Sunday, May 13, 2012

An Ode to Maggi

Been reading this article on the high levels of trans-fats Maggi contains and thinking that I should be so dead by now because I've probably eaten over 6000 packets of Maggi in this lifetime. Now why do I have this irrational fondness for Maggi? It's like a spell that has been woven around me and I am powerless to resist. No matter what substitutes or distractions there may be, my taste buds remain faithful to the aromas and flavor of Maggi.

Some addictions in life refuse to go away. In this world, we find it tough to let go of innumerable things. Your head says no, and you try your best to avoid such distracting temptations but then something arrives that sparks off memories of the old, and there you go back to square one because your heart refuses to listen to your head. You just want to ignore what the mind is telling you.

Well, I know I've gone off on another tangent but my relationship with Maggi is not very different. Though they claim to have introduced a new variety with no trans-fat, I still cling on to the old Maggi Masala. It's an addiction, a relationship, a temptation, a companion, just like a long-lasting commitment that you don't want to give up on or break.

It's hard to part ways when there are so many wonderful memories associated with Maggi. Memories of boarding school years in Darjeeling, where I first ate Maggi on those bitter cold nights sometime in the 80s. I was reading a special mid-year  issue of The Week where they mentioned that Maggi came to India in 1982, which was the exact year I was packed off to boarding school at the age of 5. Gosh, I am so so old. Trying to remember those days when we first learnt how to cook Maggi, managing to source hot water from somewhere, crushing the Maggi into bits and pieces inside the packet so that it cooks faster, emptying the contents into a mug, adding the masala, covering it with a piece of paper, and occasionally stirring it with a toothbrush end. Well, what can I say. :) I know that is weird to even think of the crazy stuff we did back then, but that was life for a few of us where we had to make the best use of the limited resources we had at our disposal. And the boarding food sure did suck! That's when Maggi was our savior and stepped in to save our hungry souls.

Even when travelling within and outside the country, whenever I developed unnatural cravings for familiar, comfort food, there was always Maggi to provide quick sustenance. Though there have been other substitutes such as Wai Wai and Ra Ra, it has been an on and off relationship based on the availability, quite unlike the Maggi bond. The bond with Maggi is that of a constant, faithful companion forever by my side providing me with so much comfort and nourishment whenever I need it. That's why on a Monday morning, I write this ode to Maggi, and whether it's good or bad for me, I really don't care. I will always love you, Maggi!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


As usual when I can't sleep at night, my mind starts wandering and varied thoughts flit through my mind. Some are regarding normal day to day routine activities that plague me especially regarding work; I think that's because the maximum time of our lives most of us do spend at work, like it or not. At times I think of my family and friends and each place that I've lived in or visited and the special memories associated with each person and place. Or at other times it can be an outrageous wishlist or fantasy.

Some thoughts are so weird that after they've crept into my head and I have had time to ponder and analyze it, I do wonder perplexed why I have such thoughts. :D Well, the intricacies of the working of our human minds will always remain a mystery, and no, am not sharing those thoughts here. :) Some thoughts are only for my journal and for a few close pals ears! :) One of my favorite lines from Desperate Housewives is about secrets. Keeping secrets is a lonely business. That's why we all search for someone to confide in: an ally who will understand, an advisor who we can trust, a friend who will never judge. And am glad to have my besties around to confide in whenever I need someone to talk to.

Well, this post is not about secrets but about last night's thought triggered off by a lovely conversation with a bestie of mine from Oz and a sweet letter that I received from a long-lost pal that made me go all weepy. Why is it that the older I grow, the more sentimental I get? The letter and the chat with my friend triggered off thoughts about relationships. Why do we humans say that we are in a relationship only when we are romantically involved with a person?

From the moment we are born or maybe even before birth in our mother's womb, we create bonds. At first the mother who gives birth to us, and then the dad who looks after us, then some of us have siblings. And then other family members ranging from aunts to uncles, grandparents, family friends, childhood friends, etc etc we create so many bonds.

Then we start going to school and college, and we create more bonds, with the friends we make at school, or it may be a favorite teacher who will always hold a special place in our lives even though we may move on in life to other roles. We start working and create more bonds with co-workers, with managers, some for a while, some long lasting, but each moment and stage of our life, relationships are formed, and some bonds may be broken or forgotten. Life is transient, ever changing as we move forward in the world we create for ourselves. And at each stage, our existing relationships evolve and may undergo changes, and new relationships may be forged with people who were strangers a while ago, or we may have known but yet not intimately known.

As humans there are so many bonds that we create in one lifetime. Yes, even with my maid Devi who's been a part of my life for around 9 years and who I consider family, or our building watchman Parso Ram who is an amazing man and someone I respect immensely. Considering he hasn't had much of an education, I admire his dedication and vision in educating his children and ensuring their future. Due to his focus on giving them a better life, the eldest daughter now works at Karvy, the younger one is doing her software engineering, and the son is still in school. And of course our ex-driver Sai who was with us before Joy learnt how to drive but is still a large part of our lives. With some folks, the bonds remain strong even though we may go down different life paths carved for us.

And then there are those bonds that we create which is difficult to explain. It may be a penfriend from a distant land who you have never met but they've always been a part of your lives as long as you can remember, that you never have that feeling that they don't belong. And in recent times the friends we've made over the internet. Some may be over chat rooms, blogger, or social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter and you hit it off instantly and create a bond deeper than we can ever imagine considering you were strangers a while ago. And you may never meet or meet a couple of times in this lifetime, but the bonds you create stay forever. Life is so unpredictable and so are the various relationships that we have in each stage of our life.

So that's why I wonder how can we confine relationships to one context only when each one is special. Why do we elevate only one to a heavenly status and ignore the others? Aren't we as humans involved in multiple relationships our whole lives?