The Year In Review: Mess Committee

Members: Balaji Harish Iyer (Convener), Pragya Mishra, Bharat Gupta (Co-Convener), Rangashree T.K., Nishtha Sinha, Purushottam Mishra, Mohit Mehta, Malavika Parthasarathy, Shashank Meena, Trishaa Bansal.
Nominated members: Shashank Meena, Maloth Chandrashekher, Yashika Singh
Resigned: Maloth Chandrashekhar, Kritika Vidyarthi.

This past year has been a challenging one for the Mess Committee. After the mess contractor was let go, the Committee, which was previously admin-oriented, was suddenly thrust into the role of food-provider for 400 hangry (that’s hungry and angry) students. It was not an easy task, by any means, but they have risen to the challenge admirably. From procuring prodigious amounts of food on a daily basis, to experimenting with the menu, the Mess Committee has certainly shaken things up. We’d like to list out some of their accomplishments this past year:

  • Feeding the entire student body.
    Given that this meant that the members of the Mess Committee had to personally oversee the delivery of food every day, manage accounts, and so on and so forth, we’d say that they’ve done a pretty good job of it.
  • Diversification in the menu.
    The Committee has foregone the tried-and-tested route of primarily North Indian food (with South Indian and Chinese cuisine thrown in), and has attempted to introduce new delicacies in the mess. They’ve tried to incorporate cuisine from Bombay (Tuesday morning vada pav), Rajasthan (Gatte ki sabzi), and most importantly, the much-requested mutton.
  • Special food for festivals.
    The Committee has gone out of its way to add flavor to different festivals by preparing special delicacies. Whether it’s mutton on Eid or momos on Buddh Purnima, I’m sure we can all agree that this is a welcome addition to normal mess fare.
  • Student suggestions
    Perhaps best of all, the Mess Committee is finally accepting suggestions and incorporating student opinion into what goes into the menu. The best example of this is probably the sudden inclusion of mango shakes. Recently, they’ve also instituted a complaints register where students can list the reasons why they felt the food was subpar.

However, they still need to work on the following areas:

  • Healthy food.
    We understand how operating on a low budget and producing industrial-sized amounts of food can make procuring healthy alternatives a bit impossible, but surely there’s a way to cook without all that excess oil? The sheer amount of liquidized vegetable fat in the sabzi can probably stop a human heart.
    The mess has attempted to deal with this issue, however – seasonal fruits now accompany breakfast, and milk is now available daily. The committee is also rationing oil (in order to prevent overuse), and starting a program whereby those members of the Committee who know how to cook will oversee the preparation of food, in order to ensure that excess oil is avoided.
  • Abrupt changes in the menu.
    We’re told that this is because of problems with the supply, but still, walking in expecting [*insert name of delicious dish*] and finding soya chaap is not something that we ever want to do again.
  • Hygiene.
    Oh, Mess Committee. The previous contractor was shown the door because students kept on finding extra protein (read: cockroaches) in their food. We don’t have cockroaches anymore, but we do have random bones in vegetarian dishes, and droopy chicken feathers in chicken (for all the vegetarians: Contrary to popular belief, us savage meat-eaters do not prefer chicken with the feathers still on), occasionally accompanied by cutlery that exudes a positively nauseating odour. While the mess staff do occasionally wear hairnets or caps, we fear that hygiene still has a long way to go.

Ever found remnants of cabbage stuck on your plate? One of the reasons behind this is the fact that students continually take plates upstairs and fail to bring them back down, causing the residue of last night’s dinner to be stuck to the plate by the time it’s washed next morning, and making it extremely difficult to scrub them. Yes, food on your cutlery is still disgusting, but perhaps we too have a part to play in this.

All in all: Kudos to the Mess Comm. They did what many of us thought could not be done, and successfully fed four hundred ravenous students on campus. While they have had their share of trouble and controversy – whether it concerns the infamous Buff-Pork debate or the separate kitchens for vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, or even the remarkably infuriating (but nevertheless effective) Banishing of Spoons – they’ve come out on top. This is one of the few student bodies that has gone above and beyond. Congratulations, Mess Committee, and good job.

 

(A previous version of this article contained certain errors with regard to the members of the Mess Committee, which have now been corrected.)

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5 thoughts on “The Year In Review: Mess Committee

  1. How can you disregard soya chaap? A lot of people like soya chaap. You’re not supposed to let your prejudices affect your journalism.

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    • Apologies. The author of this particular article was going by general opinions that she had been exposed to regarding mess food, and as such was of the opinion that items such as soya chaap and everything on South Indian day were generally unpopular. She may have been mistaken.

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  2. Firstly, the Mess Committee has never been anti-administration. We have always sought, and received the support of the administration for various undertakings. The cooperative system itself was introduced with the backing of Dr. Ranbir Singh, who was more than happy to chuck out the former contractor. We’ve constantly enlisted the support of Mr. Jagbir Dahiya, Dr. Maheshwar Singh, Dr. Risham Garg, etc. for setting up the mess system, deciding timings, etc. Dr. Risham Garg and Dr. G.S. Bajpai played an important role in signing a contract with M/s. Metro Cash & Carry (India) Pvt. Ltd. to supply raw materials to the mess. Mr. Tara, the estate officer, has helped us on various occasions in procuring utensils, gas connection, etc. Mr. Negi and Mr. Lather, the Deputy Registrar (Administration), have been more than helpful in releasing the payments on time, and identifying a suitable contractor to hire the staff from. The Mess Committee has always been a body under the Vice Chancellor’s Student Council, and has cooperated with the administration in every regard. Furthermore, Dr. Ranbir Singh has always expressed his support, and had words of praise for the Mess Committee at every meeting of the Vice Chancellor’s Student Executive Council, the supervisory body comprising the conveners of each committee, the VC and the Registrar.

    Secondly, Ms. Rangashree T.K. was an active member of the Mess Committee throughout 2014-15, Ms. Kritika Vidyarthi was an elected member who resigned, and Ms. Yashika Singh was a nominated member.

    I request you to verify your facts, and check with the members concerned before publishing an article about the Mess Committee on Glasnost.

    Balaji Harish Iyer
    Former Convener
    Mess Committee

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    • Dear Balaji,

      We’re a little confused. We never stated that the Mess Committee was in any way anti-administration. The only reference we can find to the administration in the article is when we said that you were admin-oriented, and by that, we did not mean that you were geared towards the official administration of this college, but rather that your work was primarily composed of administrative duties (such as deciding the menu) instead of the very practical work (sourcing the food) that you decided to take on last year. If you have found any other anti-admin allegations in this article, please do let us know – we’re sure that’s nothing but a misunderstanding.

      Before publishing this article, we approached both the Acting Convener of the Mess Committee, Bharat Gupta, as well as a current member, Mohit Mehta. The points mentioned in this article were all presented before Bharat, and his response has also been mentioned (such as the part where he asked us to help spread the word that part of the reason for dirty dishes was the fact that the student body refused to return the dishes until the next morning). The names of the members of the Mess Committee were taken from the website of the university (www.nludelhi.ac.in) and were confirmed with Mohit – we have noted down the resignations and the nominations as per what we were told by currently active members of the Committee. Nevertheless, we will be happy to correct the same. Thank you for pointing that out. :)

      Lastly, by the reference to “courting controversy”, we were not implying that the Mess Committee had introduced such measures to be controversial – merely that these decisions had, nevertheless, generated quite a bit of controversy. By this, we are referring to the general discussion in college that followed the introduction of the separate kitchens for vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.

      Sincerely,
      Team Glasnost

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  3. Thirdly, we weren’t courting controversy when we introduced separate kitchens. Your own observation is that bones sometimes come out of the vegetarian food. It is exactly to prevent such occurrences that we introduced separate kitchens for vegetarian and non-vegetarian food. If I remember correctly, the instances of bones in sabzi was almost nil after that system was introduced – it was more of a practical decision, than an ideological one.

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