Posted by: Kappa | October 2, 2007

Kiran Vergis on “I may be gone but my maggi lives on”…

… or “Necessity – The Mother of all Invention.”

Indeed! As all of us who live(d) on top of the hill that is home for 2 years know, food is one of the biggest fights. Attitudes range from resignation to outrage, and MessComm invariably finds itself at the receiving end of brickbats, and hardly (if ever!), bouquets. As a MessCommer from PGP08 put it, “Din main log mujhe theen baar gaalliyaan dette hain“. Having lived in hostels for a good part of my life, I firmly maintain that there is an international accord that sets the maximum standard of food that can be served in hostels, and the fellas that manage to reduce it to the minimum, without having the “inmates” revolt, are given an award for highest achievement in a secretive, perverse ceremony that celebrates their stupendous achievements!

So, how does our “mess” stack up? Well, let’s not go there. Sandeep is a mate, and Jithu & Suresh are very good mates. But, things came to a head when I couldn’t recognise[1] most of the stuff on the menu except rice, daal & pickles[2]!

Initially, time permitting, there were options galore. Broast (that saviour of us all!), Taj, Mezbaan, Sea Queen, and being mallu, a few other places around Kunnamangalam. But then, as is the way of Murphy’s Law of Life, disposable time increased, but money supply decreased[3], and places had to be dropped from the list. What now?

Aaaaah. Back to the good ‘ol NC. Outside of the toppers, wannabe toppers, studs, bonds and other such colourfully named characters, most of us spend a good part of our days in the NC. No? Well, I, along with a few good men (and better women, mind you – Ridhi, Suma, Sheeba & Nam, take a bow), did! Not that the food was all that much better, but better it was! Now, the cynics amongst you are going to say that it ain’t all that difficult to improve from negative to closer to zero, but hey, something is better than nothing, no? Besides, in second year, there was even more incentive to hang out and eat in the NC. (I am referring, OF COURSE, to the fact that we had more time for TP[4], and where better than in the NC with a nice mango shake that sometimes turns out to be apple instead, and with the clouds streaming in to freeze you to the marrow[5]. Santhosh aka Toad aka Alpha Male, what WERE you thinking?! :>)

So, in came the “mess off”, hunger pangs by 9:30pm, mad rush to the NC at 5 minutes (or earlier) to 10 and general bedlam as orders were shouted, misheard, misinterpreted, misdelivered (or not at all!), grabbed out of turn et al[6]! Aaaaahh… but that added to the fun, didn’t it? Besides, it lent us a topic on which to debate the validity of matching flows rather than capacities to break the constraint, and take the NC to the next level[7] of operational excellence, which is a source of strategic advantage! You think that’s jargon? Hah… fine! You go argue that out with Prof Gopinath[8]!

But, eventually, aloo paratha with chicken (insert your favourite preparation here… I say they all tasted pretty much the same!), maggi (in its different avatars), bread & omelette, fried rice etc started to get monotonous. Besides, invariably, one wasn’t enough and two was too much. Naturally, the mates didn’t mind that latter bit coz it translated to free food for them and naturally, I did, surviving as I was on a shoestring (which was fraying all over, mind you) budget that had to provide for an adequate intake of requisite fluids & “fresh air” as well! What now? There were constraints galore, and no amount of attempted optimisation was working[9].

And thus, out of necessity[10], I took to asking the chettas & chottus at the NC for a mix of fried maggi and a few other choice ingredients[11]. Now, this was sating my hunger, satisfying my craving for meat[12] and leaving nothing for the circling vultures[13]. Wasn’t doing the earlier mentioned, fraying all over, shoestring budget any good, but then, the bank was paying for it then[14].

Long story short[15] – the mates wanted some, I wasn’t giving any[16] and so they went to the chettas and chottus and asked for the same. Now, communication might be an art, but all of us who “communicate(d)” our orders[17] in the NC have had to/are elevating it to a new level. To improve customer service[18] and enhance customer satisfaction[19], the whole process of asking for a fried maggi with a chicken lollipop heated and diced, and a fried egg, sunny side up was shortened to an order for a “Kiran Maggi”.

Am I eligible for royalties on grounds of use of copyright, IPR etc?[20]

Kiran, PGP09

Brickbats[21], bouquets[22], money[23] and/or booze[24]? Kiran.vergis@gmail.com

 


[1] Or stomach

[2] And to think I asked Ronald (PGP07) if sausages were served at breakfast! Sigh…

[3] Nothing to do with aggregate demand, supply, equilibrium in goods, factor & bond markets et al. Income = 0, outflow = a + bYÆ , where the symbols have their usual meanings ceteris paribus. Don’t ask, it’s all Greek to me!

[4] Time Pass, in case you are yet to get it! Or, have forgotten.

[5] I am a creature of the tropics. Campus, during the monsoon season, was COLD to me.

[6] In case this was not the case when you were there, or currently is not the case, watch “The Marsh Lions of the Serengetti” on Animal Planet, especially the part where they are chasing, bringing down and feeding on a choice antelope, to get an idea of what I am talking about

[7] or any level, depending on how you look at it

[8] Only if you have already cleared OM1 and are not planning to take any Ops courses as electives. Prof, if you are reading this, I fully agree with the concept! :>

[9] Solver gave up. LINDO, I gave up on

[10] Hunger, actually

[11] Just a chicken lollipop (why do they call it that?!) and a fried egg, sunny side up; and never mind the cholesterol. After all, in the long run, we are all dead (Thank you Prof Sarkar, and Keynes. That has to be the only thing in economics that doesn’t need a ceteris paribus assumption)

[12] My sincere apologies to the veggies of different stripes, colours & inclinations

[13] Who would nevertheless, be waiting for the slightest sign of weakness

[14] Now, I am. and feeling the pinch… profligacy does catch up, eh?

[15] Ironic, considering I have taken this long to get here? :>

[16] Of my chef’s delight concoction, that is

[17] Refer to earlier reference to misheard, misdelivered etc

[18] Yeah, right!

[19] Refer 18, above

[20] Comments, Prof Aranha?

[21] Not really welcome

[22] Better

[23] Even better

[24] Now you’re talking! Preferably toddy or fenny. Either, or both! :>

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Responses

  1. fantabulous!! after a long long time i have read something really humorous… kudos to you Kiran… absolutely rib-tickling stuff… at least for people like me who associate with every word you put down there… kudos to you…

  2. …and i thought you were really busy with work!!!!!

  3. thank you prashant. it wasnt funny then, but i guess, as is the case with most things in life, they’re hilarious when looked back upon with nostalgia.

  4. Good One Vergis! Felt quite Nostalgic reading through this one…

  5. KIRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    No..no…i was just trying to imitiate Gagan and Bala….where were u all these years….awesome…felt like i…i….i….was there when i was reading it. I MISS THE PLACE

  6. What say we organise a lil something in Kozhikode? Stay has to be on campus though, which I foresee being the main glitch! How Alcomm, feel like hosting us all outside of the formal Alumni meet framework? :>

  7. Absolutely fab post dude..And to make things worse, they started a computerized ordering system..It was absolute chaos for the first few days! Small relief that the cashier (whose name I cant recall, blame it on the fried maggi) played ‘mohabattein’ and DDLJ numbers all the time on those BOSE speakers 🙂

  8. Really funny article…..can relate quite well to your predicament as i was on the mess committee for 2 yrs (03-05)……Things dont seem to have changed much………i used to harass sandeep a lot; Mittal the other mess comm member & i even had to teach his cooks to make certian dishes……it is indeed nostalgic 🙂

  9. So that is the story of the legendary Kiran Maggi… which at times caught me unconsciously turn my head as the order was being called out! 😛

  10. aiyoh….you have basicallystolen from the recipe from hakims and you know it…aiyph…those were the days of mtton and pratha

  11. Maybe you can compile a series of anecdotes, a 101 of sorts, about what it takes to have your head in the clouds. (Kiran, is this where I put a footnote that says “for the uninitiated and un-ingratiating, welcome to IIM-K”?) “The ultimate guide to making it in IIM-K – read it before you live it! ”

    And for the alumni….. is this what you’ve lived through? 😛 In all honesty, it does sound very memorable, with or without the Kiran Maggi.

  12. i have been wanting to write some comment on this, but the sad part is that i havent had the privilege to taste your special maggi 😀 But since you’ve mentioned my name in ur post, I have to say that you’ve done a great job and as usual I am jealous of your writing skills… :))

  13. Great post bro! _Now_ I know why you’re loving your job so much 😀
    Imagining the cloud wafting across the canteen almost made me shiver, so good is the narrative. Write a few more posts na? Maybe about your adopted dog or the manic laughter that used to come from B44 on certain nights 😀

  14. K-Man !! u rock ! loved ur post, especially the footnotes 😉 though i cant say the same about ur lovely concoction (never tasted that)… lets catch up sometime in Jan at Nostalgia ..

  15. Dangnabbit! You got me hungry now!
    I want aloo paratha and gobi manchurian :((

  16. what?! allo paratha and gobi manchurian… and not my “exotic” concoction?! :> tsk…

  17. Kiran Maggi had (still has??) a killer combo. A very interesting read machan…

    Bulls-eye and bread for breakfast; Hot Chocolate at Chechi’s; Mallu Lunch at NC; Mango Shake at 4; “Kiran Maggi” for dinner!!


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