Exactly a month back, the university was in uproar about the state of the cafeteria. And this was when things weren’t too bad, when we the students thought this was a good time to make things better. We talked about better food in “An Open Letter to the Country Club Management,” about better hygiene in “Filth Affairs,” and about a better system in “Is the Cafeteria to Serve the Students or the Clock?” And we weren’t even complaining. We were looking for improvement.
All this fervor resulted in a visit by the Country Club’s Catering Manager the very next day, followed by a meeting with TIP’s Cafeteria Committee the day after. I happened to be present at that meeting, where we had endless discussion based on the whims and fancies of those present. “All I want for breakfast is a cup of tea,” commented one present, and “that should be enough for the students.” Then again, two-thirds of the faculty representatives of the Cafetaria Committee were not present, so maybe we could dismiss these remarks. And the one that happened to be present, I dare say she never uttered a single word. We talked about hygiene, though to an observer it would sound more like bickering. What is there to argue about cleanliness, you’re either hygienic or your not. However, the meeting did leave us with higher hope – we expected to see changes the very next day. It was also decided that the hostel students would finalize a menu for Ramzan, which they would pass on to the Country Club the next day for costing and approval.
But we’re a democratic institution, and it took a week to finalize the Ramzan menu (“Yaar Abid, in cheezon main time lagta hai,” said those in charge). This menu was probably studied by the Country Club and the TIP Cafeteria Committee (if they bothered), and was summarily dismissed, resulting in a staple diet of unda paratha for Sehri, and pakoras and clotted milk (they claimed it was yogurt) for Iftari for the thirty days of Ramzan.
Sometimes it feels like hitting your head against a brick wall over and over again, a wall we fondly call TIP. What was the purpose of that Cafeteria Committee meeting? Where are the results? Could I see the meeting minutes to see what was discussed so we could hold people accountable?