A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

La Tomatina in India?

Posted by Pepper on August 11, 2011

Did you know Delhi is hosting a Tomatina festival?  For those of you who haven’t watched ZNMD and are too lazy to read the link; let me give you a quick review. The Tomatina festival is all about squashing and squeezing ripe tomatoes and playfully throwing them at each other, all in the name of fun. In other words, it’s a new kind of holi played with tomatoes. This festival is big in Spain. It was showcased in the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, thus giving rise to a new age fad.

At first when I heard of this, I was outraged. One movie is all it takes for us to replicate these trends? Can our country afford something like that? Tomatoes are pricey. People are dying due to hunger. How can people act so irresponsibly and waste so many tons of food?

I then realised that a lot of other people were thinking on similar lines. The festival was postponed. And now, a lot of people are trying their best to stop this festival from happening. When I discussed this with Mint, he made me look at this issue with a different perspective. Although I do not believe it is right to waste resources, especially food, do we have the right to stop people from doing what they want? For those who wish to participate and are willing to pay for it, do we have any right to play moral police and prevent them from doing what is perfectly legal?

Aren’t we all guilty of our own excesses? We misuse our purchasing power in every possible way. We take long showers during summer and waste gallons of water, when that water could have quenched the thirst of a poor man in a remote village. We go for long drives for the sake of pleasure, and use fuel that could have been used to light or heat a poor family’s home. In most offices, the computers are never turned off. They use obscene amounts of electricity while an entire village lives in the dark and another section of the society faces daily power cuts. We buy ourselves those expensive shoes, we dine in elite continental joints and live the way we want to. In some way or the other, every single one of us has contributed to the inflating prices and the uneven distribution of resources. We do it because we believe it is ‘our own money’ and that gives us all the right to do what we want to with it. So how are all these acts of ours forgivable? And if you do forgive yourself for all this, then what right do you have to point fingers at others who are wanting to pay for the tomatoes they purchase and engage in an activity that they think is fun.

Some might think what they do is more forgivable because none of their actions are directly resulting in wastage of food. Perhaps they should rethink. Take an Indian wedding for example and the massive amount of wastage that comes with it. We have 300 people on our guest list on average, and even that is a conservative estimate. We have 20 items on the menu. Most guests peck in and then leave their plates full of uneaten food for disposal. For the poor, your wedding celebrations are excessive. Just like the Tomatina fest seems excessive to us. Does this mean the poor have the right to march in and stop you from celebrating the way you want?

Other than that,  we all want to buy only fresh fruits and vegetables, forcing retailers to discard the old stock, thereby not only resulting in mass wastage, but also resulting in the increase in price of the existing stock. Doesn’t that count as wastage? Doesn’t it impact the economical environment?

People are forming groups to put joint pressure on the authorities to stop this event. And I find that very unfair and hypocritical on our parts. An article I read said a Facebook user, Kaushik Basu went to the extent of saying, “We are seeking punitive action against the irresponsible organizers of this event.”. How self righteous is that? How easy is it to forgive your own self and call others irresponsible? And how do you define irresponsible? Where do we draw the line and say this action of ours is acceptable and this one is not? Because every choice we make, even a simple one like browsing the internet, is denying the poor of  basic amenities and adversely affecting the lesser privileged section of our society in some way. So yes, considering how guilty we are of our own excesses, I don’t think we have a right to stop others from doing what they want just because this time, our values tell us it is wrong.

Irrespective of that, even if we believe we are not guilty of any excesses ourselves, I still think we have no right to stop others from participating. If we do, then we are no different from the Shiv Sena we abhor. Because we are doing the same, i.e. moral policing the crowd and stopping events because they do not confirm with our values and principles. We need to keep in mind that we live in a free society. And a free society is rarely ever perfect.

Just to make myself clear, I am not justifying this fest. I think it is ridiculous to waste food and call it fun. But I am justifying their right to hold it. What are your views on the La Tomatina fest happening in India? Do you believe you have a right to stop people from participating?


69 Responses to “La Tomatina in India?”

  1. THis is just like the time one of my friends put this up on his status msg: “A friend at work said she took only that much food that she thought would eat justifying it with – why waste? there are people dying of hunger somewhere – and I asked her how her not wasting food was filling the stomach of the beggar on the road”

    I find it hard to explain things that are known to the heart and not to the mind.

    • Pepper said

      Right .. that too. I think it is criminal to waste food. But then like Mint points out, that food was bought with our money. It helped the economy in some way. So just because it was uneaten does not mean it was fully wasted. It’s too complex a process and such direct connections do not always make sense.

  2. Pixie said

    somehow mass gatherings and festivites creep me out!
    its a place that’s not safe – so I stay away and I don’t like them in any way

    but, I agree with what you are saying…

  3. Deboshree said

    I am no tomato freak and thought that event featured in the promos of ZNMD seemed too red and too gross. But it is deemed a lot of fun. If people want to hold such a fest here, I don’t think we have any right to stop them. For the ones citing the wastage as an issue, I am sure there will be people who will be willing to play with the inedible stock as well. 😀 Anyway, there are more avenues that demand much more attention when it comes to wastage.

    • Pepper said

      Yes, if people want to make this sustainable, they should collect all the old, unsold stock, pay for it and use it to play. Because that stock would have gone waste either ways, but now at least that waste is paid for.

  4. R's Mom said

    I totally agree to you that it would be hypocrticial on our part to stop the La Tomatina Fest in Delhi, with all the wastage that we do (so totally agree to that point of yours!), but may be we could bring to the notice of the organizers about the wastage involved in such kind of a fest being celebrated in a country like India where tomatoes are the basis of every gravy and tomatoes dont really grown in excess, and then ask them to take a call on whether to go ahead with the celebration or not..or perhaps suggest that for every tomato squashed, they will give one tomato to a needy or something…(okie that is a weird suggestion!) I dont know Pepper..one thing, I wouldnt protest to such a fest because to each his own..but the other part of me does feel that why should one do such a fest in India when there are millions dying to eat a tomato..

    I still stand confused 🙂

    • Pepper said

      Yes.. I agree with you when you say we can do our bit by spreading awareness. But we also need to keep in mind that it isn’t all black and white. There are shades of grey involved too. Most people seem to forget to take the logistics into account. There are so many tomatoes that the farmers themselves deem as unsellable, others rot in warehouses, some get squashed during transportation. All this wastage results in huge loses that occur regularly. Instead, if we go about collecting all this stock, we might actually be *reducing* the wastage that would normally occur. If we pay for this stock, then we are in a way helping the poor. I may or may not be right, but all I am saying is that we need to keep the whole dynamics in mind and stop making these direct connections by saying people are dying due to hunger and so we should not waste tomatoes by having a fest like this.

  5. ashreya said

    i dont know if i have right to stop it ir not.. but this reminds me of another event which is being conducted in hyderabad, where instead of tamato ppl use pepsi. it cost you around one lakh per person for entry. i was schocked when i heard it. but smiliar to Mint even one my friends replied me by asking a simple question,”didnt you enjoy rain dace in one of theme parks we visited last month?”. hence i understood that its not wrong if you are ready to pay for it. when i am wasting water in name of rain dance, ppl can waste a soft drink or tamato..

    • Pepper said

      1 lakh per entry? Wow. But yes, we are all wasting. We are all wrong. We can’t say our actions are less sinful than theirs. This is all subjective opinion. It would make more sense if we tried to stop as much of wrongdoing as we can on our parts instead of imposing our new found morals on others.

  6. scorpria said

    Bah! I don’t like Mint anymore 😛 He made perfect sense — and I soooo don’t want to agree with that. 😦
    For someone who doesn’t even like people smearing cake all over others on birthdays (yea, i consider that waste of food too!), I can’t even imagine kilos of tomato being splurged this way.

    Yes, am guilty of taking those looong showers too 😀

    But yea, I was just furious — I never for a moment thought that it should be stopped, coz the first thing that came to mind was that it’s THEIR right, and we’re all guilty of excesses and meaningless splurging too.

    • Pepper said

      Of course smearing cake all over others on birthdays is wastage! Why wouldn’t you consider that? I get mad at people who do that too. But don’t they believe they have all right to do it?
      And think about this, if there are 1000 people playing Tomatina, and there are 2000 kgs of tomatoes used (just random examples), then each person has bought that 2 kg of tomatoes that he/she will use with their own money. How many such 2 kg cakes are being smashed due to birthdays everyday? That wastage is A LOT more and it occurs everyday!
      I was furious when I heard about this fest too. I even said that in my post. But when we think about it, we’ll realise the number of factors that we need to take into account before deciding how right or wrong it is.
      Either ways, wastage of any sort is bad. Be it wasted cakes during birthdays, wasted water during showers, or wasted tomatoes during La Tomatina, but we can’t go about stopping one type of wastage and letting the other go on – based on our morals.

  7. chandnini said

    Well….its a matter of perspective. Like in my Masters days, we had a rain fest where the juniors performed for the seniors and we danced in the rain. Now, if on the designated day it wouldn’t rain, we used hose pipes. A lot of people protested, saying lets not waste water. They said either wait till it rains or don’t do it all. We did go with the former and sat all ready and prepared with our dances, and the morning it started raining, a hurried announcement was made and party we did!

    I am not sure how I feel about this tomatina thing…if its just a fad like Halloween parties in India and to ape something that looks appealing, everyone has all the right. But we anyway lack the context to appreciate throwing tomatoes at each other, so I couldn’t care less. I wouldn’t be interested in going to one (hell i find holi hard enough to live with, without wanting random strangers throwing tomatos at me 😉 ) and I am going to sit on the fence. But yes, I would think its such a waste, in a country like ours.

    • Pepper said

      Sitting on the fence is actually a good idea. And yes, its all a matter of perspective. 🙂 This festival does seem like a waste, but I am not entirely sure. Until I know the exact figures of everything (production, consumption, usual wastage, intermediates involved, etc) and know all other related factors, I won’t speak.

  8. Ashwathy said

    I agree with all the arguments you’ve said. Money really depends on theory of relativity. There is this video on youtube where people from various walks of life are used what they would do if they were given Rs. 500 for free. The answers give shocking differences and a bite of reality….. the upper middle class replies that they would splurge of a movie outing, dinner etc. The lower class or poor people say that they would pay their children’s fees, buy new clothes for the festival, buy grocery etc. It’s truly heart rending.
    Point being, who draws the line at what is expenditure vs what is lavishness (except at a very broad level)?

    Having said that, I am strictly against the Tomatino festival in India. It’s like adding insult to injury to a country so many people are below the poverty line.

    • Pepper said

      Totally agree about relativity. Where do you really draw the line?

      Regarding the Tomatina festival, it may seem wasteful and it probably is, but I will not speak with certainty until I have all my facts right.

  9. NityaNitya said

    Hmm. I thought about this Pepper.

    Well I am not in favor of this happening at all. Yes, those protests and remarks may seem self righteous and hypocritical. But my thinking is that as an individual, I am trying to be as responsible and as aware of what how I am wasting resources around me. Am I succesful in always stopping it? No, but the point is that I am aware and I am trying. The same could be true for this group of people trying to stop this festival, right?

    We agree that it is a waste on resources..all of our resources..then why allow somehting unfair and unjust to happen just because we, as individuals might be guilty of doing the same thing at a smaller level? That thinking can mean that anyone can do anything and none of us can protest because what we do could be judged in a similar way by another person.


    • Pepper said

      When you try to be responsible and aware of how you are wasting resources, you are imposing your standards only on yourself, not on others. But that’s not true for the people wanting to stop this event. Anyone *should* be able to do anything they want in a free society (as long as it is legal of course). We can voice our differences in opinion, but we cannot stop them and take away their freedom.

      Here is what I think. Between you and I, we may agree that it is a waste of resources. But a participant may not think that if he/she buys and uses a few extra kgs of tomatoes once in a year, it is a wastage. Just like we may not know about so many ways in which we are wasting resources even while being responsible. A poor person, a maid for example, may think that is unfair/unjust and point that out to you. You may or may not be able to pay heed to that advice for the sake of convenience or lifestyle. Similarly, we can point out to the participants and make them aware, but if they don’t heed to the advice, as I said, we have no right to stop them.

      So yes, in response to your last line. I do think that anyone can do anything and none of us can stop them, NOT because we could be judged in a similar way by another person, but just because it is a free society. If we give the power to a group of people who use their own opinions and morals to stop others, then just think about what all actions of ours can be stopped. 🙂

      • Nitya said

        Put that way, I agree. I think SAB said it perfectly. Sure I may not agree with the whole thing, might not go for it for a number of reasons. But in a free country, do I have the right to stop them? Absolutely not. Something like the Delhi Belly thing, no? A group of people found it offensive, a group didn’t. And then there was a third that didn’t wNt anyone watching it. I was furious about that. What right do they have to stop anyone from watching it? Shouldn’t it be unto me as an individual in a free, democratic country? So yes, I get what you mean 🙂

  10. seema3 said

    Hi Pepper,
    Good post. Me too thinks wastage of food is ridiculous but if those people want to njoy out of it, then I wont stop them because like you said , there are so many other things that we do not consider. ppl give tons and tons of money to temples wherein they can give 1 meal to the poor.
    I have seen ppl printing tons and tons of pages and when I question them , they say –well just 1 tree.
    There are so many ways in which we can save resources but we ourselves do not, so i don’t think we can stop others.

    • Pepper said

      Don’t even get me started about the printing. I get so mad!
      There are two points here – 1) We shouldn’t stop others from doing what they want because we do terrible things ourselves 2) We can’t stop people from doing what they want as long as they are within legal limits.

  11. Uma said

    I completely agree with your point of view – that we do a lot of things that can be held against us morally. Just because we may do it discreetly and maybe as a way the rest of the society functions (esp the weddings), we think that we are absolved of the wrong doing. Freedom comes with the enormous sense of responsibility towards society. A free society needs to be more responsible than anyone else. Sadly this is a forgotten lesson.

    • Pepper said

      Yes. None of us can really be called ‘responsible’. It is a subjective term. We do worse things than wasting tomatoes, just that they are done behind closed doors.

  12. Q: “Define right and wrong”
    A : Right is what I do. Wrong is what I don’t do.

    If there’s one question for which you’ll get a unanimous answer, it will be this.

    Some more examples:
    1) The level of indulgence in my family is love and expression there of. Anything beyond : “rich, spoilt”.

    2) Corruption is : (not my bribing my way through a new gas connection). Corruption is what politicians, police officers, bureaucrats, businessmen do.

    3) Right way to bringing up kids : the way I do. If I’m a SAHM, that’s right. If I’m a working mom that’s the right way. The emphasis is not on how. The emphasis is on who. If it’s me, what I’m doing must be right.

    A somewhat related, very well written post here : http://darkandcomic.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/on-new-age-fundamentalism/

    PS : I think it might be a bit icky to have tomatoes squashed on me. So no participation from me 😉

    • Pepper said

      You nailed it SAB, That’s how people definite right and wrong.
      I would certainly not want to participate in the fest and encourage the players by giving them a big turnout.

  13. Yes I agree with you completely, we should also remember the festivals we have in India like Diwali,Holi etc involves lot of money being spent on stuff which is not been used wisely, but we do it , its tough to say what is right or wrong.

  14. neha said

    These things are very complicated I feel.. If the protesters use force to stop the tomatina thingy, then I feel it is wrong… but I guess the pro-tomatina people have one point of view, and the anti-tomatina people have one point of view.. As long as they are not using violence, I feel both parties are entitled to their opinions. As far as my stance in this is concerned: The reason I try and live a frugal and minimalistic lifestyle (this is in comparison to most people I know) is because I feel that is the right thing to do. I try not to waste food, even though I have bought it..why? Because I think thats the right thing to do… I dont know if this helps (indirectly) anyone… but I do it nevertheless, because it keeps my conscience calm. So I might not participate in tomatina thingy, because it again boils down to not wasting something at whatever instant possible… but then I have no issue if people think they will have fun aping a spanish festival… Afterall, we all do whatever keeps us happy. I guess one cannot brand something as right and wrong.. Things are right and wrong for a particular individual…and its always better not to make generic statements based on your point of view. (The reason I said all this was complicated because I just made a generic statement based on my pov!) .. I hope my comment does not seem garbled!!

  15. Tanishka said

    We all are guilty and so we can’t point fingers at them or stop them but we can do our bit by not participating in such a thing….

  16. TPL said

    I am not aware of the background of this festival in Spain (is tomatoes grown in excess there?), but in a country like India it does seem almost cruel to waste food when millions around are deprived of the same.
    Instead, why not twist the idea slightly and play the same with something non-edible.. like may be clay?

    Set up a wet clay mosh pit and let ppl frolic around. And whoever is playing, can also stay to clean up after 🙂

    • Pepper said

      I am not aware of the background of this festival in Spain either. Which is why I think it is really stupid to just ape the fest without much context,
      We should twist the ideas, you’re right :). But I think everything would amount to big wastage. Water itself is such a scarce resource.And unlike tomatoes, water is critical to survival. So probably something that doesn’t involve water. Clay sounds good, as long as it doesn’t use a lot of water. But then who decided how much is ‘a lot’.. I am so confused 🙂

  17. ajay said

    Very well said and sound, well articulated arguments there. Like Mint says, there’s nothing wrong in it from an economic perspective. The main contention is of a moral obligation on the part of the consumer and like you pointed out, we ourselves are guilty of such wastage of resources but how often do we question ourselves and do our bit. Everyone defines the line of right and wring from his own standards and uses it judge the whole world. If people fulfilled their moral obligation, the world wouldn’t be so uneven and lopsided in terms of wealth and comfort of life. If Mukesh Ambani can build Antilia, people should be allowed to hold La Tomatina . I don’t see any difference between the two and wonder why those same people didn’t protest against Antilia.

    • Pepper said

      Oh yes, apparently people believe Mukesh Ambani has all right to build Antilia 😐 , but other’s don’t have the right to buy a few extra kgs of tomatoes in a year. 😐

  18. That was my first reaction when I heard of the La Tomatina in Spain – so much of wastage! Good food that can be used for feeding poor people is just wasted like that! I had the same feelings when I saw the tomato festival scenes in Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.

    However, later, when I thought about it, I realised that I felt exactly what Mint explained to you. Principally, it might not seem right to me, but I have no right to object to people holding the festival, or stopping people from participating in it. It is something similar to someone stopping me when I am enjoying one of my mall visits or soaking in a luxurious bath.

    • Pepper said

      I think we can object, by that I mean, we can voice our disapproval. But I don’t think any of us have the right to stop them .. So yeah, you’re right..

  19. Jack Point said

    I am with you on the Tomatina festival. It would be an absolute waste.

    Consumption is fine, but conspicuous consumption is always in poor taste. From what I have heard of Indian wedding, they are really over the top, but at least they have some weight of tradition behind them.

    Conspicuous consumption that is as absolutely wasteful as this should is ‘not on’.

    • Pepper said

      Actually we are not on the same page in that case. I don’t know how it is okay to waste resources in the name of tradition. Indians, follow so many mindless traditions. Traditions that no longer make any sense in the current age. And even ‘tradition’ when it began, was the introduction of a new concept at that time. So after 20 years, even the Tomatina might become tradition. Does it become acceptable then?

      And ‘wasteful’ is a very subjective term 🙂

  20. sheelraghav said

    Everyone has the right to edxucate people about wastage , but NO one has the right to stop someone from throwing a kilo of tomatoes onthier friend 🙂

  21. Bikram said

    true what you say, each coin has two sides .. Each to there own i guess .. But yeah it would be a shame to see so much waste.

    But then we as humans are always selfish when it comes to our happiness we do seem to forget the bigger picture as individuals also , I am sure we all have wasted food now and then .. done things for our individual benefit rather then the world or fellow human beings…

    People are funny especially the so called do gooders I beleive that Its ok to throw Stones at a person but the may the first stone be thrown by the one who has never done anything wrong .. Most of the people who make all this hoo la la la and cry hoarse themselves do most damage …

  22. Hey.. thinking ova the fact is good wasting food is absolutely absurd, However the fact about this Fest is the Food (Tomatoes) used for the event is not edible which means not fit for human consumption and also at the same time which is not ROTTEN as well. Instead fighting over the fact of stopping these types of Fest try and speak against the Politicians and Saving of Food in terms Storage that would facilitate us not to speak on the hereby against ourselves.
    Hence please do not be worried about the daily usage of things for Electricity, Wedding food and fuel.
    After a good rain : http://www.imd.gov.in/section/nhac/dynamic/week.htm still we face a LOAD SHADING factor, We have started using Boufet to reduce food wastage, and in terms of FUEL being so expensive (which is not meant to be) we pay for pleasure right, however the the actual rate max should be 53: http://asiancorrespondent.com/36913/what-is-the-real-cost-of-petrol-in-india/ stills counts as approx 68.53 rs.
    So should we fight on such mere things or should be bold to speak up and write Blogs against such CRIME in CORRUPTED India.
    Mera Bharat Mahaan —- Kab Banega?

    • Pepper said

      I am little confused by your comment. If you’re saying that we need to raise our voice against crime and corruption in India, then I am with you 🙂

  23. Akshey said

    Hey guys,

    I have started a petition to protest against this with a plan to involve the CM or the Mayor to officially ban this event and such wastage of food in Karnataka.

    Please show your support: https://www.change.org/petitions/karnataka-chief-minister-ban-la-tomatina-festival-in-karnataka

    Let me know if you guys have any questions.



    • Pepper said

      Hey Akshey. Quite obvious that you didn’t read the post, or you wouldn’t have posted this here. I am sorry, I am not going to support a forced ban 🙂

  24. hari said

    So next time some movie ll show rice festival and we can imitate here, rit?
    Maybe they have right to Enjoy and have fun wit fud or Watever, So is our right to protest against, and we can make government think about need for such festivals.

    • Pepper said

      Imitating things like that because they were shown in a movie is stupid. We’ve already established that.
      And yes, that’s exactly what I am saying. They have a right to enjoy it if they want to, and you have a right to protest against it. As long as no forceful means are used.
      But then, this is just my opinion. You are free to disagree..

  25. Vikram D said

    Dont you think that, just like the way somebody is free to propose an idea and go ahead with it, others are “free” to go against it and express dissent openly. Isnt that the idea of a free society. Dont you think that the very concept of hypocrisy has clouded your mind and numbed your resolve ! You are free in doing and saying whatever it is that you want to. You understand this for sure, coz you have a very nice blog running. Most things in the real world are hypocritic. Humans love hypocrisy but also love to believe that they arent hypocrites and take great pride in it too. So dont fool yourself in thinking that you are in utopia and that your initial thoughts were hypocritical and that you should curb your initial gut instinct to disagree with the stupid festival because it tries to go against the concept of a free society! Let your mind break free from the shackles of ideology and take pride in expressing your gut instincts freely in this free world.

    PS: I hate the fact that some bunch of ninnies went on to recreate an event just coz it was in a movie. How unoriginal, lame and fed-up-of-life can one really get !

    • Pepper said

      You missed my point Vikram. I do believe others are free to go against it and express dissent openly. When did I say others don’t have a right to express their disapproval? I do believe they all have a right to do so. Just like I believe those who want to participate in the fest should be able to do so freely. I am only against the use of force in such cases. Nobody should forcefully stop them from playing and nobody should forcefully stop you from protesting. By force, I mean using threats, blackmail and violence as a tool.

      I totally agree with your PS. It is indeed moronic to recreate an event like that just ‘cos it was shown in a movie.

      • Vikram D said

        Ah ! Sorry, if I sounded very judgmental.True,using force to get around democracy and getting things done is pretty uncivilized and detrimental to the society. Hope people are forceful in their speech and not their actions. But then again, I guess, being human, I would definitely have a smirk on my face if the event is stopped, either way ! Sorry ! I just wish the imbeciles who are driven by testosterone and adrenalin realize their stupidity and banality of their actions.
        Do keep writing more ! Cheers…

        • Pepper said

          Yes, I am strongly against using force in such cases only because our morals tell us what they are doing is wrong. I think I feel so strongly about this is because I’ve seen the Shiv Sena in Mumbai forcefully stopping the Valentines Day celebrations because they insisted it is against “Our culture”. It gets me so mad even when I think about it. The political party members stormed in, destroyed property, created havoc and forced all of us to go home, or told us we would be arrested.

          So I really think even if we oppose somebody else’s actions, we can’t stop them from going ahead with them unless what they are doing is illegal. We can voice our protests, create awareness and do everything else in our power to make them realise the impact of their actions. I don’t believe in threatening, blackmailing or getting violent to get our way. Maybe a lot of people will disagree, but this is just me.

  26. Aakhil said

    Loved ur article , i Think u gave an excellent and unbiased opinion, though its a mindless and senseless act , who are we to to stop anyone from doing what they want . How many times have we indulged in acts which would be considered mindless and senseless to others.

    all this said , just feel kinda grossed out that us indians couldnt have thought of something better, we still live in the days where we think that we need to keep up with the acts of the the so called westerners to make oursleves feel ” cool ” , what we dont realize is we have a much stronger economy than spain and a lot of other european countries. GUYS !!!!!!!!! you should have thought of something innovative rather than jus copy the spaniards. thats what grosses me out the most :p

  27. Vinit said

    When I first read about this fest in India and I was like what the heck? Why? Movies shows up exaggerated stills/scenes, they show girls (white girls…hell I don’t know why all people want white girls) completely covered in tomato slurry, wearing little cloths, their different gender friends touching them almost everywhere etc etc. I believe this is prime reason for arranging this festival. As Aakhil mentioned earlier why to copy? We have 1000 of ways to celebrate in India, be it in any religion/cast. So enjoy these festivals/rituals/occasions, we have Holi which is more colorful. I agree lot of water is wasted, but hey you can just use dry colors as well and avoid water wastage.

    Not moral policing but atleast in India food is considered God like and hence throwing away food is out of question. I finish all food in my plate though I like it or not as I believe that I am lucky to have food today, as millions of people don’t get food for days. Yeah if I spill food or waste it any how, a street begger may not get it but hey if I am eating at mess and there is only few pieces left and I took only as much as I need, some other member of mess could have that last piece, so my habit provided food for one person 🙂

    So we have money that does not earn us license to do anything. “People paying money to buy tomatoes and throwing them” On that point I’d say if I have ransom money whats bad in giving out bribe and get my work done?

    Ok forget all this my simple point is Hey what use of it? Whats story behind having this festival in Spain? Do we have same story here and therefor we should celebrate it too? What will be achieved by throwing ripe tomatoes on each other and generating lot and lot of wastage, some will claim its bio-degradable but hey still its waste. Ok we produce more tomatoes for fest, so u used more water, more soil, more natural resources and you simple put that in waste, so my friend ultimately we have wasted these natural resources. If organizers ensures that tomatoes used in festival were 100% non-consumable by humans/cows? then its fine, atleast wastage will get utilized, but tell me who will pay money to get him/herself drenched in juices of rotten tomatoes? If you ask these people that purchase 2kg tomatoes and donate then I bet no one will do that.

    There is no excuse for purposeful waste, one can control his/her waste, yeah I agree one can’t avoid waste but he/she can certainly reduce it. Not for other people but as a responsible person. So as a responsible person I don’t support such festival and will never take part in it. And I would certainly try my best to tell aspiring participants to be responsible person not a copy cat.

    • Pepper said

      I appreciate the fact that you ensured you take only how much you need so that it would benefit somebody else in the mess. 🙂
      I wasn’t talking about a scenario where we produce more tomatoes especially for the fest. Just talking bout using the existing tomatoes that go waste anyway. I don’t see why anybody would have a problem with using over ripe tomatoes that can’t be sold. Over ripe tomatoes needn’t necessarily be rotten.
      Yes, we can’t avoid waste but we can do our bit by reducing it. You needn’t support this fest. I don’t either. Like you said, we can do our best by talking to aspiring participants.

  28. dr.hameed khan said

    very nice write- up…kudos to that. my blood was literally boiling when i heard that we were having a la tomatina festival in india! but yes, we are all guilty of excesses and indulgences. but if only the right can stand up for the right, it think we, as a species are pretty much doomed. it’s funny are pretty weird as well as to how we can allude to our ‘wrongs/sins/ignorances’ to justify another person’s right to his ‘pleasure/indulgence’…we should not be a guilt smeared society.

    if we firmly believe something is wrong, we need to act. again we are not berating the doer…we are berating the act. and this particular festival cannot be compared to lavish weddings, long drives or never-ending showers (all of which are almost as dismal) because the very intention of this festival is the frivolous pleasure derived out of the act of wasting food. there can be no pleasure here without wastage. and that kind of pleasure according to me is wrong.

    yes, i waste food, water and clothing a lot…but that’s because of my ignorance…not because of my want to waste. whatever said, every level headed person should stop this gargantuan wastage.

    • Pepper said

      But then, what ignorance are you talking about here? For example, when you are taking a long shower, you are wasting gallons of water, and you know that! You are aware of it. You still want to do it for the sake of pleasure. I don’t know why you think that is more forgivable. I think the resultant wastage is what matters ultimately.

      Either ways, I am not saying we should not stop them because we are guilty ourselves 🙂 I am just saying we shouldn’t use force to stop the event. Anything else seems okay to me.

  29. Paul said

    I have seen a recent report in some television channel about the dilemma the tomato farmers in Tamil Nadu are facing. This year, their production was excess than they anticipated. So, the basics of economics apply here. Excess supply without an increase in demand! And the result? Prices of tomatoes goes down drastically. If the farmers harvest their crops, they will be at a loss paying their labor as the price/kg has come down so low. This may not have reflected much in the market price as the middle men are buying only what they want and making their clean profits which are manifold than what a farmer is making without the risk what a farmer is facing. If the government can step in and export it to other nations, fair enough. But to find a sudden overseas market for a perishable food without guaranteeing a consistent supply, it is not going to work out easily.

    The author had already mentioned other aspects of the situation. Though I don’t personally agree to making such a festival an annual festival, I can agree with the brains who might have spotted the opportunity especially in the light of such a festival featuring in ZNMD. Eating tomatoes alone will not solve the hunger problem of any nation!

    • Pepper said

      That is some good analysis. It’s what I’ve been saying too. Until we know the economical framework and other facts, we can’t decide how good or bad the impact of this fest will be.

  30. Paul said

    Hope the same organizers later conduct a La Rotten Egg Festival too…

  31. I think the government’s intervention in this matter is not because of it’s concern for the poor prople or wastage of tomatoes as guised in it’s humanitarian attitude. Rather it is the fear and anxiety of the ‘nation’ here. La Tomatina is Spain’s festival. It isn’t Indian enough. What about Holi? that is legitimized even with the wastage of water(excessive) and ecological damage is atrocious. The Ganesh Visarjan and Durga visarjan, atrocious. The capitalist system plundering the earth and it’s resources, pathetic. Of course, I am not endorsing the tomatina fest either.

  32. Kartikay said

    I guess I’ve jumped in late to this conversation but I really agree with what you’ve said. Frankly speaking, the reasons being thrown around were quite obnoxious! The same logic has been used to stamp late night partying, etc.

    Do you think moral policing is “inbuilt” into the human brain?

  33. I thought I had a pretty firm opinion on this, but your post really made me think. And yeah, I guess its hypocritical to prevent people from spending their money on what we consider wastage when we waste so many resources ourselves.

    But its just that.. when you work in an office with the AC, lights and computers on all the time it doesn’t really hit you as wastage. But when you see a bunch of people throwing tomatoes at each other, and at the same time see starving children at each traffic signal, it seems to make a much bigger impact. 😦

    Wastage of resources aside, I also have a real issue with the fact that we seem to be ripping off ideas from the West all the time! Why not be proud of our own culture? We watch one movie and we’re convinced that its an awesomely fun thing to to.. We already have one fun festival of ‘let’s throw colours at each other’… we don’t really need one that says ‘let’s throw tomatoes at each other’.. 🙂

  34. LeAnn Rebeiro said

    Hey Guys! How about playing an online version of the festival? Check out the following link. http://bit.ly/THLaTo

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