So Now There’s Ash in Maggi. What Next, Nestlé?


So Now There’s Ash in Maggi. What Next, Nestlé?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

Two years ago, when I found out that Maggi contained excessive lead, it didn’t bother me much. My love for Maggi masala was greater than my worry about food hazards. Besides, I used to chew pencils in school anyway.

But people were going on and on about how the masala contained lead and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in excess. That should have been a red flag, since it is now known that all MSGs are hazardous to the human race. At home, I got lectures from mom to switch to Patanjali noodles and on the playground, Ramen fanboys had their 15 seconds of fame with “told you Ramen was better” banter.

I, however, continued to secretly root for Nestlé to come back and I thought they had it all figured out when Maggi was back on our shelves, having cleared all tests. No one is perfect, everyone fails exams once in a while.

But Nestlé wasn’t quite done letting us down, as they have been fined again, for ash content above the permissible limits of human consumption. Ash? Really? Hey Nestlé, know what else is turning to ash right now? The trust of all Maggi fans who added cooking as a skill on their LinkedIn bio only because they could make Maggi without incident. But to borrow a metaphor from Arnab that brings us to the burning question: What else has Nestlé been hiding about Maggi?

Thanks to Nestlé, another childhood dream is gone. Maggi is never going to be the same again.

If you were to analyse the movement that is Maggi, you’d realise that a lot of what makes us such desperate fanboys of the product may just lie in the weird stuff they put into the masala. I’m going out on a limb here to tell you what I think is in there:

Witch hair: Ever notice how there are always some bits of Maggi that don’t cook well, no matter how hard you try? Why is that? Because they aren’t all noodles obviously, some of it is witch hair. It all adds up when you mine JK Rowling’s Twitter account and find out that she did tweet once in 2009 that Bellatrix Lestrange’s favourite food was Maggi.

Puppy tears: What else explains the unparalleled loyalty and love that people have for it? Joginder Sharma helped us win the World Cup, but have we ever felt such unparalleled loyalty and love for him? Ever eat a bowl of noodles so good that it reduced you to tears? Now some of you will say it was the steaming masala, but I have absolute faith that the masala had puppy tears.

Desi blood: Nestlé has always claimed that Maggi could be cooked in under two minutes although everyone knows it is a lie: It takes about 10 minutes. But no one bothered to get to the bottom of it. Why does it take so much time? Because a drop of blood of an average Indian is injected into the masala. Nothing else explains the delay.

We first found out that Pluto wasn’t a planet and then found out spinach doesn’t give you special powers. Thanks to Nestlé, another childhood dream is gone. Maggi is never going to be the same again.