Generally the advent of the monsoons also brings with it a number of roadside carts with vendors selling maize, especially its roasted version garnished with a salty masala and a squeeze of lemon.
However, in recent times, the rising popularity of fast foods and soft drinks has led to a decline in the sales of such traditional seasonal food items in places like Dehradun.
Maize, globally known as ‘Queen of Cereals’ is a rabi cash crop popularly known as ‘Bhutta’(roasted) and ‘Mungri’(raw). Unfortunately due to the rise in the temperature, decrease in rainfall this year and the competition from fast-food eateries, the maize vendors in Dehradun are facing the challenge of dwindling number of customers.
Amit Kumar who has been selling maize for the past 15 years says, “I have been selling Bhutta and Mungri for the past 15 years, but this year there has been a major drop in the sales as compared to the previous year. I sell almost a sack and a half of maize per day and my daily earnings vary between Rs 300-500.” When asked about the reason for the decrease in sales he says, “Due to the heat people prefer drinking some cold drinks and lemonade.”
Another maize vendor Sunil Pal who has been in in this business for more than a decade says, “The business is going really bad.
At the peak of the monsoon when I used to sell about two sacks of maize-- with one sack containing up to 80 pieces—daily, now it is difficult to sell even one sack-full in a day. In this fast food era nobody really wants this food.”
Nutritionists and dieticians state that maize is a prominent seasonal cereal which must be included in one’s diet. “There are particular fruits and crops in every season. We should consume them as they are beneficial for our digestive system and make our immune system strong as they are major sources of carbohydrates and fibres. Other than that they also are a storehouse of vitamins, iron, potassium and minerals indirectly,” says Government Doon Medical College hospital dietician Richa Kukreti Dobriyal. Stating her views about fast food she says, “People these days want instant solutions to their needs and same is the case with their food habits. They prefer fast food for it is easily available and tempting but in actuality such food slows down our immune system and breaks down our digestive system.” Regarding maize she advises consumption of boiled corn as it is easily digestible and all the bacteria and viruses die in the process of boiling.