Of the Darwin awards and their winners!

A friend sent me a forward this morning listing the Darwin award winners for this year – a list of those whom evolution seems to have left behind… and the winners fall somewhere between a Galapagos turtle and a dodo on the ‘survival instinct’ scale. I hasten to add that no insult is intended to the dodo at all – after all, it existed for millions of years before man set foot on Mauritius! And no dodo could have known that it was being viewed as food by these ‘other’ interesting flightless two-legged birds!

The Darwin award winners, on the contrary, have lived and walked among their own kind all their lives – my vote for intelligence goes to the dodo!

Am not going to give you the whole list here but I cannot resist the winner! Here goes:


Zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt (Paderborn , Germany ) fed his constipated elephant 22 doses of animal laxative and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes before the plugged-up pachyderm finally got relief.

Investigators say ill-fated Friedrich, 46, was attempting to give the ailing elephant an olive oil enema when the relieved beast unloaded.

The sheer force of the elephant’s unexpected defecation knocked Mr Riesfeldt to the ground where he struck his head on a rock as the elephant continued to evacuate 200 pounds of dung on top of him. It seems to be just one of those freak accidents that proves… ‘*Shit happens*’

* *RIP Mr Riesfeldt **

I got to wondering how come all these awards are given to people only in the US of A – surely the US does not have a monopoly on sub-dodos? And I’m sure enough of them walk the other countries on earth! But then, only the US probably has enough money to do research and dig out these facts! Inviting all my readers here to please send me in your own stories of experiences with the… Darwinians!

Will start with sharing my own… once upon a time, some forty years ago – when I was about ten years old, my parents had a family over to dinner – a rather common occurrence, so why do I remember this family in particular? First they had a little girl – about my age and sharing my own name – except she pronounced it “Onuradha” – my first meeting with someone from the eastern part of India. I had trouble initially figuring out what she was saying – am sure she had equal trouble with understanding my South Indian accent too. So, before dinner, everyone was sitting around in the garden, the older people having a drink – beautiful Hyderabadi winter evening when you felt glad to be alive! The cook brings out several plates of onion pakodas as appetisers. Hot pakodas – steam curling up above the plates…. yum… my new friend grabs a few, goes “Owww…” with the super-hot, fresh from the stove temperature. We all have little plates into which we drop ours waiting for them to cool off. Not Onuradha. She grabs hers, goes over to the garden tap, opens it and proceeds to douse her pakodas in cold water! We’d never seen this before and I am glad to say, never since! And then pops the now-gooey mass of besan and onion into her mouth!

Her parents turn red… we turn to our parents for a cue… obviously dying to laugh… but the famed Hyderabadi tehzeeb (culture), not to mention glares from both parents – effectively zips our mouths… till later in the evening when the guests have gone…

Even my parents permit themselves the ghost of a smile!

Reproducing those pakodas today:


  • Large onions – 2  – sliced very fine
  • Besan/gram flour – 1.5 cups
  • Rice flour – 2 tbsp
  • Greeen chilies  minced – 2
  • Ajwain/caraway seeds/omam – 1 tsp – crushed
  • Curry leaves – 3 sprigs – chopped
  • Ginger – 1/2 ” piece – grated
  • Saunf/aniseed – 1/4 tsp – crushed (optional)
  • Salt
  • Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Chat masala – 1/4 tsp
  • Melted ghee – 1 tsp
  • Oil for deep frying

Mix all the ingredients except the oil. Do not add any water at this stage. Let the onions rest in the batter for about 15 minutes – they will sweat a bit. Mix again and add a little more water if necessary to hold the onions together. Pinch off small lumps and deep fry on medium heat till crisp and golden brown.

Serve hot with ketchup or tamarind sauce.

DO NOT douse in water unless you’re a contender for the Darwins!