Tied up in Noodles

Apparently there is Heptachlor, Cypermethrin, Aldrin and numerous other banned pesticides in our vegetables. These also seep into the soil and from there into the water table and water bodies. The air is full of all kinds of things that should not be there resulting in increased cases of bronchitis, asthma and various allergies. Our fruits are ripened artificially using harmful chemicals, which we then ingest. This is over and above all the untreated chemical waste being dumped into any available river/stream/lake. The lakes in Bangalore now have flaming foam (untreated chemical waste spontaneously combusting!) The long suffering and beleaguered populace reacted in the most practical way, they went and took selfies in front of the water catching fire.

For years the NGOs have been shouting themselves hoarse but government apathy only mirrors the public’s nonchalance. However, suddenly, out of the blue the governments (state and central) woke up and smelt the noodles! They banned Maggi! The packets of two minute, instant noodles have suddenly gone from being the saviour of harassed parents to becoming the poster child of food contamination for containing lead and higher than permitted amounts of MSG.

Maggi which we have all been eating, slurping, and loving for more than thirty years. Maggi which has become a generic name for instant noodles in India. Which has satisfied generations of kids and provided ease of snack making for parents (particularly as the advertisements go out of their way to drown parental guilt by making the little packets sound ever so healthy “with real vegetable” etc). Maggi, which has now become representative of the big bad multinational corporation (Nestle) feeding junk and chemicals to poor, starving, third world children.

PS: I haven’t had Maggi for years but ever since they banned it and it is off the supermarket shelves, I have been dreaming of digging into a hot, soupy bowl of it.

LL: There has to be some magic in it, I tell you. Even the jingle they use, just the word ‘Maggi’ repeated three times in the same note is hypnotic. Do you think it could be a spell of omnipresence? Remember how even in remote places during our trek in the mountains, where there would be nothing else to eat, Maggi could be found.

PS: I know, to trek over difficult terrain, reach exhausted at a remote Himalayan village and then have hot Maggi with chopped tomatoes and capsicum (real veg!) can be an exhilarating experience.

LL: We used to have regular Maggi parties in college without the contamination of vegetables. The days of youth!

PS:  So we have been suffused with lead and MSG for all these years and the Government wakes up now?

LL: I wonder what the bigger picture is?

PS: No one is saying exactly how the packets were tested. If they had cooked the noodles before testing, I wouldn’t be surprised if the lead found had actually come from the water.

Basically, we feel everyone is missing the woods for the trees. It’s the indiscriminate and unchecked use of chemicals in our lives which needs to be looked at, and perhaps then the mystery of the lead in the Maggi packet may be solved.

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