Plain Vanilla Ice-Cream

That’s right! That is what you call the most successful ice-cream flavor in the world. The chocolate syrup that you add on it, is considered a delicacy but the poor ice-cream beneath it is plain vanilla. Let me stress a bit more – PLAIN vanilla ice-cream. Interesting isn’t it?

Now the question is, if it is just so plain, what makes it the most successful ice-cream flavor (according to one of the surveys, its market share stands at 29 percent where as the next best – Chocolate – could only manage 8.9)? The reason is simple. It is because vanilla, as a flavor, can be mixed and matched with the maximum number of syrups and add-ons and in doing so the taste does not deteriorate. Instead the taste of every add-on is inculcated resulting in a beautiful delicacy, which comes in small plastic cups and you eat it with even smaller plastic spoons.

On other hand, you would never call a chocolate or a blueberry as plain chocolate or plain blueberry. It has a distinct taste of its own and does not go very well with many add-ons. Now do not get me wrong. I am not saying that it is an entirely bad quality to have. But I do want to emphasize the fact, that their presence does not give us the right to undermine the importance of something as beautiful as ‘Vanilla Ice-Cream’. (Go ahead and add on a little chocolate syrup, if you want. It still remains a vanilla ice-cream!)

A little extrapolation of this thought (an observation not verified by experiments, but by experience) tells me that this thought process is not limited to the world of ice-creams alone. Think of the last time you actually thanked the guy who puts coffee powder into the vending machine that gives you your regular dose of caffeine. Forget thanking, have you even noticed him? And there are countless others like the person who sweep the streets of your locality, the guy who bills you in the grocery marts, the person who serves food in a restaurant and the uniformed watchman who guards your house. The list is huge. In their own little way, they have been contributing to the life that you live everyday and much like the vanilla ice-cream lost under the chocolate syrup, they fail to get even the faintest smile of approval from you for the presence they have in your life. It is strange how often I see people complain that their managers do not give them enough credit for the work that they do, Fair enough. You deserve it. But so does the guy who wakes up at 4 o’clock everyday to ensure that you get your share of the latest news at your breakfast table.

Imagine waking up one day to none of them. Imagine waking up to a world without vanilla ice-cream.

However, we do notice Hina Rabbani Khar, with more attention being paid to her Birkin handbags and Cavalli sunglasses than the agenda she brings to the table. She came as an ambassador from a country with which we have multiple long-standing issues and all that we noticed is her white salwar and matching pearl set. The only good part being, that people finally had something good about Pakistan to post on their Facebook pages. (I remember the posts that came after the innumerable cricket matches and the now-frequent bomb blasts and I was always grieved by the fact that people thought everyone in Pakistan is an idiot or a terrorist (not that there is much difference between the two!) and their moms and sisters were by birth objects for abuse). It finally took a beautiful foreign minister to set things right. And yet we tell our kids – beauty is only skin deep.

I do not know how successful Hina Rabbani Khar’s diplomatic visit to India was but I am sure she has a very good prospect in Bollywood. (Yes, she is 34 but you can always fit her in a ‘Bhabi’ role. Consult Ram Gopal Verma for more details on this one.)

So the next time you go to the ice cream parlor, smile at the guy who scoops your ice cream and ask for a Vanilla Ice-Cream. Drop the ‘Plain’. (And give Hina Rabbani Khar a break. She is a foreign minister and deals with things that both you and me do not understand. Let her do her job. The girl next door also has a beautiful pearl set. Sad, you never noticed!)

Shreetam Subhrankar

A graduate from NIT Nagpur in Computer Science and Engineering, his interests lie in Creative Writing and Story Telling. He is an Engineer by education, an Application Developer by profession and a Storyteller by passion.