A magician’s rabbit on an Indian train

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‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ the magician with the carefully stuck on moustache announces.

‘Here is the rabb…..err….invisible rabbit,’ he proceeds to say, wiping off the drops of sweat that burst out of his pores in seconds. Where the hell was the damn Bunny Bugs?

The audience looked around in confusion, some clapping out of pity. Some refused to clap, shifting in their seats, mentally calculating how much they had spent to watch this phony magician who couldn’t even replicate the most commonly used trick in the book.

Meanwhile, at a railway station in India

Platform number 2 ki gaadi, ab platform number 4 pe aayegi(the train which is supposed to arrive on platform number 2, will now arrive on platform number 4),’ the harrowed announcer lady’s voice said.

Bunny Bugs stood at the platform, in his tweed jacket and a bunch of hats stuffed in his oversized bag. He would have to rush fast to the stage, into the magic hat. Luckily, the train directly routed him onto the stage. Some said he had political connections, others kept mum. But, time was ticking away. He was aware of the difference in time on the stage and the train – 1/100th of a second on the stage was equal to ten hours on the train. But, he was slightly late, since he missed the previous train, where a man in a red checked shirt had completely blocked the way, while this lady in a rusted golden elaborate piece of clothing ran to him, her arms outstretched, at a speed which people wearing such clothes do not normally try to run. There was a man with a large moustache who was standing on the platform, screeching ‘Ja Simran Ja. Jee ley apni zindagi(Go Simran Go. Live your life).’

The lady managed to get into the train, but Bunny Bugs who was running from the opposite side could not. The next train was in an hour. After pleading with the railway people to get him a seat, they offered him a side lower berth and asked him to keep his legs up, since people invariably liked bumping into people who got the seat(which actually belonged to the aisle walkers, the ticketing people claimed, laughing for no apparent reason). Bunny nodded and smiled feebly. He had to concentrate on the show. He was the life saver of the show, yet he had to make peace with only a few carrots. Damn carrots. Where did these humans gets these rabbits-love-carrots  notion anyway? There had to be better food in the world. Damn the carrot dude on television, munching away as if he enjoyed it. He got paid a lot for it, for sure. Bunny craved burgers and fries. Sometimes even noodles with burnt garlic.

As he took his side lower berth, the tea seller sporting a faded light green kurta and pajama with a cream turban walked past him. Bunny, as advised by the ticketing guys, kept his legs up, not that his legs were dangling too much anyway.

‘1 of those,’ Bunny said.

He was a newbie in this human world, having experienced it only during the magic shows, when he was required to travel. English, he had learnt by watching television shows.

He was handed a tiny plastic cup with a brown liquid floating in it. Was he supposed to drink it, he wondered?  Maybe he had to dip his arm in it and suck the arm. Ouch!

Suddenly, he saw the guy with the outstretched arm, who had blocked the entrance trying to get that woman’s hand (perhaps for an arm transplant), sitting opposite another woman and four giants. They were sitting diagonally opposite him. Must be his imagination, Bunny thought, reading the latest issue of ‘Who Said What to Whom?’

But this dude started singing. And the giants seemed to take notice.  They were the really big kinds, like the XXL variety of human beings. Bunny thanked his stars that those kinds didn’t exist in the rabbit world. What if, the magician expected an M sized rabbit and an XXL came through, ripping that damned boring black hat? No, Bunny thought shuddering a little, albeit not too much, because the brown liquid was still in his hands. Bunny silently clicked a picture of the dude who was all over the place, just in case someone came looking for him. The girl who sat opposite him started singing for no reason. The guy who was everywhere also started singing. Copycat. Bunnies have nothing against cats, but he could have danced or something, for God’s sake. Bunny returned to his magazine and sipped the sugar factory in his hand, after ensuring that no carrots had been mixed in the brown thing. The train went on its way and B.B dozed off.

His alarm rang the next morning. The sun was shining softly through the clouds. This was it. He had to make his move now. He packed up his stuff and started on his journey to the stage. He had to first climb the roof of the train by using a rope ladder which he had been presented with. Humans had overestimated his ability to hop and thought that reverse hop somersault could be done easily by a normal, non athletic rabbit like him. He asked them if they could do floating yoga and they started stammering. The budget for the rope ladder got approved. After jumping up the rope ladder, the train people would open a secret tunnel way and lead him to the magic show, where the fake moustache man with makeup, would just pull Bunny out holding him by his ears, and taking all the credit from the crowd….without having to hear ‘Platform number 2 ki gaadi, platform number 4 se jayegi‘ over and over again till his ears turned blue.

The rabbit started climbing the rope ladder, holding onto the flimsy rope tightly, hoping the poles which swished past the train would not be too close to the train. He had done this multiple times on the previous train which he missed due to the guy who was everywhere. As soon as he got on the roof of the train….guess what? The same guy was here also, dancing as if it was normal to dance on rooftops of wobbly trains. ‘Jiske sar ho ishq ki chao…..‘. Sigh! Perhaps, this guy should be hired to appear inside the hat….since he managed to appear everywhere without any effort.

P.S Years later, the bunny found this video on Youtube.

Image Credits: http://www.funnytimes.com

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The can…the worms…sob!

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It is not every day that I muster up the guts to write about my negative traits. I guess the pretense of perfection that I wanted to put up is gone, all due to this writing prompt. Sob(banging head on table, albeit softly). It has to be done, so lets get to it. This is not the first time I got a sneaky sign from the big guy to be open about my flaws. It all started when I watched a Ted Talk – The Power of Vulnerability, wherein the vulnerable lady, Brene Brown talks about the power of being open about your flaws. So here goes.

If there was an award ceremony with my top 3 flaws nominated, the nominations would go like this.

1- Complete inability to stay in the present moment- I have tried and failed. And tried and failed. Thoughts in my head seem so much more interesting than being present. I know there is something obvious here that I miss, which leads me to entertain the crazies in my head, but as of now I have made peace with them.

2- Don’t tell me what to do – This is a big one. A part of me doesn’t like anybody on the planet telling me what to do, if they do so in a bossy tone. I am aware of this. I will do something about this, apart from enrolling in kickboxing classes.

3- Delusion, perhaps- This one is solely because at this moment I can’t think of any other negative trait in me apart from being obsessed with caffeine, haphazard with household work, emotional, moody and a little crazy. Phew. I guess I have only two negative traits then.

I am consoling myself by watching this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FufVhpPVqro

I am trying to get myself to sing a song just to show you my strength. ;). I guess you will realise that point number 3 was indeed right, about me being delusional about my weaknesses.

And the winner from the nominations is …..1 – ‘Inability to stay in the present moment’ host at the award function says.

‘1 is not getting up from her seat. She seems to be thinking.’ host says.

‘She seems to be mentally engrossed,’second host says.

‘2….Can you tap on 1’s shoulder?’ host says.

‘Don’t tell me what to do!’ 2(the rebel)says.

‘Alright. Please do it. We would value your contribution,’ second host says.

‘Ok. I will do it,’2 says. 2 then taps on 1’s shoulder.

‘Huh!’ 1 says, her eyes glassy.

‘Go take the award,’ 2 says.

‘Can you tell me what this is about?’ 1 says.

‘Don’t tell me what to do!’ 2 says.

‘Please…’ 1 says.

And this goes on for a long…long time. Hmm, perhaps time management and the need to be right should also feature in the nominations above. Too late.

Image Credits – www.someecards.com

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If I ruled the world…

If I ruled the world….Well, let me first take a few breaths to get into the king’s character. I don’t fancy becoming a queen, because I feel like throwing my weight around and queens generally don’t have much weight to throw around.

Now, let’s take this in a systematic(ugh) way. First of all, if I became a king, I would have to grow a lot more body hair. From my memories of kings in India, where I hail from, no king was worth his salt if he didn’t have a lot of underarm hair making itself known rather prominently. Of course, I would select a crown(nothing too heavy since it would probably damage my skull or something) and in order to speak sense, which is vastly overrated these days, I would need a proper functioning skull with cerebrum, cerebellum and medulla intact. Seriously, who came up with these names? Had it been me, I would have just named it front, middle and lower part of the brain. Over simplistic, eh?

The next thing I would have to do to slide into a character worthy of the throne, is to get a bean bag chair. None of the metal jarring into my back bone while I flaunt off my rings and tummy fat.

The third thing that I would need to do is to go shopping for king-worthy clothes. While at it, I will gorge some french fries and other deep fried goodies. I am sorry if I sound like a hog, but kings are supposed to look well fed.

Now for the day I will rule the world. Well, to be honest I feel pretty clueless as to what to do. Eradicate poverty, caste systems, gender biases and violence all seem like the natural option. But it sounds like a lot of work which will not get done in one day. If it were so easy, wouldn’t it have been done already? Yes, perhaps I would learn how to cast positive spells on people. And while I jabber sitting on the bean bag chair, moving my hands, I would (sneakily) cast a spell on the people to remind them that their lives are limited. It is something that is obvious, innit? But, everyone seems to have forgotten it. I will cast a spell on myself too. I am no holy baba(baby?) sitting here.

And while at it, I will also declare a concept of no-money. Sounds radical, eh? Well, you get your turn to undo this change when it is your day on the throne(psst, you can borrow my bean bag chair). Anyway, I will leave the world back where it was, with the barter system. When I get off the throne, I would buy a big bag of popcorn and watch the show that will follow my radical decision of no-money. I hope the head of a certain corrupt political party in India and her son provide enough entertainment in the world after they have lost all the stolen money which I will have declared null and void. Oh, do I see the prodigal son scrubbing floors to earn a living?

P.S – I have sworn myself off the virus called ‘perfection’ in a ceremony that involved two frogs, one unicorn and five strands of hair of men who have now turned bald but were wise enough to preserve those strands of hair for my ceremony. Talk about foresight. This deadly virus leads you to squint and read through your text at least two dozen times. I am trying to return to normalcy and hence I read through the text only a couple of times, after it is done. Pardon me, puhleeeez, if there is a typo, although you can let me know about it…in private, of course. Together we can fight this virus and save time.

#pappu #fiction #prompt #india #king #royalfamily #desi

Image Credits: Minionnation.tumblr.com

If I Ruled the World

Interviews, Zippers and Mistaken Identities

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Interviews. I think of zippers whenever I think of interviews. Strange neuro-association, isn’t it? I can hear you mumbling neuro….what? Neuro- association is the way in which the brain links up two things together which it considers logical. In my (over)analysis of my neuro associations, I have gasped multiple times at the ludicrous neuro-associations in my brain and then tapped on my face to remove those ‘logical’ neuro associations(read about EFT tapping before you judge me). Sigh, I secretly dream of a world where we all are as weird as I am. That doesn’t seem likely unless I create billions of weird-face-tapping clones of me.

Back to zippers….and interviews. Interviews bring up images of folders with a resume in them, complete with a passport size photo in my mind(apart from zippers, of course). It feels insensitive to call it a resume, it should be called the ‘Shining Glory of My Life Spent on This Planet’ or something like that. Aah. Anyway, I had carried my ‘Shining Glory…blah…blah…’ to the interview room few years back, after having fixed my hair and lip gloss a few dozen times, aiming to give a perfect impression of my sincere-shining self. People walked in, asked me questions, nodded a lot and then informed me that few other people wanted to interview me. I smiled unnaturally, as is natural to do so in the interview. Perhaps, people finish their quota of smiles(and lip-gloss) in the interview room and then frown for the next few years they work in that place.

I first stared at the walls of the interview room, which I feel obliged to do in such situations, where nothing else seems to fill that time between the going out and coming in of people. I then stared at my skirt. It looked nice…black…formal…and dull. Good. But then, I noticed that my skirt zip(on the side of the skirt) was undone and spoilt. So now, one could see the holy white tucked in shirt, through the black skirt. Eeks!

I didn’t know how any of this was my fault, but I was convinced it was. In some way it was…as it always was. My hand immediately covered up the gap…the gap which would put gaps between cliffs which people dream of jumping to shame. I felt handicapped at that moment, with only one hand of mine operational, since one hand had to do its job of saving my izzat(respect). The other hand  would have to be used to shake hands and wave animatedly in the air in order to declare my passion for the job. The second set of people came in and asked their stuff. I replied, one hand stuck to the side of the skirt. I sensed that they sensed that there was something wrong with my arm. But, I was determined to not let ‘the gap’ spoil my interview. Finally my interview ended and I walked out with a sense of confidence that I could single handedly(sense the pun?) sail through an interview.

My neuro-association is prompting me to write about yet another embarrassing situation where I was asked to wait in a coffee shop for an interview. I had checked the Facebook profile of my interviewer the previous night, as part of my research. Amazing how one can do anything under the pretext of research. So, I was looking for this lady of a particular nationality to come and interview me. A lady breezily came up to me and said ‘Hieee. I’ll be back in a moment.’ I smiled politely and rummaged through my brain for the Facebook photo I had seen of the interviewer the previous day.  Mismatch! She was not the one.

Perhaps, she had decided that she wanted her face to match another nationality’s and had then gone through a series of painful plastic surgeries to make that happen. I settled(sank) into my chair and waited for the lady-who-had-changed-her-nationality. To my horror, I saw a person with a face that matched the Facebook photo I had seen earlier walk towards me. She sat next to me and started asking relevant questions. I started spurting out my replies in an organised and rehearsed manner. The breezy-lady-who-I-thought-had-changed-her-nationality popped up again and stared at me and the interviewer-whose-photo-matched-the-Facebook-profile.  I just pointed at the interviewer’s head and nodded as part of some secret code that the breezy lady seemed to get. She nodded apologetically and walked off. The interviewer stared at me and I blabbered something like ‘She must have assumed I am someone else’ and continued jabbering my answers…..as if nothing happened.

Over to you. What weird(funny) interview experiences have you had? What pops into your mind whenever you think of interviews?

P.S – I have sworn myself off the virus called ‘perfection’ in a ceremony that involved two frogs, one unicorn and five strands of hair of men who have now turned bald but were wise enough to preserve those strands of hair for my ceremony. Talk about foresight. This deadly virus leads you to squint and read through your text at least two dozen times. I am trying to return to normalcy and hence I read through the text only a couple of times, after it is done. Pardon me, puhleeeez, if there is a typo, although you can let me know about it…in private, of course. Together we can fight this virus and save time.

Image Credits – Unknown(but brilliant).

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Morning Glemashomikumona

Bromo Sunrise-2Mornings…We either love them or hate them. The media has a big role to play in terms of how mornings should look like. For them, the idea of a morning involves the following sequence of events – Bright sunlight streams into large sized rooms(with no clutter, obviously). A vivacious woman wakes up with her hair perfectly falling on her shoulders. She has a wide smile playing on her lips. She proceeds to take a steamy shower using a shower gel.  She sometimes plays with the lather that forms and blows it out to no one in particular and then happily proceeds with her day. Depending on what is being sold in this version of mornings, the vivacious-girl-who-plays-with-lather might drink coffee and/or wave to people(sometimes even strangers, depending on how desperately they want to sell you what they are selling you).

Huh?

I would not speak for everyone, but my mornings are vastly different. For one, sunlight is not responsible for waking me up every morning. The alarm clock rings, leading my half awake self to turn it off multiple times. In fact, for some strange reason, I have two alarm clocks ringing at the same time, on my phone and my husband’s. I get up and turn both of them off and head back to my bed after this vigorous activity early in the morning. I almost feel guilty for sleeping without setting an alarm and then turning it off. Switching off the alarm, or turning on the snooze button earns you that right…the right to sleep for a few extra minutes. Those few extra minutes, if caught in a wrestling match with the remaining 6 (or 7…or 8…or 9….are you a lazy bum?) hours of sleep, would win hands down.

Over the years, I have understood the importance of a morning routine. It helps me find myself. Before I head into the day, doing what I am supposed to do, I sit and be ‘me’ for a few minutes, sipping on ginger tea and writing in my journal. I pick out angel cards in the morning to get advice which a person like me feels she needs to do, in order to be equipped to tackle the challenges of the day.

Earlier, my morning routine consisted of only three things – Get ready, have breakfast and listen to mindless dance Bollywood songs on MTV. That set the tone for the day. Over time, I have become more finicky(and weird) about the stuff that I need to squeeze into my mornings. I feel like an HR manager recruiting for an extremely tough role. I consider various options of what to include in my morning routine and then carefully hand-pick some. If they don’t provide value, I kick them out.

The first thing that  I do as soon as I open my eyes is look at the clouds. I feel thrilled if I see feather or angel shaped clouds, because I consider it to be a good morning wish from the big guy(or gal) up there. Then I scroll through Facebook and my email(not ideal I know) and get in touch with ‘reality’. I then make myself a cup of ginger tea and write in my journal. No playing with soapy foam for me, thank you. Sometimes, I just stare outside my house and think….about nothing in particular. Then I do some energy medicine moves, which have been recruited recently by me. And then the day starts….The value of this morning ‘me time’ has increased over the years and it acts like a soft landing before the day starts.

Now for some weird stuff that finds time in my morning routine. I sometimes write gibberish in my journal. I feel that the pressure for words to make sense build up over time and we talk in an extremely structured way with other people. But, words can’t do justice to raw emotions. Ever cursed and went on a I-don’t-know-what-came-over-me trip? Exactly! Now you know a way to curse without anyone ever getting offended.

Hence, I write nonsensical words(or sometimes sing them, just like kids do)….bapulaposimapoleeee. It feels great because emotions that you are not ready or express in words because they may be too ‘wrong’, come up. If you think I am crazy for doing this, try it. Most importantly know that Osho preaches this a fair bit. I feel much better dragging someone else into the picture. And just imagine if Aamir Khan spoke gibberish instead of what he said recently about intol…err… shimatolipasomimosa. Phew, that’s better.

What weird(or normal) stuff do you do in the mornings?

Signing off now..Have a great day!

Image Credits – Lenspaint Swyl Saksena Studio

P.S – I have sworn myself off the virus called ‘perfection’ in a ceremony that involved two frogs, one unicorn and five strands of hair of men who have now turned bald but were wise enough to preserve those strands of hair for my ceremony. Talk about foresight. This deadly virus leads you to squint and read through your text at least two dozen times. I am trying to return to normalcy and hence I read through the text only a couple of times, after it is done. Pardon me, please, if there is a typo, although you can let me know about it…in private, of course. Together we can fight this virus and save time.

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The Bond Guy on the train

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We have an amazing habit of linking things up. Right now, as I hear the thunder outside, I am reminded of tea which goes fabulously with rains. And tea always reminds me of the tiny kulhad tea that gets served in trains – The comforting sound of the train on the tracks, the voices of people talking (sometimes a bit too loudly, managing to disrupt the art of hiding behind a book to avoid the people sitting in front staring awkwardly at you, due to the sheer berth arrangement which makes people want to talk to each other) and the sounds of vendors selling tea, bhel and other items which somehow taste better on trains.

This incident goes back to my college days, back when we proclaimed ourselves to be cool. In an attempt to live by the code of coolness, we had to do certain things like not care about reserving our seats and behave indignantly when asked for tickets by the ticket checker. On one such fine day, we decided to buy a general ticket for our travel back home. It was an overnight journey and we thought we would just pay the difference and get a reserved seat, just like we always did.

That day was different. Firstly, the train was jam packed with smart alecs like us, who were also in the race to be proclaimed cool. Secondly, the ticket checker was ……well, I will let you form a judgement on him. We sat on seats hand-picked by us and went gabbing about things of paramount importance – who said what to whom in college….and why….and when….after which we went on to the debate of who was right. Within this time, the bond guy,  as we shall refer to the ticket checker, made his way to our kingdom.

The conversation after this went like this:

‘Uncle, can you upgrade our seats?’ my friend said.

Silence…. Bond Guy looked perturbed after which a wave of anger crossed his face. Yep, it was definitely anger, what with all the clenching(of the jaw, silly) and furrowed eyebrows.

‘Uncle?’ he gasped.

My friend giggled. Unfortunately, Bond Guy took more offence. This time he almost spat his response. Swach Bharat, anyone?

‘If I wore Nike shoes and spiked my hair, you would not be calling me uncle,’ he said.

We looked at each other in dismay. This uncle was our only support in the train, the only one who would redeem us of our general class tickets and give us reserved berths, where we would continue our who said what to whom and when game. But he adopted an air of huffiness. We could have buttered him on his looks, but it would mean lying through our teeth(and dentures, if anyone was secretly wearing them). We could have said sorry, but cool people don’t do that, according to the the ‘Worldwide Guide of Being Cool Handbook.’ I just made that handbook name up. Hope you didn’t waste your time searching for it online. I give classes on how to fake coolness, by the way. Wink.

Anyhow, the matter had slipped out of our hands, as we stared at Bond Guy, who stood there devoid of his Nike shoes.

‘Go to the general compartment,’ he ordered, pointing his index(not middle) finger in a particular direction.

Since we were part time rebels as well,  we walked in the opposite direction.

‘Hey, the general compartment is this side,’ he reminded us, although not too loudly, because by now the snorers had taken over the compartment.

We started running as fast as we could. He did not run after us…because of his Nike shoes dilemma. Now, because our semester exams had just gotten over, our college mates were spread throughout the train – some who would help us and some who….well , would show us the middle finger, because few things about us rubbed them the wrong way. Actually, all things about us. One of the people from the 1st category(the ones who would help us) was fortunate and well planned enough to be travelling in A.C 2nd tier. AC 2nd tier in India is the compartment in Indian trains, where curtains are used to provide privacy to passengers. As I ran through the 2nd AC compartment, I got pulled into a side lower berth by that well meaning 1st category person.

He hissed in a voice that only villains would take the risk of hissing in.

Chup jaa pagal. Warna T.C(Ticket Checker) pakad lega,’ he said. Heaven knows how he found out about the Nike dilemma. My legs were hanging from below the curtains. If there is one thing I know, it is to not get comfortable around any sort of hissing noises. No exceptions. I fled out of there. Meanwhile, my friend came running towards me.

‘You know what happened?’ she said.

‘What?’ I said.

‘This classmate (let’s name him Delusional Dude for reasons that are best undisclosed) whipped out his hand across the aisle out of nowhere,’ she said.

‘And?’ I said.

‘And he had a balm in his hand. He said “Ye lo…Balm lagao” ‘ she said.

‘What? Why?’ I said.

‘I don’t know. I shrieked,’ she said.

For those who don’t know, shrieking is considered a valid…almost expected response in these situations. If you don’t scream, perhaps you are as loony as him.

‘The worst part is he was probably asleep,’ she said.

Oh, the drama of the subconscious mind reveals itself just when you think you have concealed ‘that part of you‘ which no one should ever see.

We kept running until finally we found a bunch of seniors who were travelling in the same train. They were kind enough to provide us with ample inches for our bums to settle in.

Years later, I travelled in a train after Mr. Laloo had ended his reign as the railway minister of India. At that point I was not concerned much about the state of the railways, et al. To me, at a micro level, all that mattered was that I got to my destination without having to witness a guy….umm…how do I put this delicately….well, without having to witness a guy pleasing himself rather apparently under a thin bed sheet, on a berth that was right next to mine.

So, I settled into my side lower berth with rather low expectations and high excitement due to not having to share small talk with people staring at me. When I was about to fall asleep, my subconscious mind woke me up, perhaps sensing some danger. What I witnessed next was the fury of three cockroaches, rubbing their legs(?), arms(?) together on the train wall, while staring at me with eyes that were well bigger than ordinary cockroach eyes. I panicked and slid out of the berth, like a snake, albeit a terrified one. The trio didn’t budge, displaying their confidence and authority over a compartment that they probably considered their own. I begged someone to let me sleep in an empty berth next to theirs. But all night, I kept staring at the train wall, hoping that the trio didn’t follow me there.

Image credits: Unknown

Thursdays, Maggi and Short Circuits

Relationships grow with time. They take hard work, dedication and well…..bad hostel food. Such was the relationship between me and Maggi, the instant noddles brand which had been banned recently amidst much hue and cry. When I had joined hostel, Maggi was just a snack, something that could be substituted easily with a sandwich, samosa(deep fried Indian snack) or rolls. But, it required excellent effort by the hostel chefs to deep fry paneer(cottage cheese) coupled with my roommate’s love story with Maggi which illuminated me. This illumination happened via a series of events which repeated themselves over a period of three years. Every night, this room-mate (lets call her ‘S’) would diligently pick up a cooking pot  that she kept in a clean corner in the room(which was hard to find those days, since we mistook messiness for coolness). She would go to the tiny stove which was placed in between two flights of stairs. Some would see the stove as just another fire emitting appliance, but ‘S’ saw it as something which lit a fire of hope in her heart, that there was edible food in her vicinity and that she would not have to face a day where she was so starved that she would have to consume that…..deep fried paneer. I would accompany her on those fire-of-hope-Maggi-expeditions and watch her eyes light up as soon as her turn to cook came, even if the wait before that was half an hour long. She would boil the water first, then put the masala(spices), slit open two green chillies, break the Maggi square into smaller chunks and then….pure alchemy.Sigh!

Another friend of mine got seduced by this whole concept of Maggi saving lives and giving people hope deal. She got something which looked like it had been recovered from the ruins of Mohenjodaro and Harappa. She called it an appliance , a kettle which would help us make Maggi. So we sat around the ‘kettle’ like early men would have sat around a pile of stones with the intention of starting a fire. Our hearts were heavy with gratitude of being able to cook Maggi in the room and perhaps cholesterol due to gulping down golgappas(Indian street food) with pure oblivion to the concept of calories.

She turned on the switch to the electric heater. Smoke filled the entire room within seconds. Now, regarding the usage of electrical products in the hostel, we were not even allowed irons. But, every morning irons were exchanged amongst people with a towel covering the irons. We were in no mood to start a crumpled clothes fashion line. After the smoke started escaping the room, we switched the Mohenjodaro structure off. We sneaked out of the room to check if anyone had noticed the smoke. The entire floor’s fuse had blown out thanks to our kettle and we were immersed in complete darkness…and smoke. We thanked our stars and metaphorically dug the relic that had caused the blackout to happen.

Years later, Maggi found a permanent place in our schedule – Thursday nights. Every Thursday night me and my husband would rip open packets of Maggi as a welcome to the long awaited weekend. The steady accompaniment of Maggi in our house was (and still is) chill paneer which my husband is a pro at making. The recent Maggi ban in India due to suspected high levels of lead in Maggi, upset us a little, leading us to question our faith in the food that gave us so much joy. We switched to the tangier cousin of Maggi, i.e Ching’s and fell in love with it. The switch wasn’t easy though. I had a lingering guilt every time I opened my cabinet door to fetch Ching’s and saw Maggi staring back at me, reminding me of my betrayal towards it.

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