Memory can be stored away anywhere and anything can hold memories and trigger them. The smallest and simplest of things can set off the most complex memories and emotions. For me one such trigger would be, Maggi. Not just any regular Maggi, the kind of one that Arifji put all his heart into while making so that we would feel warm and cozy after a dip in the freezing 5 degree water of the Ganga. He made it very differently, adding tomatoes, onions and “secret masala”.
The thought of steaming hot Maggi on a chilly day takes me back to my trip to Rishikesh in Diwali 2015, which has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. From all the places I’ve eaten Maggi in and all the trips I’ve been for, abroad or in India, the kind of people I met during my 6 day camp in Dev Prayag, Rishikesh that I took with three of my best school friends was the highlight of my trip other than the obvious white water rafting. With no network or electricity in the camp premises one had to travel 5-10 km to make any contact with the outside world and when my mom informed me that Maggi had made its way back to stores back in Bombay, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them. A five minute walk from the camp lay one small shack that sold a few miscellaneous items and food, I couldn’t believe it when we found Maggi in the smallest of shops after the ban and rushed back requesting Arifji to make some for everyone on camp but he agreed only after we promised to eat the lunch he made especially for us as we were the only ones camping. Arifji is one of the sweetest people on camp, he never let us go for any adventure without a hearty meal and made sure we all loved it. The instructors over a day or two had turned into family as we toasted around the bonfire and tried to sing along to the native songs and the tune of the guitar under a magical, starry night. Perplexing how something as simple as food is capable of bringing back memories of so much more than just its taste but something that means so much more, something that makes me feel warm and fuzzy not only in my tummy but heart too.