Maggi lovers in Delhi are having a hard time finding packets of the instant noodles. In fact, one needs to have the right contacts to be the able to buy a packet of what has been India’s favourite snack for years.
A visit to a big departmental store in Connaught Place to buy Maggi turned to be a futile exercise. Packets of Maggi were nowhere to be seen. On hearing the word Maggi, the owner of the store turned hostile and suspicious. Other stores responded similarly, with some even seemingly scared to mention the M-word.
Stores in Defence Colony, too, cleared their shelves of instant noodles. The owner of one of these stores said that the Nestle took back stocks of Maggi a few days ago. He said that though the noodles were gone, demand and requests persisted. “The demand has been the same. Only Maggi noodles’ pack have been taken away. Cup noodles are still available,” he said.
Things were different at Rajouri Garden.
There, at a store, the owner initially claimed that he had no stock. But later, and after a little insistence, the owner explained that because of the ban he was not selling Maggi openly but for ‘old customers’ he would provide one pack.
Inquiries made at a known shop in Mayur Vihar elicited similar responses.
Surprisingly, the instant noodle was served without any hesitation at a well-known eating joint at Shanti Niketan in south Delhi. The man behind the counter, however, grudgingly admitted that he was not permitted to sell Maggi and as a replacement was serving a different brand of noodles cooked the same way.
Yippee noodles manufactured by the ITC and Top Ramen by Nissin seem to be the next best option for street vendors. Using a substitute for Maggi may be convenient for some, but others were left with no option but to close down their stalls. One such stall owner spoke about how he had to close down his shop in Janakpuri the day Maggi was ordered off the shelves in Delhi.
What was strikingly similar in all the responses that HT received was that most of the street vendors were either overtly cautious in giving away information or could not help but vent their disapproval of the government’s ban.
Maggi has always been a favourite among students and adults, and with the ban, the people who made a livelihood on the snack were bearing the brunt.