gravy. How many pizzas without onion and how many without a tomato?

Onion: You clearly overestimate. You are just a bottle of sauce.

Tomato: Ever heard of onion sauce, eh? I am the king of ketchup. I am the base of a pizza, and the topping. And come along with a sachet. And you…

Anchor: Can we stop this game of one-upmanship and stick to facts. Like nutritional values?

Onion: I am happy to answer it. Talk to any nutritionist, or a doctor. Since ancient times, I have helped people fall asleep. I help keep the hot sun at bay, people pack me up into their attire for protection. I am a medicinal herb as much as a vegetable. I am used to cure toothaches, poor digestion,

Tomato: I am rich in nutrition, taste and medical powers. I have many nutrients and minerals, abound in most Vitamins: A, K, B1, B3, B5, B6, B7, and even vitamin C. Talking of minerals — folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, chromium, choline, zinc, and phosphorus — I have it all.

Onion: Do you even know how many antioxidants I contact? I help people keep their blood sugar levels in control — hypertension, BP, diabetes. I help improve your digestion, have me and do away with constipation. I am also loaded with nutrients, and have anti-inflammatory powers. Guess who helps keep cancer at bay.

Tomato: Do you even know of the million odd websites only about my benefits? I am rich in antioxidants too, I also help reduce risks of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. I aid in combating cholesterol, blood pressure and controlling blood sugar. And hey, while at it, I make you look good and keep you smart. I help in improving the health of your brain, liver, skin and immune system.

Onion: I am good in any format. People can eat me raw, or cooked, boiled or fried.

Tomato: I am a bigger all-rounder. Pickles and chutney, sauce and paste, I am everything. And my looks.

Onion: Your name means a fat, swollen by water, fruit. Looks? I come in many colours too. Did you say red?

Tomato: A perfect round shape. Perfection.   

Anchor: Clearly, you are both amazing. But can we look beyond all this. I mean, health and nutrition, history and looks, are all okay. But anything else?

Onion: You know my price in the market? Any idea how much I am worth?

Tomato: Don’t even get there. Have you been buying groceries recently?

Meanwhile, on the microphone with the anchor, program producer: Get in some politics, some controversy. It has been a dud so far.

Anchor: Do you have any political views?

Onion: (Begins to laugh)

Tomato: There have been protests across the country as my price shot up. People have come on to the streets. What are you laughing about?

Onion: Ever brought down a government? Ha ha ha…

Anchor: Clearly, tomatoes are not onions. At least not politically.


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