Bidding adieu to Maggi

With Maggi being the ‘hot’ topic, grabbing headlines all over and ready to be taken off the shelf in many states any day now, I was transported to the early 80s. This was the period when Maggi first created its shelf-space, in a big way with great pomp and ceremony. It was “love-at-first-taste” for many children. It was, however, introduced to us in Solapur, a small town in Maharashtra, in a totally different way.

I was in sixth standard then. One morning, as we entered the school premises, we saw the campus abuzz with activity. A few men in uniforms had set up stalls around the playground and colourful banners had been hung all over the school, giving it a festive look. The students were delighted and thrilled to see the school humming with so many strange people and activities. Something like this was happening for the first time in our life and none of us had any clue what was happening!

After the morning prayers, it was announced in the assembly, that we were to be treated with some eatable – a snack which could be cooked at home, in just two minutes! Our joy knew no bounds and the catchy name of the product, ‘Maggi’, further heightened our excitement.

As all of us entered the school building and started walking to our classes in a row, the men in uniform, whom we had seen earlier, stood at the bottom of the staircase on both the sides, giving each child a Maggi packet. It was what we, in today’s jargon, would call a ‘freebie’! Having this unexpected delight come our way was so heady that a few mischievous classmates tried to take two packets with both their hands!

During the short and long breaks that day, we were served with Maggi noodles in a small bowl to taste. It was a mere teaser but we were hooked, instantly in “2-mintues”! That was our first step into the world of fast-food.

I couldn’t wait to get home from school that day so I could cook my Maggi. Since we siblings attended the same school, we had received three packets altogether. Unbelievable as it was that we could cook Maggi in just two minutes, we were more elated that it was something we could cook on our own – ably aided by the instructions on the backside without any adult supervision! Maggi brought us a moment of unbridled happiness, something that we, who had grown up all along on home-cooked food, had never before experienced.

We fell in love in just “2-minutes” that day and it is an affair that has lasted for decades. In a journey that started almost thirty-three years ago, Maggi became an integral part of our lives. Today, when the food has been ordered to be taken off the shelves, it is with a heavy heart, that me, my family and many others, shall bid adieu to Maggi noodles.

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