The life of vegetables

5

And then onwards, whenever Monsieur Paedophile appears on the door, Tom makes a run for his manhood. He loses sleep over it fearing the worst. Monsieur Paedophile likes Tom’s red, round assets. It enthrals him. This is even more frightening for his wife than it is for him.

There was a time when he was brainwashed by a priest to become a father and leave his family once and for all. His wife made sure that he was de-hypnotized out of this insanity. She blamed the priest and he was ousted from the neighborhood.

She may have got her husband back but with a scar on his head. His perception of life was changed. He was less involved in his family now and more with the society. It has been months since the husband and the wife slept side by side. Tom cited Jane’s snoring an alibi.

Things were getting out of hand and Jane was concerned. She longed for her husband to return to his former loving self. He was the cutest tomato in town. And she opted for him even after repeated pressure from her family to marry the wealthy mushroom. She followed her heart and now she’s having second thoughts. There are times she thinks about leaving Tom. But she has two little children to take care of. What would be a second husband like? What would be a stepfather like? She was apprehensive.


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The life of vegetables

4

Little did the tomato-y scientists realized that some events in one’s life have a life-changing impact. It makes you think about yourself in a different way. You start to see yourself in a different light altogether. There were such events in Tom’s life as well which made him change. Whether it’s good or bad only time will tell. One of these events was a face to face encounter with a neighbor.

A certain Monsieur Paedophile lived downstairs. He was all alone in this world filled with couples. Little did he know what he was supposed to do to avert his loneliness. He was least interested in women. So he never married. And the society shunned queers. So he was a loner. And of course, he’s a bitter gourd.

It so happened on a sultry day that Monsieur Paedophile walked up to Tom’s door and gave a knock. What he saw blew his mind? He was shaken with l’amour somewhere down below. No, it wasn’t Lady Jane but Monsieur Tom at the door.

Tom didn’t know what to say since there was no response from the other side. A moment is gone and another he felt a hand rubbing his thighs. “Oh so red, my cherry guy! Come to me, and get me high!” Paedophile sang.

Frightened by the proposition, Tom shrugged him away with all his might. “Get out of my house, you freak!”

And Paedophile was on his way to his lonely home. He didn’t sleep that night for his tears were making him puffy. He longed for red assets and fantasized about all those tomato-y entities. This was his first encounter with a tomato. And he was en amour.

The life of vegetables

3

Being called a ‘tomato’, Tom starts wondering what it meant. Why would his wife stress on him being a tomato? It is the way he was born after his parents were married. His father and mother got together and there was Tom, a shiny new tomato. His mother used to say, ‘A tomato is what a tomato is.’ He never understood what it meant but he accepted it at face value coming from his mother. His parents died when he was four years old. That’s the whole story of his origin or that’s what he was led to believe.

Tom was bred in a laboratory. He was the result of an experiment on tomatoes. There was no living matter involved in his birth. Some tomato-y scientists got together and did some tomato-y scientific experiments and voilà! But Tom was not aware of such a thing. This will sound ridiculous to him and to his family. He is indeed a result of a miracle. When he was born, he was codenamed ‘The Miracle Tom.’ And thus he got his name, Tom. But clearly, he’s not aware of his history. He believes what his parents told him.

Tom hardly knows that he is under observation. He has been all his life. The team of tomato-y scientists can’t let their lab rat out of their purview. They keep on studying his day-to-day behavior. He has even been taken hostage by them to conduct some tests on him. Till now, he has been able to lead a normal life. Something has changed in him recently. His body composition shows some deviance from the other tomatoes of the world. He is behaving differently. The tomato-y scientists’ worst fear is about to become true.

The life of vegetables

2

“I need some veggies, Tom!” Jane said. She hardly knows that Tom is ogling at the potato nearby. Tom has put a chair in front of the window of his bedroom. His sight is fixated on the lady asleep in her bed. She’s his neighbor. Being a potato, she is curvy but slim at the same time. One of her legs is hanging out of the bed and Monsieur Tom drools.

“T! What the hell is wrong with you?” Jane shouted. Tom falls down the chair on which he was standing. He hit his head against the window and gives out a cry. Jane enters the room and finds him on the floor.

Tiens! Tiens! What’s the matter with you?” She asked. She couldn’t differentiate the blood oozing out of his head. The color of his skin camouflaged the liquid coming out. He puts his hand on his fresh wound and asks for some ice. But there was none to be had.

“How come there’s no ice left? You sure? I saw it last night,” Tom said.

“Yes, you saw and you took the only one remaining,” Jane replied.

Tom is not happy at his wife’s demeanor. He thinks that she has to behave properly with him. He is the man of the house and needs to be shown some darn respect. It’s time that he taught her some.

“You know what Lily, our neighbor takes great care of her husband…”Tom said. He was interrupted in his speech by the sudden chugging sound of the train passing by. Yes, they live near railway tracks.

A brief moment of silence and Jane said, “Yes, and so does Bill, her husband. It’s a quid pro quo unlike ours.”

“What do you mean? I am so good to you. When have I been mean to you? You better tell me right now or…” Tom said.

“I don’t need to tell you anything. You always compare me with all the other married women in the world. How about you start comparing yourself with all the other men in the world? But what’s the point? It won’t make a difference. You will always be a tomato,” Jane said.

Killer looks

9

I am completely shattered at the thought of leaving Facebook behind. Or is it the way how she slammed the door in my face? It’s confusing and titillating at the same time. This leaves me with nothing to start with. I find myself a virgin even after repeated outbursts of intense hardship. I sweat only to sweat again. I don’t see me gaining anything out of adversity. How do I help myself?

‘You can only help yourself by trusting your gut feelings, your instincts which makes you what you are.’ This rings a bell. I wonder who told me this but this is in my head now and I can’t shake it off. But how does one trust their instincts without even understanding them? I have no clue. Better I find one.

I drag myself back to the one place I find comfort. This place always welcomes me with open hands no matter what. The people inside are always glad to see me day and night. The one place I call Home.

Facebook has got a hold on me and I can’t let it go. The grasp is stronger than a mother’s on her child. I know it’s strange but so is today’s youth. I mean look at the world out there. It’s filled with narcissistic, likes-loving, and self-obsessed teenagers who care more about their online profile than their health. Yes, they ruin their mental as well as physical health. As they spend countless hours thumbing away their precious time during which they could have learned something. What about the physical activity? I mean what about them is left. With a deadly device in hand, you cannot have much of a movement if your eyes are glued and becomes sticky. I fear for my future but I cannot let go. I just can’t.

Tradesmen

9

I went to the police station with Tanmay on his bike. It took us five minutes to reach there. We entered our names, signatures, and the date in the register copy. And then we waited.

It was two hours by the time we were called in. The inspector greeted us and apologized for the delay. The prisoners were taken to a room where they couldn’t see us. They looked different but it all came back to me. We did it. My tormentors were caught. I confirmed their identities and we were done.

We returned to the campus in jubilation. What an experience! “You know that you will have to testify in the court against them. Are you ready?” Tanmay asked.

“Of course, I am. This is nothing compared to what I went through that night. I will make them pay,” I said.

“With all your talk of making them pay, how much are you expecting?” Vijay asked.

“I am not sure whether you are seriously asking this question. As you are not making any sense,” Abhik said.

“I just want to clarify. This is not clear. There needs to be clarity in one’s thoughts and words. Clarity is my right and…” Vijay kept on.

“Stop! I think we have suffered long enough. Now you want to play mind games,” Abhik said.

“Yes, we should stop thinking about it. And celebrate once and for all. We may never get a chance for such kind of celebration. Being victorious, I say – let’s freaking get out of here,” I said.

Tradesmen

8

I heard a loud banging on my door. “Abhishek, wake up! Look at the newspaper. We won. We won,” Abhik shouted.

I opened the door half asleep. It was just 7 in the morning. “We gave you a day to sleep yesterday. And now you don’t want to get up,” Vijay said.

“Shut up, V! Let him open his eyes first,” Tanmay said.

“The kidnappers are caught. They were fleeing the city. But the police intercepted them at the highway. Look! Their pictures are there in the news. Do you recognize them?” Abhik said.

“No,” I said rubbing my eyes.

“What do you mean by no? It’s them. Are you sure?” Abhik said with disbelief.

“Yes, I am sure. They are foreigners. Or at least pretended to be. These people look different,” I said.

“Anyways, the police has asked you to confirm their identity. We are leaving sharp at 9,” Abhik said.

“And why are you having second thoughts? Your narration matches their description. My uncle would be furious,” Tanmay said.

“No one is getting furious. It’s not Abhishek’s fault. The police must have made a mistake and…” Abhik said.

“Instead of discussing it here. Let us first check them out and then we can be rest assured,” Vijay said.

“Okay, you are right. But not all of us are going there. Just Abhishek and I. This is what my uncle told me,” Tanmay said.