As the ban on the sale of Maggi noodles was announced, my childhood memories flashed in front of me.
The news took a while to sink in, as Maggi was not just a packet of food item, it was a packet full of beautiful memories. At once, the news took me through the journey of my years attached with the Maggi noodles.
My first memory of Maggi is watching the ad on TV as a kid, and asking my mother to bring the product and prepare it for me. My mother had no option but to get the packet right then and there. The masala powder inside the packet felt like the discovery of a toy inside a candy wrap. I immediately tore it and dribbled the powder on my right palm and stared licking it. (Oh God! It was sizzling). But it did take my mother more than two or three minutes to cook it, which was nothing short of a miracle for me. The taste was surprisingly marvelous coming from something so instant. The noodles were springy and snaky. I immediately fell in love with the product.
My another memory of Maggi is going to my maternal home and specially asking my NaaniMaa for Maggi in a get together. I would prefer it to be prepared in milk with sugar. I would collect all the masala powder and eat that up without mixing it in the Maggi. Back then; it would cost just 5 rupees.
As I grew up, Maggi became an inseparable brand. Right from my school days, to college days and midnight hostel moments, Maggi had been round-the-clock companion. I remember how it would come to my rescue while I was dying of hunger pangs. I remember how I would prefer eating Maggi over my staple food.
From dhood Maggi, I had started trying various methods of preparing it. Every method and every twist resulted in a different taste. For just '2-minute noodles' I would take at least 30 minutes (adding tomatoes and peas and other vegetables and sometimes butter to get a different taste). It was an item which I could cook with expertise and brag about. And wasn't that a quality of dear Maggi, it could be cooked by one and all?
Cut to 2011, when I broke my leg in an accident in Mumbai, Maggi was a companion, always at my disposal. I would eat more than three packets a day. I strongly believed it was a 'tasty bhi, healthy bhi' product. I remember the moments in my college at Chennai where I, and my friend, would prepare the Maggi and share the bowl on the lawn, with midnight breeze from the nearby sea whizzing past us. The best part was that many other insomniacs present there would dig into the bowl to take out the piping hot curling noodles for themselves (All uninvited but not unwelcome). The Maggi would act as a symbol of love, unity, friendship between us. The packet of Maggi was a perfect example of sharing and caring.
Fast forward to 2014, my 3-year-old nephew is too fond of Maggi, which excites me no end. He doesn't mind his favourite (our favourite) Maggi to be served at breakfast, lunch or even at dinner.
Now coming back to the recent shocker, this is not the first time when the news about 'unhygienic' Maggi noodles broke. Couple of years back, there was a similar news that said pig content was found in Maggi. In fact, audio-video clips were shared on whatsapp and on other social networking sites. But, I didn't believe that, just as I don't believe now. I continued eating it regardless of whether the news was authentic or not. Such was my love for my Maggi.
Confession: I still have some packets of Maggi left at my home, and I am confused what to do with them. The ban may continue but the memory attached with the Maggi noodles is still intact.