We all had a harrowing time when Maggi was banned. What a relief that it’s coming back to reunite with her beloved fauji.
I keep reading about how much Maggi means more to everyone that probably a lot of other meaningful things (I am not judging them, cos I am a Maggiholic myself). But Indian Army loves Maggi like crazy. Why is Maggi such an important part of fauji life and why do faujis miss the yellow packets at CSD Canteen?
If the nation wants to know, then know nation shall.
I can think of 9 instances where faujis and Army wives find solace in Maggi’s noodley comfort.
1. When the Mess runs out of food for every-hungry cadets of the National Defence Academy, then what saves the day for them? Maggi, of course! And the preparation would put even hard core life-hackers to shame. Since cadets at NDA are not allowed to keep an electric kettle or a gas burner with them in their rooms, their inner-Einstein invented a new way of cooking Maggi.
The elaborate process involves a cadet first peeking out of his room to make sure there are no officers and senior term cadets anywhere around the room. Once that is ensured, the door is locked securely, out comes the mess tin issued to every cadet, and an iron.
The iron is balanced between books in upside-down position (so that the hot surface faces upwards) and acts like a hot plate. Mix water, masala and Maggi in the mess tin and keep it on the hot iron. Call up your girlfriend and talk for 15-20 minutes. (Yes, the Curious Army Wife knows this). Once the Maggi is cooked (well, almost), the cadets make some lame excuse to hang up and I lie not when I say that all it takes is just 10 seconds for the mess tin to be empty again! Viola!
2. NDA traditions often get carried on to various other institutions like Indian Military Academy (Dehradun), Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy (Hyderabad). So All-India coverage of iron-mess tin-Maggi is ensured by our future officers.
3. Young officers often miss their three-course meals in the Mess to go to that Maggi shop that serves every possible variation of Maggi. Major Sa’ab swears by the cheese Maggi he survived on during his YOs in Mhow.
4. The flamboyant officers often go out on dates but end up returning home with their stomach still growling — all because the damsel wanted to go out dancing or check out the new pizza place. The fauji would obviously not want to scare the girl off by eating much much much more than her. So he returns home, calls up his sahayak, who runs off to the Mess to get hot and soupy Maggi! Fauji trupt hue!
5. Enough of this. How can Army wives lag behind in this Maggi eating-spree. She gets her first taste of fauji Maggi when she gets married and joins her husband for the first time in a peace station. More often than not, it takes from a few days to a few months for a house to get allotted to them. Till then, khana-peena is done in the Mess. But one fine day the lady would say, “I am sick and tired of dressing up for meals. I want to eat in my pajamas and I WANT MAGGI!”
6. Then when the couple is allotted a house, the new-age digital wife is obviously going to spend more time on Facebook and Watsapp (and my blog) than in the kitchen. She then suddenly realises that it is 1300hrs already and she hasn’t prepared lunch. Koi tension nai, Maggi hai na!
7. The sleepy couple doze off at night only to be woken up at around midnight by the sound of the doorbell. A normal civilian family would obviously panic. Who could it be at this hour? Is everything alright? But a fauji couple never gets anxious. They wake up and open the door (without looking through the peep-hole or asking who’s there) because they know there is a pack of hungry young officers (and ladies too) waiting outside for a midnight party! Don’t worry, this is common practice in fauj. Now the pack has to be fed.
Had it been 1970s, the lady of the house would have promptly prepared aloo ke parathe or something like that. But not our aaj-ki naari.
She knows the short cuts, and Maggi is the shortest of the cuts. In fact the Curious Army Wife is always on a lookout for the easy way out! Four packets and some veggies are enough to feed the pack. The group leaves happy and satisfied… at around 0300hrs.
8. The wife is visiting her parents in another city. The officer is at home studying for some godforsaken test. He misses his wife and her food. The maid is there to cook, but her daal is not as good as his wife’s. After putting in a few hours of studying, the officer gets up, enters the kitchen and makes the only thing he can make in there — Maggi. If there is one thing he can make right from his academy days, it is Maggi. He slurps the last strand of the noodle and goes back to his desk to fall asleep on top of his books.
9. Somewhere up there on mountain is a group of Jawans on their regular duty. They are thousands of kilometres away from home. Huddled up around a small fire to keep them warm, they often have chai and Maggi as a quick evening snack. Maggi might not take 2-minutes to cook, but it takes less than 1 minute for that Jawan to gobble it down. And then it’s business as usual.