The Gift of the Maggi | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 12, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 12, 2015


The Gift of the Maggi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes up as one of the top of ten criminals. That is according to Google. There has to be a bug in the algorithm. After all, the top ten US criminals on a Google search does not show George W Bush.  So, is it that the Modi-Google thing is a Freudian slip? That can't be so either as I'm sure even Google has a statute of limitation and does not go (all the way) back to 2002 Gujarat. Nevertheless, Google is no frugal when it comes to apologising. And yes, Google is not banned in India either. Perhaps Nestle could have followed suit with its Maggi Noodles.

Speaking of which, I observe a two-minute silence for my favourite two-minute noodles. Then, fearing a similar recall in Bangladesh, I go and stock up on two years' supply of Maggi. Over reaction for sure for fearing an unlikely recall. After all, cigarettes and bidis are not getting banned/recalled anytime soon – they must surely contain vitamins and protein.

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So, echoing from 3 Idiots, “all is well” on both sides of the border. Time for Modi and Mamata's trip to Dhaka. The hot line between Delhi and Kolkata is red hot as Mamata Banerjee answers Modi for the umpteenth time, “Yes, yes! I'm going to Dhaka, ok? Now chill – go and have a bowl of Maggi Noodles!” 

Recalling Dhaka 2011: 3M, i.e., Manmohan, Mamata and Messi, turns into M&M, with Mamata bailing out. Now it's Dhaka 2015: 3M, i.e., Modi, Mamata and Maggi, once again turns into M&M, with Maggi bailing out of the headlines. That's fine. All eyes are on the duo and especially their busy schedules, so as to plan around traffic in Dhaka. 

While PM Modi basks in the limelight, we all look up to Mamata as though she's a chaplain. But she remains a Charlie Chaplin, being mum on the mum (water) of Teesta. Maybe Partex can use her as their brand ambassador for Mum water…In Kolkata, she is all mood, in Dhaka she is all mute. Mamata shows no mamata towards Teesta. We should have pressed her a bit. Who knows, maybe as a gesture of goodwill, she would have agreed to sharing the recalled Maggi Noodles. I would have grabbed that offer, stating that the only way to boil this lot of the instant noodles would be with the water of Teesta.

Did we really expect anything different from her with the West Bengal elections a year away? Any concession on her part would have been like Benjamin Netanyahu pledging to withdraw from settlements right before the Israeli elections.

But progress has been made. The Land Boundary Agreement is a landmark deal. Bangladesh gets soil. Bangladesh gets water. Ok, ok, that's salt water from the redrawn Maritime Boundary. We'll need to wait till at least the 2016 West Bengal elections to see if we get any sweet water from Teesta. 

Countdown 2016. Didi – here's your chance to be in Google's list of top ten popular South East Asian leaders. Forget Maggi, give us the Gift of the Magi, we will surely then fondly refer to you as Mama(tees)ta Banarjee…

The writer is an engineer at Ford & Qualcomm USA and CEO of IBM & Nokia Siemens Networks Bangladesh turned comedian (by choice), the host of NTV's The Naveed Mahbub Show and the founder of Naveed's Comedy Club. 

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