Maggi Wapsi

Courtesy - Google images

The Bombay High Court on Thursday set aside the countrywide ban on nine variants of Nestle’s Maggi instant noodles, saying the national food regulator had acted in an “arbitrary” manner and not followed the “principles of natural justice” while banning the product.

The residents of Hungristan are dusting cobwebs from their kitchen pots and pans, nervously clicking gas-lighters, hovering near their gas-stoves, their stomachs rumbling in anticipation. Their favourite, sweetheart of millions, Maggiwati is returning after a long vanwas.

Though it’s been only a few months since she went missing, but it feels like a lifetime. Unable to bear the trauma of waking up hungry on those lonely nights, and no simmering Maggiwati to cuddle up to, Dharmendra had taken to writing angst filled poetry. His composition – My life is an empty bartan

                     baby jaan, you are my dhakkan, 
                     ajaa hila de mera chammach, is now a superhit Honey Singh number, providing succour to unhappy souls guzzling beer at happy hours.

When Sunny, Bunny, Chavanni first heard this song at Maaji Bar, they promptly burst into tears. Something they hadn’t done in decades. Maggiwati was their pole of support through hours of harrowing traffic, snarling drivers and cacophonous symphony of horns. All they had to do was get back home alive and she’d be waiting for them lying coiled in her aromatic glory, waiting to be devoured.

She was simple unlike most women. All it needed was just two minutes to reduce her to a gooey mass of deliciousness. Okay, it took more than two, maybe 10. But once you fell for her easy charms, she became a lifetime obsession. Try as you might, you could never let go of her. In fact, you locked her in your cupboard, hid her in your drawers and sometimes under the bed. She was the answer to every hungry hosteller’s prayer seeking succour from the tyranny of mess food, the brightest thing at a girl’s pyjama party. She reminded her fans, her passionate lovers, her lifelong devotees of Ma kaa pyaar – unconditional, uncomplicated, a little unhealthy and filled with calories.

Maybe this is what made her so charming – the sin factor. Her bad girl appeal made her all the more desirable. The more your parents told you to stay away from her, the more you lusted for her.

An Open Letter by an Aggrieved Bhains

Also published on Huffington Post India
Clicked by my dear husband

Dear Gais and their children,

We’ve always known that our steaks are low compared to our fair-skinned sisters, the holy Gai. For centuries we have been subjected to unfair treatment simply by virtue of our skin colour. Yet, nobody even bothered to ask us how it felt to be treated like a piece of beefcake. Not a single feminist organisation came to our rescue or raised slogans on our behalf. If Cow is your Maa, doesn’t that make us your aunty? Is this how the world’s greatest culture that gave the world Cowmasutra, treats its aunties!

Is being born dark such a great sin that you’ll focus only at our inner boti and harbour unholy thoughts about us! We’ve suffered the indignities heaped on us with silence. We tolerated the blatant racism that even our shit is subjected to. Despite grazing at the same garbage bins and munching on the same plastic bags and bottles, cowdung is venerated and our shit gets equated to bullshit your elected representatives try to pass off as wisdom!

And now shit has hit the hoof.

Things have come to such a low for us that even the lowly goat has started getting more respect than us. Bhainsbehens association of India (BHAI) was far from amoosed when Union Minister Giriraj Singh equated goats and cows to Ma-behens of Indian mankind. In fact, few of our behens are feeling suicidal and considering storing mutton dressed as beef in their refrigerator.

What about us? Do we mean nothing to you? Does your heart not tremble when you don’t lynch men for daring to treat us as their lunch!

Dear children of cows, you are committing a grave mistake by pitting BHAI against GAI. We will no longer take it lying down. We shall rise on all fours and like Arvind Grazeliwal start a raita phelao andolan.

I don’t mean to brag. Rahul Gandhi has shown keen interest in having fodder with us. He’s also masticating on the possibility of empowering our lot. It is learnt from reliable sources that he’s arranging Jupiter's escape velocity for our upliftment.

Asha Bhainsle, spokesperson of BHAI has been contacted by none other than Arnab Gaiswami to appear on his show to debate on - Is Bhains the General Category of the Animal Caste system – The Nation Wants to Know! Or worse, are we the weaker sex!

Keep Calm or I’ll Feed You Mishti

Also published on Huffington Post India 

The furore over the imposition of meat ban in several states in consideration of the Jain festival Paryushan made me realise what a peace loving community we Bengalis are. We don’t care that nobody cares for our religious sentiments. During festivals like Durga Puja, we are so engrossed checking out each other’s saris and ingesting copious quantities of biryani and kabiraji cutlet that we don’t get time to demand bans. Rather, we go for a self-imposed ban on vegetables during those days. True, the bhog of ‘khichudi and labda’ is vegetarian but we more than make up for it in the evening by having protein and bhajabhuji (Bengali-pioneered junk food, way before the West could think) on behalf of the entire nation.

We Bengalis are a contented lot as long as others acknowledge our intellectual superiority, rich kaalchaar and don’t serve us a vegetarian meal. I know of instances where a particular Bengali family was put in deep freeze for a lifetime of indifference because they dared to serve only one non-vegetarian dish on their daughter’s wedding. My Ma-in-law has yet to get over the horrific ordeal of being invited for a meal by our Punjabi neighbour in Delhi and made to eat just rajmah chawal. How can someone invite you over for lunch and serve just one dish and that too rajmah!

I know Punjabis are passionate about chhole and rajmah, but for us it’s cattle feed till generous quantities of keema have been added to it. Our love for maachh is as legendary as our lust for mangsho. My husband often recalls with glee the recipe for dumoorer chop on a TV show that asked for two teaspoons of dumoor (raw fig) to be added to half a kilo of minced mutton. In fact, true blue bongs equate “non-veg” with only mangsho. Fish (phish) is a daily comestible that borders on being “veg”. If your Bengali friend has invited you over for a bhegetarian laanch, you are forewarned that the daal could have a fish head looking dolefully at you and the humble lauki, Baba Ramdev’s favourite vegetable, will have a crunchy splattering of shrimps. We don’t like vegetables to feel lonely.

Moved to Tears

I have discovered the key to everlasting excitement – a life that refuses to settle down and keeps you constantly on your toes making you adjust to a new normal. Much like the commitment-phobic bad boy who women choose over the nice guy.

Eleven years back when we finally moved to our new apartment, I did a happy little jig and said to myself, yay, no more packing and unpacking of mountains of cartons! No more submitting piles of ID’s where we resemble doped convicts and filling forms in triplicate, giving proof of our birth and a forecast of our estimated death – so that we could get our address changed. We’ll grow old and crumble with this apartment. This will be our happily ever after. Yay again!

Truth be told, my yay lasted for quite some time. In fact it felt like a marriage that has lasted long enough to reach a stage when the halo dims, reality sinks in and we start taking each other for granted. It’s no fun to be wrapped in a comfortable cocoon of predictability. You get bored of being bored and soon enough you start itching for change.

The fun fact about change is, everybody wants it. But when it’s finally at our doorstep threatening to knock us out of complacency, we throw a fit like a kid being dragged to school for the first time.

Three years back when we moved to Brisbane in Australia, I welcomed the change. True, it took me a few months to adapt to a new way of living. But once I got past the trauma of being my own cleaning lady, presswali, cook rolled into one, I cherished the freedom I got doing my own stuff on my terms.

What I did not know was this was just the beginning of an unending cycle of settling and unsettling.

Barely a year after moving back from Australia to apartment no. 1 in Gurgaon and then to another apartment, we are getting ready for the tedious process of moving again. Our packers and movers have become an extension of our family. I now call them by their first names.

Why a Ban on Porn is the best thing to have happened to India

Google images

United Nations has warned that India's population will rise faster than expected and beat China by 2022. Since our government is always in a hurry to achieve the unachievable, it promptly went ahead and banned over 800 porn sites. With so much spare time in hand, men and women will be forced to procreate to pass time and India will breach the target sooner than expected.

Thanks to their initiative, all of India, including the ones who never watched porn, now have a comprehensive list of 857 sites where they can watch porn.

30% Indian women, who according to a study watch porn online, are heartbroken. BJP spokesperson Hard Kaur Prawn Khanna has announced that the government will soon be coming up with a rehabilitation scheme for these women. An undisclosed source has claimed that it’ll involve watching a skimpily clad Baba Ramdev trying to kiss his own butt in a loop. Once satisfied, women will no longer be forced to ogle at hungry for attention men in shorts and tight shirts.

Now that Ministry of human resource and development is claiming Kamasutra is a book on Geometry since all it talks about is tryangles, youngsters will now have to rely on Chetan Bhagat books to educate them about sex.

Even though a majority has strongly condemned this ban that has deprived them of not only of achhe din but achhi raatein as well, all I see is the bright side. With no porn to watch, terabytes of data will be freed. Service providers like Airtel won’t have to hang their head in shame while claiming to offer broadband services. Teens will no longer be compelled to wait for their parents to go to sleep before they can switch on their laptop and log on to YouPorn. Parents can now walk into their progeny’s room fearlessly. Aunties can take a break from being every horny manboy’s fantasy and go back to their mundane existence. And men searching for Bong babes in sleeveless blouses can start visiting my blog again.

The government will not have to Google for 1001 flimsy excuses other than crop failure for farmer suicides. They can coolly blame the absence of porn.

The Vacation Ritual

picture courtesy -

We all need a break from being busy. So, we take vacations. Where we get even busier and return exhausted. If I have travelled thousands of miles, braved airline food, wailing babies and co-passengers with smelly feet, I might as well squeeze in as many activities as I can till I am ready to drop dead. Your vacation is futile till you can’t tell Babli – your neighbour who bragged non-stop about her heavenly stay in a 5-star resort in Krabi – that you also did paragliding, swam with dolphins, fought off a shark and discovered a hidden island. That should see her turn green as fungus.

A vacation has four stages – when, where, I can’t believe I am here, and phew I’m so glad to be home.


Deciding when to take a break is governed by a lot of factors. If you have school and college going kids who are still not embarrassed to be seen with their parents, you plan your getaway to coincide with their holidays. But only after they have attended summer camps designed to turn them into moon-walking, karate-chopping Einsteins and coaching classes for entrance exams to courses they have no interest in.

But if you are foot-loose and fancy-free, you wait for the symptoms to show up. These include restlessness, driving your colleagues insane with ‘I could so do with a break’ whining and extreme envy as you browse through the 692 pics that your ‘just-returned-from-Leh’ friend has posted on Facebook.


This is usually dictated by ‘10 places you must visit before you die of boredom’ listicles that you love reading while pretending to work at office. Alongside vacation pictures shared on FB or Instagram by friends you’ve never met. And a long hard look at your bank balance and all the outstanding bills you have piled on your table. Gone are those days when people could throw darts on the world atlas to decide their next holiday. The passionately patriotic Indian these days keenly follows prime ministerial itineraries to draw inspiration for new destinations.

And nations oblige. Mongolia, flummoxed by the influx of eager Indian tourists, is all set to start a chain of Jain vegetarian restaurants in their country. A Swiss escape to Mount Titlis with pics of Sonali Bendre and Aishwarya Rai in their restaurants is so out of date.

The preparation phase of a vacation is exciting. It takes considerable creativity to imagine everything that might go wrong while travelling (snowfall in summer, loosies on board, sudden craving for theplas in Heidelberg) before deciding what to stuff in your suitcases. Many women spend days cleaning and polishing windowpanes and scrubbing their bathrooms clean before she heads out, so that she can come back to a considerably less dirty house after her sojourn in distant lands.

Finally, The Writing is No Longer Clear on the Wall

As a young girl I yearned to wear glasses. Perhaps I thought it would lend gravitas to my ten year old frame. Unfortunately for me, I had no fairy godmother who could wave her magic wand and make my eyesight weak. So, I had no choice but to be self-reliant. First I had to convince myself and then my parents that the writing on the wall was far from clear till I didn’t get to wear spectacles. I’m not sure how genuine my headaches were. But every time I’d open a textbook, especially Math, I’d be seized with a debilitating headache. It took a considerable number of re-enactments, each with increasing intensity to convince my parents to take me to the doctor. The doctor only too happy to treat a phantom ailment sent me for X-Rays and check-ups with fancy names. I had the unique distinction of going for medical check-ups with a spring in my step, a song in my heart, only to return home crestfallen when the reports said everything was more than okay. I would curse my normal eyesight and console my nose-bridge that her specmate was gracing the wall of some store, waiting to unite with her and vindicate her lonely existence.

I can’t quite recollect what came first. My headaches that gave up on me after many failed attempts to convince the world that my eyesight was as weak as my math. Or me resigning myself to my 20x20 vision that would be the first one to read bus numbers while waiting at the stop. All I know is, when I landed my first job that required me to work long hours on the computer, I promptly got myself a stylish pair claiming to be anti-glare glasses. My younger brother didn’t waste much time in losing them while trying to impress girlkind at large with his newly borrowed intellectual look and I never found out if my anti-glares were as good as its claims.

But one thing was clear, I could now blame my genes for this innate need to impress others with intellect without uttering a single word while peering solemnly from behind the glasses.


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