Of Maggi, Top Ramen, and Everything in Between…

A pot of boiling water, a packet of Maggi, and a magical tastemaker is all you need in order to bring a smile on anybody’s face. It certainly would be no overstatement to say that Maggi, the instant noodles brand from Nestle, a Swiss multinational, occupies a special space in the hearts of the Indians.

 

I too, just like anybody and everybody else, have some sepia-tinted memories of the product. Back in the early 2000s when burgers and pizzas used to be a luxury, Maggi noodles used to appease my growling tummy every single time I used to crave for an evening snack. Mum used to bring around 10 packets of Maggi whenever we went out to buy groceries. For countless Indian households, Maggi is the ‘ultimate comfort food’. Back in 2003-04, when I was a child, Maggi noodles used to cost just five rupees. It was cheap, it was convenient, and above all, it was fulfilling.

 

Having been a big Maggi fan myself, I can tell you that cold winter evenings are never complete without Maggi.  Also, a consumer’s emotional connect with Maggi cannot be ignored. I remember an avalanche of Tweets had completely overpowered the social media space when Maggi was banned by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) back in 2015. Reports claimed had Maggi contained lead. Consequently, the product was taken off the shelves and a lot of people were left heartbroken. (Yes, you heard that right). Here are a few hilarious Tweets that I had saved in Google Drive back then. Have a look:

The company was forced to destroy the stocks and the consumers were forced to find solace in the likes of pasta, Wai Wai, and Top Ramen. But what exactly was it that made the noodle brand so popular?

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What Makes us Obsessed With Noodles?

One can say time constraints and the urban Indian youth’s inability to devote time to cooking led to a significant surge in Maggi’s popularity. The fact that it is cheap and can be prepared with the utmost ease is no brainer.

 

Also, India’s proximity

Healthcare in Uttar Pradesh: Not in the best of health

The sad reality of Uttar Pradesh’s failing healthcare system has been highlighted by the tragedy that showed its ugly face in Gorakhpur, where as many as 60 children died at the Baba Raghav Das Medical College. Call it a coincidence, but it comes as a surprise that the tragedy occurred in Yogi Adityanath’s turf. He has been representing the constituency since 1998. His government has presented statistics to suggest that fatalities aren’t unusual given a large number of patients being treated at the hospital. Continue reading “Healthcare in Uttar Pradesh: Not in the best of health”

Menstrual taboos…

“ All of us were born because of menstrual blood, yet it’s considered impure”

I’ve read close to a thousand articles around the very concept of women empowerment. You see women taking giant strides in each and every sphere of life. Be it work, sport or business, women are everywhere. It’s really heartening to see women finally coming out of the clutches of poverty and making their presence felt. But hold on, there’s one thing that keeps bothering me. I really fail to understand why on earth we consider women ‘impure’ during menstrual cycles?

Continue reading “Menstrual taboos…”

Societal Taboos – Part I

I find it hard to understand why  LGBT people in India are invisibilised in corporate spaces. I’ve always seen the eunuchs and the trans-women struggling  to find an identity in the corporate spaces around the country. I’ve had casual chats with people and I’ve noticed glimpses of hesitation in their voices. They must have felt a bit uncomfortable when the discussion started.

At every turn, the sex in sexuality stands under immense danger of being silenced by our own discomfort. censorship too, has played its part in curtailing the exposure one should get when it comes to understanding sexuality and everything related to it. Throughout my life (Well, I’m just 22 years old :)).I’ve noticed disgust and discomfort regarding the whole idea of sex. Often this discomfort does not come out as plain and outspoken revulsion.  Rather, it becomes a banal dismissal of sex talks as something indecent and objectionable. Sometimes, even words aren’t enough to explain the disgust. The word ‘chee’ says it all.

Many of us end up categorizing people and ideologies dealing with sex and sexuality  as ‘anti-national’. Such claims of cultural,and sometimes national indecency amplify the compulsions to remain silent on just about everything related to sex, be it sexuality, LGBT issues or the so-called feeling of ‘desire’.

I remember reading a news article about the “Hug a Queer” rally organized by the LGBT  community at Marine Drive in Mumbai, I read somewhere that there were incidents where the public chided the event organizers.  A lot of people claim that the idea of sexuality is against our culture and our shastras and that it is something that needs to remained confined within the length and breadth of one’s bedroom.

Even the hugs and handshakes between a male and female are considered ‘offensive’ by many people. This entire misinterpretation of culture  and tradition are responsible for our for an alarmingly high rate of hesitation when it comes to talking about sexual health. It is this misinterpretation of sexuality which silences and suppresses newness, knowledge and awareness.

And that’s not all, I read in an article published in The Telegraph that an expert panel working for adolescent education was somewhat pressurized by the Ministry of Human Resources and Development (MHRD) to omit the words sex and sexuality from the final document they had prepared.

People often refrain themselves from using the world ‘sex’ openly because of the fear that it might end up offending people and their beliefs. It is quiet disheartening and moreover, disappointing to see that even the use of the term ‘sex’ for the purpose of empowering people with knowledge is being labelled as something offensive and indecent.

The population of India is approx 1.25 billion. It is an assumption that every second, a child is born in India, which clearly means that someone, somewhere, in a supposedly remote town of a lesser known village or town must be having sex with his/her partner. The problem lies in the way the entire concept of sex and sexuality is being presented by the society.

Sexuality is something that is policed and relegated to the private sphere. The reason, I believe, behind viewing sex and sexuality in a largely negative light is the countless  negative messages around the idea of sex that we encounter in our daily life. Sex is something that has always been there in the society, but all the negative chatter surrounding sex, right from news channels reporting incidents of rape and sexual violence to news reports throwing light on infidelity, has made the issue ever-so gruesome and serious. It won’t be wrong to say that the entire idea surrounding sex and sexual health has been positioned negatively.

On a personal note, It won’t be wrong to say that sexual health is an integral cog in the wheel when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Talking about sex isn’t an act of indecency. It is a form of knowledge, a form of awareness which should not remain confined to the bedroom.

The need of the hour is to be a bit more open-minded when it comes to talking about sex. It’ll help people to nurture a healthy and tolerant attitude towards sex irrespective of their sexual orientation and/or beliefs.

 

Matters of the heart…..


My father often says” matters of the heart are extremely complicated” therefore, the best way to avoid heart problems in the future is by adopting healthy habits today. Well, there are certain risk factors you can’t alter, such as your genetic setup and your age. But, making healthier choices regarding food habits, exercise and lifestyle will surely help you protect your heart. To be very honest, our hearts are the wildest of creatures. Perhaps that is why our ribs are cages. Anyways, here are a few healthy tips: Continue reading “Matters of the heart…..”

How short workouts can help you build endurance…..


According to an age old saying: “Exercise is to body what reading is to the mind” and a study conducted by a university based in Washington DC has proven that exercises enhancing endurance can help prevent cognitive decline. People training for endurance events such as marathons, half marathons often spend a considerable amount of time on their feet pounding out the miles. Research has shown that working out for shorter durations can provide some additional benefits to increase endurance. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of shorter workouts that help you enhance your endurance. Continue reading “How short workouts can help you build endurance…..”