The Ramen Refinery

Food is integral part of any human being. It is an indicator of health, nutrition, culture, heritage and social status of any person. Food and eating habits tells a lot about that person. Mind it that I am generalising things and not making anything specific, cause there are 7 billion people and I cant make a statement tailor made to each person. Now this all wordly things to say, but the ground reality is, all these things exist in majority of realm of human civilisation . Little do the naive people living in it know that among them are shady areas, the back-doors to hell, areas where no such thing as good food exists. These dark alleys are literally a “mess”. The food here, which is only deserved by the most despicable of souls, is no indicator of the people or their class, culture or background. Now getting off my high horse of innuendos, what I want to say is, that hostel mess are the worst places to have food in, Especially the one I dine in. These kitchens are hubs of culinary catastrophes . Its not just that food is always that bad, but its the emptiness (due to longing of home-cooked food) and the horrific stories connected to it that makes it a whole lot traumatic dining experience. Its almost been a year and a half since I have moved into hostels, and have been suffering from “mess-food-itis”. I really should thank my guardian angel at this point who really must be on heels to save me from all agony, waiting just for me in each helping of that grub. While not wanting to rant much about the regular attacks on humanity, there is however one special form of assault that recently was started by mess people at my hostel.

If you are a normal living human being, you must have heard of the Ramen noodles, and for Indians out here like me, we love to call our Ramen noodles as Maggi. Now Maggi is the best thing that can happen to any hosteler, Maggi is not just a food item but it is an emotion. It ]connects to us in ways we could not even imagine. Just like any college student, Maggi too is a non- demanding, versatile, and tardy (no mortal ever had made Maggi in the promised two minutes ever!), making it an ideal snacking option ( a wholesome meal, in case of hosteler) . Screwing up something like Maggi is extremely hard, and when someone is capable of doing that, then lord help that poor thing. So when my hostel committee decided to include Maggi in our snacks menu, I was hopeful of having something nice to eat, but I should have known that this idea was trouble when it walked in. The Maggi served to us is barely passable to eat,  after all the only other choices available to us are bankruptcy or starvation. The odd thing that I found was how that the Maggi they make in our hostel is so similar to fractional column of crude oil. When those guys haul in large utensil  brimming with Maggi, it generally is not exactly the way any normal Maggi you might have seen or eaten. Now for all you people out here, who aren’t from scientific background, basically the thing is that all the petrol and wax and other such products actually come together in a mixed oil, that being called petroleum or crude oil, and when you perform its refining its has several separate component which are separated via a process called Fractional Distillation. So now we shall begin with the analogy.

The first thing that comes out of drilling land is natural gas, here after a lot of drilling through the crowd the first thing you get is Maggi vapours, which is a indication of maggi being served. These vapours are the evil temptress which plays with our soft spot for Maggi and lures us in, unaware of the horrors lying below. After all the gases, comes out the light distillates like kerosene and petrol, similarly here comes the light distillates of Masala infused oils and all the excess water from the Maggi floating on top, almost creating an illusion of no presence of any solids whatsoever under it. Then comes heavy distillate stage, here we have a more concentrated Masala water and a few traces of noodles and veggies  swimming out, this stage is  fit to be served as soup at those dingy Delis. Now comes the layer of Paraffin and Wax , this layer in our case has to be an extremely small part of the whole column in which there is actual,  edible and undeniably tasty Maggi. The ones who get a helping out of this are the ones who really must have done everything good in their life! Below this heaven is a mess, an almost tar like consistency of all the thing which could not be save itself from the wrath of the ladle and were pulverized to smithereens. Looking at that goop, makes you wonder how these guys do that to food in just 2 hours, while the digestive system takes 7 hours minimum.

Well that was pretty much the similarity I see in both of these things. The major difference between them is  that when you strike oil, you strike riches, all part of it equates to profit. But digging through the crowd to striking this snack, rich is last thing you ever feel, that’s because after what you did (and pay!) , you get that.If there is any truth in the Hindi proverb, ” In god’s home, there might be delay, but not disappointment.”, then I guess my fruits have been delayed by time, immeasurable by mortal beings.

One might think why do I still eat it, even if I despise it so much. To answer that, let us see the whole situation in a different reference. If we are to say, a goody two-shoes girl, Then Maggi for us is that crush, you know! the all star jock of high school,  the quaterback, all A+ grades, looks to die for kinda guy. We love this guy so very much and surprisingly he to likes the geeky girl. Now the mess people are the mean gal, the “oh so hot” , cheerleader captain kinda ones. The ones who by their witchcraft somehow turns the boy into something he is not, a slave to all her shenanigans.This leads to a lot of heartbreak for us, goody two-shoes. But all that pain and disappointments  is not a reason good enough to hate he guy, she still loves him the same, cause she knows deep inside he is the same guy she crushes on and she just waits for that “Dream Boy” to be back  And that is what makes us stick to our Ramen, no matter how bad it gets sometimes, because inside all that facade of horror is the Maggi we love and we cherish..

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