That was long before the British stopped crinkling their noses at "curry" and started loving butter chicken and tandoori, and my mother used to think that anything British or American had to be superior and full of "health": after all, they conquered us and ruled the world, and most Indians around us, including we children, were weak and emaciated. It was a no-brainer.
However, because oatmeal was also expensive and not easy to obtain in India (I think that some relative working abroad or someone coming in from Bombay would occasionally buy her a tin), my mother made her porridge very watery--you had to fish for the oats--so the single tin of Quaker (?) Oats would last for something like ten or twelve servings each over a period of six months for her four children: a grand total of forty servings.
Of course, 98 percent of what we ate was Indian; and once a month, my mother also made us kasaay, a bitter liquid brewed from various roots, and forced us to drink half a glass of the dark brown brew. It was a local concoction, and supposedly served to kill the intestinal worms that would definitely build up to a critical mass every month or so. Yet, anything British or imported, like Yardley talcum powder or Cadbury's chocolates or Britannia biscuits, was automatically superior to the local brand (in the case of chocolate, it was the only brand, for it took something like 40 years of independence before India started making its own brand: Amul). In the case of chocolates and cheese (the only brand we knew then was Kraft processed cheese, which came in round tins), we didn't need persuasion: it proved itself.
I don't know if the entire industry and mythology around oats and oatmeal is hokum, and whether oats have any nutritional value at all. All the same, they are easy to boil, and come in a tin, and I can't afford to order in breakfast at this point in my life. Our usual morning breakfast in Mangalore was rice congee, along with a leftover curry, or mango pickle, or coconut chutney, and/or pappad; it is the "hot" part of the oatmeal porridge that resonates with me; I hate eating a cold breakfast, though the German breakfast of breads and various hams, cheeses, and sausages, is not bad. And though I suspect the local rice porridge, bobor, is healthier than my plain oatmeal porridge, I suppose the oatmeal will continue for a while.
As will mental colonialism, a subject that I've written about in many books, including The Revised Kama Sutra and The Last Catholic Colony.