Growing up with Maggi and making instant friends

pujab

Puja Bhattacharjee | June 4, 2015


#Maggie   #student   #food   #hostel   #cooking   #instant noodles  

Maggi isn’t just a snack. It is a lifesaver at home and life outside home. When I was young I preferred samosa, jalebi or dosa as an evening snack. But my grandmother would cajole me into having Maggi (homemade food) as having outside food is bad for health. Toddlers would too be fed Maggi without its masala. As I grew up, I hated having Maggi. It was like dal and rice, easily available and hence of no consequence. I desired unattainable food like biriyani, fried rice etc. But that was to end forever when I started living in the hostel in 2010.

Girls would wait an hour queuing for the hot plate in the lobby to make a plate of Maggi. This was no ordinary Maggi. It was made with great care. After a long day of lectures, girls found it therapeutic to chop vegetables and strive at making the best plate of Maggi which was then shared.

Some even kept electric kettles in their rooms for the purpose, which was not allowed. The wardens well aware of our predilection for Maggi would routinely confiscate kettles which were carelessly left out in the open.

Initially, I refrained from expending so much energy for making a plate of Maggi. Instead I used to buy it from food carts outside the college gates. There were so many varieties of Maggi to be had! Normal masala Maggi, vegetable Maggi, egg Maggi and egg with vegetables Maggi. We not only finished the Maggi but also licked the plate to savour every drop of the suddenly delicious snack.

Maggi also played a big role in hostel politics. The biggest struggle of hostel life is making friends and keeping them. Sharing Maggi was a signal that the person(s) liked you. You were considered a close friend if you were involved in the process of making the snack.

In the second year I secretly kept an electric kettle and made sure it was never discovered. It was of great use during the winter when by midnight I would feel famished. The pleasure of making Maggi in my room and then savouring it remains unmatched.

Once I graduated to working life, Maggi also graduated to a greater role. At nights when I did not feel like cooking or having what has been cooked, Maggi came to the rescue.

The paying guest where I live in now similarly had been filled with late night Maggi parties, until recently.

Since the news Maggi contains lead spread, girls now resort to either cooking pasta (which does not provide the same kind of solace as Maggi) or ordering from outside which is a rather costly venture. Meanwhile, I too have to go for sandwiches, burgers instead of Maggi when I feel hungry in the evening.

Like rice and dal, Maggi too had become a staple diet in India. Now, there is a vaccum.

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