Commonplace becomes exotic.

With class cancelled today, I was thrilled with the prospect of ‘me’ time. Waving bye to K as he left for his weekly class, I turned my attention to the full sink. Working methodically, I cleaned the kitchen and caught up with the day’s events with mom over the phone. Chopping tomato, onion, ginger and chillies, I prepped for my own version of the childhood favorite Maggi.

Thrilled with all prep work done, I opened the cabinet only to find no Maggi packs left. Feeling disappointed I mulled a bit and picked up my phone to call my next door neighbor. Listening to voicemail, my cheerful energy fizzled out. Taking a look around my spic and span kitchen with neatly cut veggies lined up on the cutting board, I could not let go. Foregoing the phone, I ran upstairs to change. Skipping out of the garage, I enjoyed the dusky light as I quickly made my way across the street four doors down where the garage was open invitingly. Kids played and the auntie stood watching them like a hawk. Me talking in Hindi and she replying in Gujarati, I asked if she had a pack of Maggi she could spare. As I went to to explain how I had to have it, she brushed it aside with a smile. How many do you want she asked pulling out what seemed to me like a mountain of the familiar yellow and red packs.

Back home, sauteing, boiling and cooking up this instant meal, I savored the silence and the joy at cooking up something that reminded me of a different time in my life. Settling on my couch with a bowl of steaming noodles, I turned the TV up and flipped between food channel and TBS. As steam escaped in wisps I twirled the noodles around the fork like I dreamed of in my past. Slurping each strand, I was a little ashamed at how something like Maggi had suddenly become exotic for me.

12 comments

  1. OMG, I cooked maggi customized with veggies today. Could not help smiling at your blog. I did the same thing y’day for lemon grass 🙂

  2. I can understand! It was my childhood favorite too. but a plain version. Dont laugh but I like it without veggies and I too relish it like you explained. But I feel the taste of Maggi we used to get back in India is missing – when I get it from here!

  3. Maggie is still one of my all time favorite. Don’t be ashamed as I bet everybody has their own Maggie story to be told.

  4. I too love maggi.i make it plainly without veggies to be eaten at tea time.i have 5 or 6 packets right now waiting to be eaten.

  5. Maggi brings back fond memories. Vividly remember that a bunch of sales folks came to our school and distributed maggi packets for free to the whole school. I must have been in 3rd or 4th std. I remember how my brother and I were so fascinated when we saw that food could be made to look like strings. It was truly exotic then! Also remember pleading for maggi with my maternal grandma so painstakingly made different varieties of sevai. Now sevai sure feels exotic!

    To all maggie lovers, hate to burst the bubble. One pack of maggie has a whopping 350 calories or so (and the worst part is, I don’t feel satiated after gobbling one pack), and sodium content (if my memory serves me right, 58%) is very high. So moderation may be a good idea!

  6. Laksh-

    Maggie was always a favorite lunch snack during school days. Its so cool the way that you walk down the street and ask a neighbour for some Maggie packet, brings back memories of borrowing from next door mami in India. Here, I prefer rushing to the Indian store which is closer than the Indian neighbor.

  7. Umm.. Maggie. I never liked it in childhood maybe that masala killed it for me. But things changed when I got married and my hubby started making yummy Maggie with all the vegetables. But again I lost the liking for it for a while. Then my craving for Maggie came back in my previous pregnancy. Boy!! I loved those Sambhar Masala Maggie, Atta Noodles etc.
    Now again I am back to not liking Maggie 🙂

    But I do know that it is soul food for many. I totally like the way you talk about cutting vegetables and spic and span kitchen. It really creates a great visual picture.

    It is sweet that you have Indian neighbours from whom you can borrow like this 🙂

    The only ‘borrowing’ thing from my neighbourhood is my American neighbour who most often runs out of eggs and sends her lil girl here or for lemons from our tree.

  8. I prefer not to talk about Maggi now I think i have had overdose by now:)
    i was sweetly surprised that you have neighbours who you could walk upto and ask for things:) that is another thing to be cherished about iife, something i miss.

  9. Amazing Blog!! Maggi is definitely a part of everyone’s life. And me being such a foodie myself and having friends who are bigger foodies, talking about maggi is something we absolutely love!

  10. And I also remember one time, we were at peripa’s place and I wanted to have maggi. You said you’d make it your style but peripa wouldnt let us have it in the house! Next time, I am definitely getting my hands on that maggi!

  11. I always wonder why for most people noodles means Maggi… 😦 Someone served me maggi because they thought noodles equals to maggi… but I dont eat maggi… how do I explain to them… noodles at my place is different…

  12. @Mads: haha! Must have been some maggi virus going around. Its definitely an impulse thing.
    @Anamika: Actually when I mean veggies, I only think tomato/onion/ginger/green chillies, peas and corn. Ocassionally potato.
    @Sudha: Very true. Maggi actually has a my maggi story website. http://www.meandmeri.in/ Check it out when you get a chance.
    @Anila: So, you now know what I want when I come visiting next right?
    @Suman: I remember very vividly too. Same age group. Four of us were in school when they gave out. I remember clutching my pack till we got home so Amma could make it for us. 350 calories for dinner. I think its OK 🙂
    @Mitr: I guess one of the luxuries of living in a community chock full of Indians.
    @Manchus: Strange you mention it but Sambar maggi and atta maggi never cut it for me. The only one I like is the original masala maggi.
    @Sachita: I agree. I totally enjoy having neighbors who knock on my door for cilantro and whom I can in turn bother for stuff like maggi.
    @Shalu: I thought the term ‘foodie’ was resevered for the likes of chefs who churn our gourmet food? Glad to know I am a foodie. 🙂
    @Selvi: Sorry to hear that. Possibly because that person had never had proper noodles ever? Cos that would describe me till a few years back.

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