Tuesday, November 27, 2007

An ode to Maggi

Some millions of years ago....
A scene from a typical evening in a bachelor cavehold .The language which was spoken in those days was Cavespeak

Cave Dweller Bachelor 1 - ool ..ool? (Food ..Food ?)
Cave Dweller Bachelor 2 - Maka keega kidneeee (Big dinosaur's kidney)

Cave Dweller Bachelor 1 - Maka neh zook !!!( Terrible !!!)
Cave Dweller Bachelor 2 - Yumma Morona !....Zazall v ave..(Eat you moron! That's all we have)

Cave Dweller Bachelor 1- Bolu...Gonna-maka-zook lom ni gu-tawa (Mate..Hot babe in next cave)
Cave Dweller Bachelor 2- Tooka-Tooka ? (Any Chance for sex ?)

Cave Dweller Bachelor 1- Neh...Neh ... (No way !!!)
Cave Dweller Bachelor 2 - Bolu, zez boondo de bincha ( Chill mate,lets drink Beer)
Cave Dweller Bachelor 1 - Yeh Yeh..Yeh Yeh !!! (Some expressions need no translations)

Nothing much has really changed over the eons, has it ?

However, if one were to choose one invention that has truly revolutionized the lives of bachelors, then that distinction would have to invariably go to Maggi noodles.
I would think that all bachelors here would agree that no other invention has brought more collective joy to them.
Whats wrong with you people !!!! This is a 12A rated blog,for heaven's sake!!!

The noble person responsible for bringing these small packets of joy into the bachelor kitchens was a man named Julius Michael Johannes Maggi who founded the Maggi company in the year 1872 in Switzerland though of course the Maggi noodles came some time after.

For most bachelors with severely demented cooking abilities like yours truly, Maggi has always come as a saviour in moments of crisis.
It was there for us in those hostel days when the mess gave us zebra fodder in the name of dinner or when our initial attempts at cooking had left us with tar-like curries and even darker self esteems.

Some roles which Maggi Noodles has been shouldering for many many years now can be enumerated under the following heads:

Maggi -The Healer
Maggi is a true healer of lost faith. When the male ego is brutally shattered day after day at the altar of the cooking gas,when you can hear the utensils and jars in the kitchen sarcastically sniggering away behind your back, when even those tiny tiny peas keep running away from you in morbid fear, it is then that a small yellow packet in that corner of your shelf peeks out to you as a beacon of renewed hope.You reach out to it with outstretched hands and a weak and broken heart.You feel like crying and running back to the warmth of home where food means 'to eat' and not 'to cook'.
Like a true friend, the 2 minute logo in the packet gives you confidence and puts a comforting hand on your sagging shoulders. (Where else did you think ? Think straight...please think straight)
You put the water to boil and gently drop the noodles and the tastemaker masala. You can still see the spoons, the plates, the glasses and the knives all scrambling over each other's shoulders to get a view at their favourite clown
But today the circus is not to be.
It soon takes shape, the noodles smarten up and the tastemaker blends itself wonderfully with it giving it the perfect look.And before you know it, its done !
And then you taste it. Tears come rolling down your cheeks and you look upwards and just manage to whisper a choked 'Thank you'.
Resurrection can well come in small packets.

Maggi- The tower of Selflessness and Simplicity
Maggi noodles are true proponents of selfless service.They come with no starry airs and instead Nestle you within the warmth of their exceptional taste and ease of preparation.You may well give it the step-motherly treatment every now and then but it would always be there for you on a rainy day.
Nothing pompous, nothing too flashy, just a simple packet with no bombastic claims and yet so efficient.

Maggi- The Management Guru
We,in the software industry are taught to give an estimate to the client which should be at least twice or thrice the time we would actually need to do the work.
This is usually to buffer out emergencies like 3 hour lunch breaks, 12 stops to the coffee vending machines and all the time that goes to buy farewell gifts for the ever resigning people.Damn the attrition rate in this industry.
Maggi,in stark contrast, is a true professional in this sense . It sticks to its time of 2 minutes and in the process teaches us the true value of time.
Maggi also demonstrates with great efficiency how coiled things in life ease out when put in boiling water.
(Disclaimer -The blogger does not guarantee the results, should this be tried upon spouses.)

Though the page on Maggi noodles in Wikipedia lists around 28 flavours of Maggi noodles sold all around the world, my personal favourite has always been the Masala flavour. Some other unnecessary variations such as the Vegetable Atta Noodles and the Dal Sambhar ones have only scored a Saawariya with the masses.

Some things are best left original.

Though the impact of Maggi on a bachelor's life cannot certainly be measured, nor completely expressed in a single blog post, this is just a small tribute to something which has understood the bachelor psyche in a manner like very few others things have.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Be not afraid of laziness"

Some are born lazy, Some achieve laziness and Some have laziness thrust upon them"
Some many years from now, when I would be retrospecting on the days gone by, I'd think that I belonged to all the three categories.

In a predominantly Bong locality where I grew up, almost every kid of my age was learning the Tabla, the choice of instrument being all the more obvious as his sister was invariably going through the motion of learning "Robindra Songeet". A Bengali bhadralok's daughter may well be devoid of the right lung and the left kidney but Rabindra Sangeet is something she must know.
"Age 24, Fair skin, very homely, very beautiful, very understand, 5'2'', know East Bengal cooking" are some other accolades that get added with age.
Thus every morning at around 6, these bunch of singerly-sisters started their Riyaz with sleepy eyes and hoarser throats and needless to say, there was no need for roosters to wake people up in our locality.
There was not much to differentiate between the two species anyway.

Of course I was the charcoal black sheep of my family as far these classical skills were concerned and thus I never learnt the Tabla or for that matter never acquired any skill which required patience and tenacity.I could, on the other hand, carry sacks of potatoes or rice with more ease and my mother was happy that way.
Not every Bengali need be an intellectual after all. Some should still remain idiots so that they are never able to comprehend what phrases like paying back in their own coin mean.

Coming back to laziness, I think that it is a grossly misrepresented term. Predominantly it would seem to imply to many as physical inactivity and the disinclination to work. But what these judgemental people seem to miss is that all this seeming inactivity may actually well be a part of a larger picture, a slice from a continuous process of which we all are unknowingly a part and where each of us has an assigned role to play and more importantly at a predestined time. You just can't hurry on to things always. It simply spoils the scheme of things which God has so intricately balanced. Such harakiri only unnecessarily adds on to the pile of work that we lazy people already have, of slowing down things to a pace that nature is comfortable with.

Recently CNN-IBN was airing an interview on Javed Akhtar, when the famous lyricist made some poignant remarks in response to the interviewee's question on whether he was lazy.He said that he indeed was but went on to define that laziness is not really as is popularly conceived to be. Laziness according to him gave him the time to think and ponder which people are so not doing in their mad wild rush these days.
One couldn't agree with him more.

Ultimately,it is only you who will have to carry out the tasks assigned to you.There is no escaping the fact.If your mother wants you to get a wife and settle down, then you will have to get one sooner or later and if that wife wants you to keep your own house clean then you will have to keep the house clean and if your kid wants you to help him out with his Maths homework while the Indian Ocean concert is in town then you will have to tell him that only Rats teach Maths and thus he should go to his mother and quickly avoid the knife that the wife throws at you. That is all in your Karmic cycle.

So guys don't rush on to things.
The concept of time is only a relative and man-made concept. Time is a continuum and how much ever we try, we cannot confine it within the narrow boundaries of today ,tomorrow or yesterday.Lets think bigger and plan to get things done but not attach any narrow time frames to it. It only questions your faith in God's scheme of things.You certainly don't want to be remembered as a blasphemous soul after you leave this world, do you ?

It is the job of Time to take you forward, so sit back and relax for you will go forward, no matter what. Do not be involved in acts which would make Time feel insecure about his job. For if He gets angry, God save your already receding hairline, your teeth, that glowing skin, those muscles.

So don't draw up schedules for projects, do not send reminders to your subordinates to get the work done, don't respond to emails from your manager enquiring you of the status of the tasks.
Burn the estimation template.
Throw the watch (But let me know where you throw them).
Severe all ties with any person who uses the word ASAP again and recommend a No-Smokingish Prayogshaala for him/her !!

Work in Peace my friends and let others around you stay peaceful as well.
It is no sin to be lazy....