• Vijeta Gawdi

पाँच रुपैया बारा आना

My Journey- Melody to Mars

Old School Candy by Tanya Gawdi


Earlier this year, in the month of January, we decided to go to Vaishno Devi. Well, it's not as audacious as it sounds. We were a family of fifteen members. The trip was long due, quite sometime had passed since we went on a family trip a few years ago.

So my son, is a few days shy of completing three months,I have just gotten out of the much heeded and definitely needed 40 days of postpartum lock-down and I am already packing our bags for the trip, that may I remind you, we are embarking on in peak winters.

I don't know if it was bravado or boredom, the desire or desperation to just get out of the monotony of my routine, I was extremely vociferous in announcing my participation for the trip. I was going to climb up the 14km trek from Katra to the Bhawan with three children. How was I going to do this? I had no clue. How did I do it? About that in some other post some other day.

This post is about something totally tangential.

So we are at the Mumbai Airport (CSIA), terminal T2. We have to take a flight to Delhi and then take a connecting flight to Jammu. The flights gotten delayed due to poor visibility and we have some time to pass. The baby is fed, sleeping in his pram, I buy myself a coffee and take the girls to the duty free shopping zone. We are scouring the aisles to buy a few reasonably priced activity books, toys whatever can get me through the next 7-8 hours.

We pass by the chocolate section, it's huge as most of you must have seen. I look around feeling overwhelmed and woolly with so many options. I tell my 8 year old, I feel like Alice in Wonderland. By now she has laid her hands on the biggest egg of Kinder Joy, that she could manage to pull out from one of the top shelves, I am already nodding my head in disapproval. She looks hurt and dejected, stomping around she passes by me, not before commenting "Mom! You are more like Malice in Wonderland" I am all smiles, much to the surprise of the sales person at the next counter. It's funny, when you are a mother you try to find gratification for your skills as a parent, in almost everything your children do.

What? I stare at him blankly, she is so scholarly and is able to draw parallels from the stories she has read. Kudos to me!! All those nights of bed time reading are paying off. He looks visibly unnerved by my scornful gaze and looks away. That's better:)

As I move on, I can't help but think about how quickly, the market for chocolates and confectionery has grown over the last three decades. I am pulled back in time, as I start recalling the limited options we had as kids.

Now the 80s was predominantly, a toffee era. One of the most popular chocolate brands of those times was Ravalgaon. They had the orange orange toffee, the red raspberry toffee and the yellow mango toffee. There was also the Mango Mood that came in a green and yellow wrapper- हर मूड के लिए! The irresistible Pan Pasand with their witty advertisements-"देखोजी मुझे गुस्सा मत दिलाओ, अपनी बीवी पर हुकुम चलाते हो!" Parle orange candies were equally popular as was the triangle shaped 'Vicks ki Goli' that came in a blue and green pillow pack-"Vicks की गोली लो, खिच खिच दूर करो "

Then again, there was the Swad candy in a brown and silver checkered pillow pack, it was a new twist to savoury candies. Fatafat and Chatmola were the other brands in this category. While Fatafat was darker with bigger balls, Chatmola was slightly on the sweeter side with smaller bright red balls.

Now if you were a smart 9 year old, in the 90s and your mother gave in to your pleading and begging, (Oh! yes stomping was not invented as yet. Any vociferous demand by the child was met by an equally forceful लप्पड़ from the mother:)) for toffee, you would choose the Parle Poppins or the RolaCola candy, cause that would mean getting 8-10 toffees in a pack.

There were toffees and then there were chocolates. Long before the Dairy Milks of the world ruled the shelves at provision stores, there were the more affordable and equally satisfying Kismi- red waxy wrapper, Melodys-brown and golden wrapper and Eclairs-red and brown wrapper. What made these chocolates tastier? मेलोडी खाओ, खुद जान जाओ. This list would be incomplete, without the mention of Harniks Phantom white mint cigarettes, with the red tip on one end. How we enjoyed, pretending to smoke and eat the chalky candy bit by bit. I now wonder, why nobody ever sued the company for exposing and encouraging the kids to smoke, all I can be is thankful that nobody actually did:)

As I finish the last sip of my coffee, this jingle is playing in my head "ये टॉफी इसमे है कॉफी, पेरी कॉफी बाईट "

The flights being announced, the 5 month old is beginning to stir. I walk back to the chocolate aisle, pick the giant Kinder Joy egg, pay for it Rs 750/- if l recall correctly. Heck! I could have gotten four years of my candy supply at that price, in the 90s. I walk over to my daughter who is by now in line for boarding, she is excited about handling her boarding pass all by herself. Her face lights up when she sees the egg. My reward is a tight hug and a big loud kiss.

I know the options now are many and not inexpensive, but I'll save the "Let's not waste too much money" Wala gyan for some other day.

Today, this is me gifting her, a childhood memory to cherish deep in her heart and someday when I am long gone, she will remember

The Alice who gave her a bite of Wonderland!!

Love you Dad:) Miss you a bit more today:) Miss the 20 paise coins, I stole from your pocket to buy those open, unwrapped, sold in stained glass bottles, 5 for 20 paise mint candies.

Your Kunkunia:)

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