I took one last drag from my cigar and rang my receptionist and asked her to send in the first patient of the day. I walked over to the record player and put on “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik”. Mozart always had this effect of putting my patients at ease, and got them talking not long after they had settled down on the couch. I had tried Stravinsky in the past, but that did not go too well. It tended to make the patients a tad…cartoonish.

The first patient knocked on the door and I asked him to come in. He…rolled in and made himself comfortable on the couch.


I feel slothful, doctor.

Hmm. Tell me more about it. Do you feel tired? Physically?

No. Not physical at all. As a member of the Solanum Tuberosum community, we are pretty healthy. Starchy in fact. I think the problem’s in my brain.

Why do you think so?

I seem to spend all of my days sitting in front my computer monitor watching videos online.

Hmm. So you are an youtuber. A couch human.

Yes. I don’t want to die a vegetable. Well, yes, I am one, but you know what I mean.

I do. When did you start watching videos online

I wanted to use the web to learn how to be more useful to my customers, the humans

But you are rather versatile, the most popular vegetable in the world, are you not?

Yes, but I feel like a can of pepsi. Popular, yet mostly harmful. What do I get made into? French fries, laden with cholesterol. Baked potato, filled with cheese. Streetside Aloo Tikki, filled with Bacteria. Nothing uplifting. I don’t feel special.

But you provide nourishment to a very large part of the world.

But it is not enough just to fill people’s stomachs. I want them to experience joy. And that is why I was searching for recipe videos online, on creative, gourmet recipes involving me

And did you find any?

No. All the good recipes never involve me. It’s almost as if I am commonplace food, some one who does not belong on the gourmet’s table. A peasant’s calorie provider. Yes my absence has known to cause famines, yet my presence has never caused joy.

But it is your ubiquity that is special. What other vegetable can lay claim to that? Being an expensive gourmet item like asparagus is socially not very productive.

I still feel miserable.

Hm. Tell me about your relationship with your father

Oh well. My roots are in Shimla. I had a very protected childhood in a very simple family. A very down to earth existence, in fact. I want to break out of my banal existence.

Interesting. I’d like to explore your childhood a little bit more next time. Tuesday evening?

Ok doctor. In the meanwhile, do you know any gourmet potato recipes?

Oh yes. I recommend the Scarborough Curry. Potato, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.

Thank you doctor. I’ll see you on Tuesday.

I rang Helga, and asked her to send the next one in.The knock this time was soft, hesitant, indicative of a lack of self confidence. I asked the patient to come in. He rolled in with the grace of a deflated football and settled himself on the couch.


I am dark.

The colour of your skin is immaterial.

Look at the potato. He is so fair skinned. I want skin like him.

Why Mr Beet? You are a nutritious vegetable of the healthiest kind. Why do you want to turn into a fair skinned amit_123 vegetable like potato?

You will not understand doctor. There is a subliminal bias towards fair skin in this country. They get better jobs, and better spouses.

So did you try any treatments?

Of course I did. I tried steaming. It made me soft, but didn’t make any difference to my colour. My cousin tried the more dangerous Fungal treatment. He exposed himself to some spores and hoped that the white furry growth will add to his fairness. It did not. He died a horrible death as the fungus ate him from the outside.

Tragic. But it would fair (I’m sorry) to say that in nature, darker colours are generally healthier. Lighter, pastel shades are often associated with a lack of health, would it not?

All that is fine doctor. You will not understand my position. You are Caucasian. You will not feel the pain I do when I see the matrimonials in the newspaper, the ones that say – “Wanted fair, wheatish grain for pollination”. It makes me feel unwanted.

Hm. I believe that you must turn the energy of your depression into the strains of lugubrious, yet powerful music. Sing the song of your sadness and uplift the masses.

I will sing the Reddishpurples. Thank you doctor.

That wasn’t too difficult. Helga, last one for the day please.

The patient walked in, but I wasn’t too sure. Several brown lumps ambled in and assembled themselves on the couch and once they did that, a doleful face manifested itself.


Doctor, I feel like a eunuch

I cannot quite conceive…Sorry..that was “my” slip (ha ha). Why do you say so?

My pumped up “seeded” cousins call me a eunuch. They laugh at my inability to reproduce

Why should that matter? Reproduction is not such a lofty goal

But what other goal might I have in life?

Perhaps the goal of being part of the greatest milkshake in the world, the legendary “Sharjah Oman” of Trivandrum?

Oh well, perhaps, but I need something loftier

Ok. How about you being a metaphor for AIDS prevention?

Eh? How does a seedless date become a metaphor for AIDS prevention?

There! You said it. The answer’s right there. If dates are seedless, AIDS can be prevented

Oh. Like that ah. But doctor, I detect a flaw in your logic

Hm. Boole-iye (ha ha)

If less people have casual sex, there will be more AIDS.

Really? And how is that?

Consider the following two kinds of people- promiscuous, risky, potential HIV carriers and sexually conservative people who do not have much casual sex. It is safe to assume that there are more of the second kind. So it follows that if more socially conservative people have more casual sex, it reduces the chances of promiscuous, risky people passing the disease around.

Oh I see. How do you feel now?

Actually, better. Pwning your logic gives me self confidence. Thank you doctor

(To Helga ) Please make a note. No more economists or people who read economics books allowed as patients.


1. No vegetables were harmed during this experiment. Markers using vegetable dyes were used, and Mr Beet’s eyes are cotton + red toothpaste

2. The Seedless date session has references to Steve Landsburg highly enjoyable book – “More sex is safer sex”

3. The origami brontosaurus

4. The painting on the wall is by MC Escher.