So, there is much tamasha going on in our country. Mainly because the national food of India — the Maggi noodle — is about to be banned. No more will you able to rip open a packet for your hungry kid. Now it is just RIP Maggi. One angry nationalist chastised me, “How dare you call a Swiss eatable India’s national food, shame on you. Shame!”
My argument — have you heard of hapless jawans comforting themselves on the Siachen border, eating ‘dholkas? Or gorging on ‘medu wadas’ ? No, for years it’s been a warm dish of Maggi noodles, prepared in two minutes. Protecting our soldiers from the cold and the Chinese. (Of course it’s another thing that the Indian army are pulling Nestlé’s stocks from their canteen stores, because believe it or not, they’re concerned about the lead content in the food. I mean, explain to me, are our troops more concerned by the lead content in food or the lead being fired onto them by the marauding Pakistanis. But that’s another issue). One poor Uttarakhand organic farmer told me, after a 14-hour day slogging under the hot sun, all he wants to come home to, is his ‘short cut’ Maggi saag, and rotis, not ‘daal chawaal’ that takes hours to prepare.
Children protest against Maggi in Kolkata on Thursday Pic/PTI
With the magical two-minute noodle being banned, the doors have been blown wide open with every state chief offering an alternative national dish. (of course with some circumspection that there aren’t any harmful ingredients in the food).
First up is the Maharashtra government. The potato, for years, has been known to contain a mineral called ‘sodium supercalifragiliticexpalidocious’ that causes humans to bloat uncontrollably. A Ranchi health minister wishes to ban the vegetable. But the Maharashtra government is firmly against this. A spokesperson, under condition of anonymity said, “ We are very much opposed to this. What stringent measures has this person used. We are determined that the ‘vada pav’ is a worthy successor to Maggi noodles.”
Over in Kolkata, Mamata Banerjee has a strident opposite view. “I bish that the national deesh be Mishti Doi” However Mishti Doi has been found to have over the acceptable limit, a nitrate called ‘Trinamulglycerides”. Various packaged food companies of the delicacy were observed carrying out hurried tests.
The newly-crowned Tamil Nadu CM, Miss Jayalalithaa, wants the ‘idli’ to move into national focus. She said in a statement, what better symbol of India’s qualities than the ‘idli’. The ‘idli’ is white — a symbol of purity; it is fluffy — a sign of prosperity.
And it is above any contamination. In fact, she was considering making the ‘idli’ the symbol of the AIADMK.
Sonia Gandhi reacting to this speech said, ‘Did she say ‘Italy’. I agree and feel that something Italian should become the national dish — like pizza, pronounced, ‘pijha’. Also considering there was now a Jain Pizza, how could there possibly be anything harmful in the food.
Meanwhile, Delhi CM, Mr Kejriwal issued a statement that the city was banning breathing. This was on account of concern for large amounts of lead being found in the capital’s air.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at
The views expressed in this column are the individual’s and don’t represent those of the paper.