Haldiram's, that one name fills all Indians with pride besides the fact that 34% of Microsoft employees & 36% of NASA employees are Indians as attested by those whatsapp forwards, a numerical fact that has never changed since the past few decades. Why? Because, f**k attrition.
For my international readers, Haldiram's is a big corporate in the F&B segment in India with prominent exports abroad.
Recent reports state that the US regulatory body FDA has declared a ban on majority of Haldiram's products as they were deemed 'unfit' for consumption. A month back Maggi, a product by Swiss food giant Nestle was banned in India by regulatory authorities due to the high lead content found in it after multiple tests. Left with no great choice fellow Indians have Top Ramen Noodles left to drown their sorrows in.
Recognizing Top Ramen Noodles as 'noodles' is potentially the 2nd biggest setback to Indian cuisine in recent years, the first one being Sanjeev Kapoor shaving off his moustache.
It's a known fact that you can add Haldiram's aloo bhujia to any dish under the sun and it will become palatable. It's undoubtedly the aam aadmi's cocaine. Like any outraged customer I marched straight into the kitchen to finish any half eaten packs of Haldiram's snacks so that I could outrage in peace happily ever after.
As a consumer I have braced myself completely, as the worst is yet to come. For all you know the divine Kelloggs Chocos might be adulterated with healthy things like 'soya' or any other satanic substance or for that matter if Frooti gets revealed as basically egg yolk with mango flavouring.
A senior official from Haldiram's commented that "some pesticides are not permitted in USA unlike India and our products are completely safe". Bet Hitler used a similar line to draw consensus for his gas concentration camps "Gas concentration camps may not be permitted in other countries but they are safe & fool proof, trust me. I successfully eliminated thousands of Jews."
Food contamination in India is acceptable till the time a random westerner wearing a lab coat assures us on national television that what we are consuming is safe. What is a bigger concern for me is that companies with spooky bunnies as their mascot are allowed to co- exist on the planet without any legal ramifications. No offense, Lijjat Papad.
In the coming days extensive PR campaigns will be run by both Maggi & Haldiram's to pacify their consumer base. I am glad that Haldiram's didn't ever have an A list Bollywood star as a brand ambassador lest the nation would have held him/her to ransom for quality testing issues.
Social media is a potent tool undoubtedly. Within minutes of any product contamination incident your post can get viral. Recently while going through my Facebook timeline I happened to see this picture of a dead cockroach in a chocolate ice cream pack. There were some visionary comments below it like- "Bro, they gave you free non veg for the price of pure veg item."
"At least the cockroach didn't end up in a flush. Thug life!"
"Cocoa is main ingredient in chocolate. Most of it comes from Africa, so avoiding anything chocolate related will save you from Ebola."
The way things are heading I am sure down the line some noble soul will publish a nostalgic book with high resolution photo collection of cockroaches who went beyond their call of duty and landed up in various Indian delicacies be it paneer masala, butter chicken etc.
Recently a study in Delhi concluded that street food contains high level of faecal matter. This study indeed raises existential questions on the foodies who suffer from the 'my pani puri guy has more water flavours than yours, Bitch!' syndrome. Death by diarrhea for the while.Off to gorge on some hand sanitizer filled pani puris. Till we meet again, Adios!