If nostalgia had a baseline, it would say ‘taste the thunder’
Nostalgia comes in many forms I’ve discovered. And the latest ‘avatar’ of my nostalgia is a fizzy, brown beverage!
It all started when I lived in Dubai. One week, shortly after Murphyskid was born, I was doing a grocery run. Only that time, it was a social occasion because I had gone with – in addition to buggy, baby et al. – my parents and sister as well (they were visiting). We plodded through the aisles making things more of an event than anything else! We stopped every so often to discuss the merits and demerits of a product. And got some scary stares from efficient looking lunchtime shoppers because we were verging on blocking the aisles during some particularly intense huddles… Overall, we got done without major incident and got to check out. In front of us was an Indian couple with the Indian Cola – ‘Thums Up’!
I shamelessly accosted the lady and asked her where she found it. The question, of course, created an immediate bonding situation. She beamed at high voltage and pointed me surreptitiously to the place she found it. I ran towards it with arms outstretched and fetched not one but two six-packs because you didn’t generally find that beverage in Dubai. To make things even more superlatively excellent, I then moved to Toronto and found it front and centre in the Indian store coolers! So it’s become a bit of a ritual to get a couple of cans every so often. *Sigh* so good!
Now to fully understand the fuss, I think you need to be brown, a strong brown-o-phile or have grown up in India. A friend of mine, who’s none of those things, said he suspects the manufacturers add curry powder to it, and that’s why quite so many of us buzz around it like bees :P.
I have no clue what they put in it. What I do know is that it taste like home to me! It takes me back to the days you didn’t get to have a ‘soft-drink’ often and when you did it was usually a celebration, small or big. When you had to buy one, pay a deposit for the bottle that was almost as much as the drink, then return it to the same store to get your money back. Memories of school canteens where if you hit the jackpot for some reason, you could traipse up to the counter and ask for a ‘Thums Up’ or Gold Spot (that’s the orange drink). They would get it for you from the refrigerator in the back and open it before handing it over. None of this twist to open stuff from self-serve coolers on those special days. Proper service!
A couple of years ago, I’d gone to Chennai, where I grew up, and on one of the smaller streets, we saw a tiny, old-school grocer. We pulled over for old times sake and asked for a Gold Spot. He looked at us really oddly and gave us Mirinda. Evidently no one sent us the memo on the fact that they’d stopped production of Gold Spot years ago!
I remember the ad for Gold Spot – it had a baseline that said ‘the zing thing’. Now I don’t know whether it’s because I worked in advertising for ages or not, but I trust ads. When someone tells me something is ‘the zing thing’, I believe them! And now apparently ‘the zing thing’ is dead.
So, before the death of more nostalgia-drivers, I’m hitting the ‘Thums Up’. And remembering those special moments. Because life is much, much too short to forget the good things.
What’s your nostalgia story?