The Maggi Debate is gripping the nation’s attention, and truly, The Nation Wants To Know – Will Maggi be banned? Everyone has known for years now that Maggi may not be the healthiest option in your kitchen, but it still became one of India’s favourite meals. From kids, to students to senior citizens, Maggi has become synonymous with comfort food and has even achieved a place on the ‘Ghar ka Khana’ list, because “Ma ke jaise Maggi aur koi nahi banata!” (Nobody makes Maggi like mom!)
Pune like many other cities seems to be seeing the effects of the accusations made against the instant noodle brand, with supermarkets reporting a decline in sales. However, the Puneri population seems to not take much notice of the possible health hazards and is consuming the noodles just the same. A testament to this lack of change is the popular ‘Maggi Point’ on Law College Road, which serves 20 different kinds of Maggi dishes and has come to be a favourite haunt for the student population. The owner, only known as ‘Maggi Uncle’ seems to have a positive outlook on the Maggi debate. “I don’t think that Maggi will be banned, it shouldn’t really” he said. When asked if he believes in the reports that it contains lead and MSG, he vehemently denies it, “I have been serving Maggi for 11 years and I have never received a single complaint. It cannot be harmful” he added. It is a similar story with ‘Jitu Bhaiyya’ who runs an eatery joint at the Lavale campus of Symbiosis International University. “Even though there is a long menu, half the students order Maggi. If so many people are eating it without getting sick, how can it be bad for you?” he said.
Students and children alike have been taking to social media to express their support for Maggi. Especially students in boarding schools and hostels find Maggi to be a staple in their diet. Ishaan Chawla, a post-graduate student living in Pune, says that he eats Maggi 4-5 times a week. “It is something I make and eat without having to worry about whether I will get to have a full lunch or dinner, as my schedule is quite unpredictable. I cannot imagine my day without it,” he said.
With Nestle recalling all their Maggi stock from across the nation, one does have to think about small-scale vendors like Maggi Uncle and Jitu Bhaiyya who earn their daily wages because of Maggi. “I don’t know what I will do if it gets banned,” said Maggi Uncle with a worried expression, “I haven’t thought about it yet.” As states like Uttarakhand and Tamil Nadu ban the brand entirely, uncertainty plagues these small time vendors while they await the outcome of the results of the tests conducted by the FDA. It will be a strangely bleak day indeed, when we walk into a shop with no Maggi in it.
Feature Image Courtesy – Sayali Bedekar Patil
Image (2) Courtesy – Health Works