The onion field is a book by Joseph Wambaugh, a sergeant for the Los Angeles Police Department,published in 1974.It is about the kidnapping of two plainclothes LAPD officers,Campbell and Hettinger, by a pair of criminals,pulled over for a routine traffic violation. The two officers were forced into the car,driven to an onion field,where Campbell was fatally shot. Hettinger was able to escape, but later became scorned by his fellow officers, fired from the force, and eventually a police training video was made using his experience as example of what not to do when stopping and approaching a vehicle. Hettinger suffered severe emotional trauma as a result and people who knew him said he was never the same afterwards. He was forced to resign from the LAPD after committing some acts of petty shoplifting and developing a drinking problem. Later in life, Hettinger was appointed to serve as a county supervisor; he died of a liver disease in 1994.Later, the book was made into a movie in 1979.
The children and I stumbled across an onion field, just a little away from from our home.The excitement on their faces was palpable.
“Mama, look.There are onions growing here” said my son
“Wow.Do they really grow under the ground?” asked my daughter.
“Its so cool Mama,let me click a picture” said my son, the budding photographer with the discerning eye.
This is what he clicked.
He was pleased. I was too.
City living sometimes makes you forget that an onion field can be more than a movie.You can actually walk through one,and enjoy the uncomplicated joys of re- discovering simple pleasures.
Sometimes, as W.H Davies said, you forget how important it is to stand and stare.And look at the world through the eyes of a child.
Here are more pictures clicked by Atul, aged 9.