A brief at work triggered memories from long ago. From pre liberalization days when a burger was a fancy dish you read about in an Archies magazine and a Cappuccino was to be had only in the lounge of a five star hotel.
Growing up in the early eighties meant that our choices were limited and treats were meant for special occasions.
A Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, Fruit & Nut, Uncle Chipps, Poppins, Gems, 5 Star and the occasional pack of Brittannia’s Bourbon biscuits were the highlights of our childhood days. The once a fortnight Gaylords or Kwality ice cream treat that dad took us out for were of course hallowed events.
One of our summer vacation pastimes was to create treats for ourselves and then share the treat and trick with friends. Freezing roohafza and making red cubes, having chaat masala mixed with a little water, raw mangoes with sugar, salt and a lil chilly, making sandwich biscuits with good old marie and jam. And the most delicious of all, putting cubes of chilled butter into the sugar jar and popping the concoction into our mouth and let the whole thing melt.
I remember the time my younger sister came up with an innovative way of eating bhujia which we used to find too hot otherwise. She would take chilled water in a bowl, add a spoonful of bhujia to it and then quickly eat the bhujia before they became too soggy. It was a fantastic idea which allowed us to eat up all the ‘adults only’ namkeens that were stashed at home. That was till mom found out what we were up to and told dad. For a change he didn’t say anything. Guess he liked the way his kids came up with a solution ;)
Making Rasna with mom was one great not to be missed adventure, the mixing of the colour from the little glass jar was the highlight. And the day mom asked me to make some for guests at home – the feeling of pride I think still lingers somewhere.
Even our birthday parties used to be different – bread rolls, sandwiches, chhole bhature, puri aloo, chicken biryiani all made at home would be the highlights. Invited moms would gamely help out the hostess mom in making the puris and sharing recipes.
Dads would sit in a corner playing cards, having a drink and also keeping an eye on the kids. All that came from shops were the chips and the round or square pineapple vanilla cake with our name in red jelly on top. Then like now the cake was always polished off and declared so yum though all the cakes in the neighborhood came from the same shop.
On trips out of home one great thing to look forward to were the Campa Cola and Gold Spot bottles – one each – no more, no less.
These dalliances down Bachpan gully make even a dreary Monday worthwhile. Memories that continue to enthrall inspite of the limited means and even more limited choices.
I wonder if our children will be as lucky. Will they look back with as much fondness or will their materialistic minds tell them to just shrug and move on.