Canteen diaries: Maggi and coffee

To those lucky chaps who are still in college, and let’s rewind the time for those like me who are living in nostalgia years after graduating…


To those lucky chaps who are still in college, and let’s rewind the time for those like me who are living in nostalgia years after graduating. And believe me, while I am writing this, I am also enjoying my plate of maggi…

It is around three in the afternoon and we are attending the last lecture of the day. The only thought running through our minds is food and canteen. It was very human of one of our friends to think of the people around him, and stash some samosas in his bag for us, which are strictly meant to be devoured as the class goes on. The pin drop silence in the room is disturbed when another professor walks in with a cup of tea and gestures our teacher to come out for a brief talk. Bingo! That’s what we were waiting for.

Quickly, the newspaper is unravelled to take out the now cold as hell samosas from it. It gets circulated in the entire class and almost everyone is able to steal a bite, generously thanking our friend. Just in time, the professor steps back in and the class is resumed. That one bite of samosa has aggravated our hunger and we are impatiently waiting for the man to stop blabbering and let us be free. Apart from food, there’s a lot of catch up with each other on – the group project, documentary film we are supposed to shoot, friend’s birthday party and of course, gossip.

The bell rings and like liberated souls from Nazi’s Concentration Camps, we are not able to contain the magnitude of happiness the moment has brought us, within ourselves. In a jiffy we are out of the class, marching towards the canteen with an urgent gait. Anna has seen us from a distance and ordered his boys to get six plates of maggi and six cups of strong coffee ready.

Why six? Because there are six of us and none of us believe in sharing our maggi and coffee with anyone else. It is not like any other food for us and has a special, hallowed status in our lives. There are certain rules that we follow. We only eat our maggi, along with coffee and vice versa. There is a special khopcha (den) where we sit and savour them in absolute peace, until the last drops. Only intellectual discussions and meaningful talks are supposed to happen over them and no one ever leaves them half finished.

Anna has quite a few options of maggi – with cheese, extra masala, veggies, only onion, onion and chilli, only green chilli and simple, the way it is. Though we have tried them all, we usually stick to the basic one, without any alteration in the taste. Apart from canteen, coffee and maggi also enjoy a special place at homes, whenever there is a plan of group study. Everyone gathers at one of the friend’s homes and this is always pre-decided. On the day of the group study, after loitering around till evening, we reach the destination together, skipping maggi and sachets of Nescafe on our way. No, they are not for dinner because the moms usually prepare something for all of us.

When everyone is asleep, at 2 in the night, one person is given the duty of making maggi, while the other joins in to prepare coffee, and the rest wait in the room with bated breaths. They are the prerequisites for us to study hard and do well in exams. We have never appeared for a paper, without spending the night awake, flavoured with piping hot maggi and intoxicating coffee.

I wish if this had continued for life…


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Canteen Diaries

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