The supermarket, sweet shops and even the medical store and the pan shop near my house stock and sell imported chocolates like ferroro-rochers, hershey’s and nestle. All these come in exotic flavors jacketed in enticing and enchanting glossy wrappers. Needless to say, at exorbitant rates.
The children of today sink in their teeth into expensive chocolate bars,but they don’t have the pleasure of experiencing the lip smacking wispy,cream colored soan papdi , panju mittai (cotton candy) jeera mittai ( sugar coated cumin), eli mittai ( sugar coated peanuts and laced with color) , kamarcut (made with jaggery and coconut gratings)jujubes ( fruit flavored gummy candies). We used no sanitisers and most of them would come hygienic.
Way back in the 70’s and 80’s when I was a child, There used to be a hawker pedaling on the streets of kutcheri road in mylapore ( My grand parents place) in his specially designed tricycle which held a petromax light, a huge dome shaped glass jar and a brass bell which would go ding….ding…. ding… to announce his arrival.
Past 10 in the night, I and my cousins would rush out of the house to buy those wispy, cream colored sweet called soan papdi.(they were not held together like Haldiram fudges you get today). He would pull out a small amount of it and place it on a square piece of paper all for just 20paise then. After being satisfied with our share, we would rush to the terrace of our patti’s house to sit on the stone bench and relish the sweet under the star spangled sky and try catching the beam of the lighthouse which came with every rotation.
Hmmmm… the wispy soan papdi would simply melt in our mouth like snow……the sweet costless luxuries were simply divine which no hershey’s or Mars can match.
And all those cotton candy's that I ate at the exhibition, cubbon park and Lalbagh. The wide circular machine used to keep running and the stick kept in the middle would be rolled into a pink flossy candy.It would leave behind a rose pink color on your tongue and I and my sis would go around asking every body if our lips and tongue have turned pink. Oh!those were such sweet days.
Sadly, the children of today know not of such sheer bliss and miss such simple pleasures.
Of course, we too have had our share of Cadbury five stars, nutrine and parle products but those native mittais are a different taste altogether.