March 03, 2015

The 'Soylent' wish

I don't quite like the name. But I have to admit, I love the concept!
I'm talking about 'Soylent', the new age supplement for the laborious task of not just planning and cooking a meal but also eating and clearing the dishes thereafter.

As a child, I loved watching 'The Jetsons'---the animated series that revolved around an utopian world where everything was uber technologically advanced (as against its extreme counterpart,  'The Flintstones' that was yet another favorite). I dreamt about robotic contraptions and alien discoveries that would make life as interesting and convenient as in the futuristic 'Orbit City'.
But childhood fantasies can be nurtured only for so long. I grew up, and this fascination was grudgingly pushed aside by life's monotonous practicality.
However, years later, I can now see a part of my dream coming to life. Those of you who watched the Jetsons or are a huge fan of Willy Wonka might recall the small pill (consumed by the Jetsons) or the piece of gum by Willy Wonka that constituted a five course meal. Well, did you ever wonder what would happen if dreams met reality?  
Rob Rhinehart did...
Say hello to the 'Meal Pill' or a touching discovery to the same effect.

For those who haven't heard about Soylent  yet, it is a nutritional drink that is supposed to be the perfect meal substitute. For those of you concerned about the taste, it is said to have a rather bland and slightly sweetish taste. So rest assured, you won't gag on it...unless of course you recall the movie 'Soylent Green' while consuming it.
People who have tried it claim that they felt no hunger absolutely for the next five hours after the drink...even while they passed by their favorite patisserie or had a whiff of their favorite food.,
For those who are very excited about using it as a weight loss meal, hold your horses. While the use of Soylent might be accompanied with some weight loss (obviously), this drink is mainly designed for those who are constantly gorging on superfluous food stuffs to match their nutritional requirement. The only reason I have an issue with this fantastic product (other than it costing the moon) is its nomenclature. It reminds me of this freaky movie.  Weird sense of humor these Americans have, no? First they drive you to think in a particular direction, and then keep telling you not to think that way. Sigh!
Anyhoo, controversy-free as it is so far, I am now looking forward to more updates on this Meal-drink that will herald the end of food.

However, have you ever considered what will happen if 'Soylent' becomes the next big thing. Imagine a world where this convenient meal substitute is freely available to all at a very nominal cost. Imagine us hanging out with a bunch of friends, chatting merrily over glasses of Solvent. Coffee-table books would be addressed as 'Soylent table' books. Candle light dinners would be easy to arrange with two tumblers of Soylent (and the candle on the table of course) being the only required preparation.  Her face would glow in the candle light as she slowly sips the colloidal solution until....OMG! The ring! (She'd never see it coming esp with the viscosity of that liquid.). We could all start our day with a glass of 'Soylent' and happily go on without thinking of food until the next meal (which would be...any guesses? TADAA!! 'Soylent' again!)
Besides, no woman in the world would have to hear she is a bad cook, and there would never be any culinary failures. *jumps with joy*

Of course, here we are busy being selfish and ignoring farmers who toil all day with the sweat of their brow to yield a produce, on the sale of which their lifestyle depends. If everybody opted for 'Soylent', then this would not just mark the end of food, but also herald frustration and desperation amongst our feeders who annually plough, till, sow and reap a rich produce for our consumption. If everybody fed on 'Soylent', what use would this produce be? Fertile land would go waste. Market rates would dip. But then again, if 'Soylent' was made economical and available to everyone, maybe these earnest and hardworking farmers could sell their land and buy packets of Soylent to feed on, no?
What did you say? I am talking like Babbar Saheb? "Complete meal for Rs 12 (maybe?)...Noooo..Not Vada Paav...THE COMPLETE MEAL-PILL"

In a futuristic world (not so far away), we would only have to worry about three things Soylent, Kapda aur Makaan (kyunki 'Roti' toh hone wali hi nahi)., Tanmay Bhat, are you listening?

Oh, and how could we forget our very favorite Masterchefs, what would they do if the world decided to guzzle down entire 5-course meals in a single drink? What would Gordan Ramsay have to say to that? Would he be happy binning preparations of 'Soylent' instead of the little-less-than-exemplary dishes made by the contestants? Would our very own Desi 'Sanjeev Kapoor' be alright with sniffing the concoction before tasting and judging the best mix? Would the snobbish 'Ranveer Brar' (Yes, the one who makes cooking seem like rocket science) be happy to comment on the slight differences in the way the powder has been mixed to create variations of the same peculiar preparation? Would 'Vikas Khanna' still grin in the same cute way after he is made to down a glass prepared by each contestant?
Well, well, well...
Now you see why 'Soylent' will never make it...why it will never reach the common man in India...the one who perhaps needs it most.

But at the end of the day, this whole 'Soylent' episode has taught me to realize that the futuristic world she dreamt about as a kid, is just a stone's throws away. So let me get back to dreaming about a bubble-top spaceship in which I will travel to work some day.

After all, nothing happens unless first a


Pooja Mahimkar said...

Intimidating and exiting at the same time. This means I don't have to eat all my veggies but I might also be deprived of the yummy chicken maybe :P

Pri said...

@ Pooja
Sigh! Two sides of every coin...
Maybe they should design a chicken flavored Soylent. What say? ;D

Ashwini Gopalkrishnan said...

very intriguing post

Blasphemous Aesthete said...

I'll buy one when different flavours arrive :D

Blasphemous Aesthete

Pri said...

Welcome to my space, AshG!
I hope my posts continue to intrigue you enough to keep visiting ;)

Pri said...

@ BA
Now that's a smart decision! ;)