Hey, I am the Maggi Dabba. This is the story of how I died. In short, it was a severe fungal infection. But my life was so much more than that.
I was a shiny ruddy red dabba, with a clear white cover. I was big, solid, and air-tight. I was a showstopper—I would steal the attention of people in every room that had the pleasure of hosting me. In fact, often I was the first thing people would ask for when they would enter. For making late-night Maggi. Perhaps that partly had to do with the place I lived in and served throughout my life—a girls’ hostel overflowing (quite literally) with shameless moochers and hungry gobblers.
But I guess you are bound to start accepting, if not fancying, the people and things around when you’re around them pretty much your entire life. The same was the case with the women who used me. Every other night, you would have someone asking for me. Although I was left in undignified corners of strange rooms after being eaten out of, or recklessly thrown around the sink for days in the hopes of one day being washed properly, I tolerated the women who did this to me. In all honesty, it was mostly for the drama that surrounded their life that I overlooked the dried rotting soap stuck on my shoulder since after the first use.
I have seen friendships being made at the TOI at 2 AM over shared rants of studying, the anxiety of exams and morning drills, hushed gossips of the new couples seen in the parking lot, cribbing over long roll calls and the weather, tears shed over breakups, and predictions of what the future at college holds. I know, just as much if not more than the walls, of the stories made and lived in AIL.
I have seen my share of conflicts also. When I entered the girls’ hostel in the purse of my owner, I had expected to witness at least some little sophisticated pillow fighting, nothing extraordinary. But it seems it was too much to ask for a young hot red dabba. The fights I have seen were anything but sophisticated. I have overheard old residents passionately lecturing juniors with gaalis on how not to suffocate their socks in the washing machine or burn plastic utensils to death in the microwave, I have seen fellow clothes being kidnapped, bottles murdered with aggression. I have met pens and notebooks that no longer remember their home address. I came, I saw, but conquer I never could. I should have known better than to hope for my long survival.
It was the winter of 2020. The last thing I clearly remember was Maggi being sloppily licked off clean from my body. And then I was tossed somewhere in the room. I don’t know what place that was, all I know is that I found myself in a space there where the sun never shone, the broomstick never reached and all you could hear were scary echoes of roommate bitching. I died a slow death. The food decomposed, the fungus kept growing, and eventually, it engulfed me.
That was the story of how I died. The girls found me after a month when my owner finally resolved to clean her room. She broke the news to fellow Maggi eaters in D-51.
My soul still lingers there, reminiscent of memories that will stay here, with me. The people I met will graduate one day, more students will enter the walls of these hostels; and for their service, there will always be Maggi dabbas, just not as desirable as I was.
This story is courtesy of the memories I have shared with my friends. Special thanks to Mehek Sandhu for bringing the red dabba in our lives and Srishti Jha and Sanya Thareja for being fellow 2 AM Maggi eaters. My gratitude to Samyukta and Mannat for the idea, and lastly, Prisha and Nandini for throwing their roommates out of their rooms at late nights and making the red dabba adventures possible.
This post was written by Khushi Singh, IIIrd year