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La Tomatina is Not India’s Culture?

18th September, 2011

Yet again self-elected citizen representatives and their political pawns have decided for the benefit of mankind that Bangalore’s first ever “La Tomatina” fest must not occur.

La TomatinaIt was supposed to happen today.

Ha! I wasn’t going to go anyway. Why would I want to waste my Sunday and blow away Rs. 1199 per ticket just for a free complimentary drink. That’s around 18 bottles of beer, or 6 rum-and-cokes, or 9 plates of Chilli Chicken, or if I still haven’t enticed y0u enough that’s 300 cups of chai at your friendly neighbourhood chaiwalla.

However, I Have Issues

Of course. How else can someone keep writing on a blog? (Haha!). No seriously, the arguments presented to convince the general public (ie, sensationalize the topic and give the news channels something to call breaking news) seem very retarded and full of .. umm .. rotten tomatoes.

Are we that gullible?

Rotten Tomato #1: It’s Not In Our Culture

I’ve harped about this before and I will harp again: who the hell can define and “defend” the “culture” of a diverse nation like ours? Is it in our culture to down-grade Delhi boys to the scum of the earth? Oh wait, no. Umm. Okay just ignore that.

Somehow we’ve forgotten our history books. We are who we are through the amalgamation of so many different cultures and contexts: there’s a little bit of Parsi, Afghani, Bangladeshi, Nepali, and Burmese in all of us. If we consider this festival an “outsider’s” festival, kindly shut down Domino’s pizza. If you can’t do that at least remove the horrible pasta from their menu. That is not very Indian.

Selecting and picking items that define the culture of India goes against the culture of India – that everyone IS invited.

Rotten Tomato #2: Millions of Indians Go Hungry Everyday

I won’t doubt the numerous numeric facts being thrown around like cards. 17 percent of this and 23,000 tonnes of that put India in the bottom of every possible index there is (except the ones where being on top is the worst).

How does one solve hunger? Solve poverty. How does one solve poverty? By cancelling niche fests, getting media hype and feeling smug about oneself. Public distribution schemes and NREGA are so passe, they’re useless methods when compared to the advantage of cancelling La Tomatina.

Once all the hype is over, I will ask once again. How did you help those who went hungry? Will these expensive tomatoes reach their bowls or still continue to be out of their reach?


There is one way that the poor can be adversely affected by this event: purchasing such a large number of tomatoes at one go might increase the price of tomatoes and then became too expensive for the poor.

However the actual metrics make this seem unlikely. The total annual production of tomatoes in India is 10,303,000 tonnes (2008 source)  and the fest required 62 tonnes. That’s 0.00006 %. I’m sure Bharti-Wal-Mat buys more tomatoes in a day.

Rotten Tomato #3: Spain is a Developed Country, India Has a Long Way

India is full of contradictions in every corner. Super-luxury bike maker Ducatti opens a shop in Mumbai while, in the same city, the largest slum continues to grow.

Spain can throw a La Tomatina every year because it can afford to? You idjit. They throw it because it’s a tourist attraction. More tourism means higher hotel occupancy, more shopping (more random shopping actually) and a burgeoning tourism industry.

Thank you for killing yet another opportunity for the strangled tourism industry here.

Rotten Tomato #3: Farmer’s Sentiments Are Hurt

Well, that is a valid point. I mean, I agree that farmers have to toil through the year to produce a batch of tomatoes, and to throw it all away seems a little pointless.

Do you waste food? Weird question, I know, but did you ever waste some dal or leave  the boring rice on your plate? Did you ever have a breakdown thinking of all the hard work that went wasted?

Or did a mochi suddenly lose heart when his shoe was thrown at George Bush?

And if you’ve suddenly become aware of farmer’s sentiments, please stop eating rice. It’s horrible to grow and requires too much supervision. (Even on Farmville).

Rotten Tomato #4: Organizers Were Not Transparent

They didn’t divulge details of how much profit they would earn and how much they would donate to charity. Well, mister, even Lays doesn’t tell you anything about the chips-to-air ratio of their potato wafers. Yet they make money.

If you think about it, which festival is organized in a completely transparent manner? Do winners of all radio contests actually win something more than a gift hamper? Did you cross-check?

Bloody rotten tomato reasoning.

The Real Tomatoes

Maybe there are some real genuine reasons there. Maybe when you hear about La Tomatina you cringe, but you aren’t able to put it into words. I’ll grant you the benefit of doubt.

What has happened, though, is just horrible.

Tomorrow, the same hogwash reasoning and mindless logic can be applied to something you dearly believe in: like partying late at night.

Oh crap that’s already been done!

21 Comments leave one →
  1. 18th September, 2011 9:49 AM

    Hmmm.. har ek minister zaroori hota hai. Our very own Sadananda Gowda must be smiling from ear to ear now. * he does that anyway .. all the time * 😐

    You know what? I wasn’t very enthused about the La Tomatina either. In our culture, something like La Chutney would make more sense no? Someone tell the minister this, I say.

    International Chutney Festival, make-and-toss..

    • 18th September, 2011 5:20 PM

      La Chutney! Hahaha! Oh god that was comical. The phrase “Uski chutney bana do” will probably get a new meaning!

  2. 18th September, 2011 11:41 AM

    doodwah.. yet another well written post!

    i want to-matina! it looks like a helluva lot of fun.

    • 18th September, 2011 5:27 PM

      It’s quite cruel that they cancel all the cool things that could’ve happened in India. And thanks for the blog-love. Too much, I say!

  3. 18th September, 2011 12:50 PM

    Maalik, I don’t agree with the concept of La Tomatina in India, so I thought this was a waste of time. We have enough and more festivals of waste in the country in any case, and copying a tradition from another country simply because of 1 random movie, is just plain stupid. The movie will fade from the memories of people and this would have ended up as a one-off event. The organisers would make money due to the current hype, but it would not end up being a tradition. Halloween never caught up in India, right.

    Personally, the concept throwing food at someone does not really appeal to me. This would probably have ended up being a shady event with excessive media hype. The media doesn’t have much to do in this country in any case.

    • 18th September, 2011 5:34 PM

      Hmm. Valid point. First, there are just too many festivals, all promoted by the greeting card industry.

      On your second point, that the concept of throwing food doesn’t seem right – that’s true! I agree! You see, this is a legitimate reasons to oppose the fest. (And in India, you’re entitled to that opinion)! I was scolded by my parents when I threw food – can’t do that again!

      But hogwash reasoning – especially when it’s successful – is extremely dangerous. It’s as if the public is being taken for a ride!

  4. siddharth Aryan permalink
    18th September, 2011 1:10 PM

    Why have 2 holis in one year? Isn’t 1 good enough for u Mr.Kartikay?
    And I agree with Maalik Jain..why why throw food on someone else 😛

    • 18th September, 2011 5:41 PM

      Hehe .. two Holis! Let’s cancel the real Holi and keep this one because we love everything foreign 😛

  5. 18th September, 2011 8:32 PM

    Ha…nice post Sahay. Tomatino had to happen last month in Delhi but was cancelled for similar reasons. And they were giving unlimited beer and ciggies for 2000.
    But I am against it for different reason. I agree with the sentiments 2 and 3 a bit and just look at it as a waste of good tomatoes. Think of how much curry, sauce etc could be made with all those tomatoes.
    But more than that, I think that we ape and copy from west a lot. We copy music, we copy films, our politicians go there on study tours….and now we even have to copy their revelry, just because we saw it in a movie. Can we be original in something?

    • 18th September, 2011 10:07 PM

      Hmm. We ape and copy a lot from the West? You still think so? I thought the aura of America had died down.

      Oh bummer. (For this and the fact that your Tomatina got cancelled!)

  6. 18th September, 2011 9:56 PM

    I prefer tomatoes in my Bloody Mary. Makes me forget about the rotting grains in our granary, spiraling prices of veggies becomes some hoarder wants to make a neat profit. Strangely this Anti Tomatina campaign found favour with our FB addicted and Tweet loving generation.

    Clearly most of us don’t believe in the Live let live adage.

    • 19th September, 2011 6:42 PM

      Ooh! Bloody Mary’s my favourite too. Tabasco is a vital ingredient in my digestive system. By the way – love your blog these days. Got a very aggressive attack on humour and I’m loving it (no reference to McDonald’s, please).

      Anyways, Tomatina’s died a rotten death. Now what?

  7. 24th September, 2011 3:35 PM

    “However, I Have Issues

    Of course. How else can someone keep writing on a blog?” hahahaha. priceless 🙂

    Thanks for the logical reasoning. Much appreciated.

    • 24th September, 2011 4:22 PM

      Hehe! Thanks a lot ooofffyyaaa. Or oofya. Or OOFya.

      Isn’t it “uff yaar”?

  8. 27th September, 2011 8:09 AM

    Ha ha ha…. that’s a brilliant way of putting things straight in perspective. I grant you all justifications and counterarguments but I belong to that lost block – something about La Tomatina makes me cringe. I haven’t seen Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. And I like Farhan. Drat!

    • 27th September, 2011 1:15 PM

      You haven’t seen ZNMD? Youch!

      And you like Farhan? Then how could you have not seen ZNMD? It’s a rule: you can’t be a Farhan-fan if you haven’t seen ZNMD. Just like you can’t be a SRK-fan if you aren’t anticipating Ra.One.

      It’s the rule!

      (And thanks for dropping by, paneer and pulao and all that, but I think you need to prove your Farhan-fan-ness! Hehe!).

    • 27th September, 2011 2:13 PM

      You are right. 😦 I knew I was violating something major when I didn’t spare that weekend for ZNMD, So much for premonition! I promise I will try to add to the film’s TV collections. 😀

    • 29th September, 2011 1:08 PM

      Hahahaha!! Funny funny you are!

  9. LeAnn Rebeiro permalink
    4th September, 2012 3:30 PM

    Well we are talking about ZNMD and deviating from the topic? All I know is that somethings are better seen than done. But I just came across this virtual application on Facebook. Go have a look!

    • 4th September, 2012 4:22 PM

      Haha – makes sense! If you can’t do it in real life, enjoy it in the virtual mode!


  1. Thank Goodness ‘La Tomatina’ India was banned but what about these?? « Ritu’s Weblog

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