So I am back to memories. I have ‘A Beautiful Mind’ to remember my childhood just like a black and white video tape. Two incidents stand out when I try to associate my past with chocolates…
So the first one goes back really far into my childhood, I do not even remember if I could walk or talk back then… but it was sometime around 1987 or 88 when I was about two or three years old and I was travelling with my entire family to Nagpur. I remember the point when my eldest brother was standing in the train, and I could see mountains in the background, the train running fast around them, and he had a cigarette in his mouth. Well not the usual cigarette, but a sweet candy cigarette. It was Phantom. As kids we loved ‘smoking’ Phantom Cigarettes. The coolest part of the entire stick was supposed to be the red-painted tip which required some lick polishing to glow like a lighted cigarette end. The fad lasted many years…
And the second one, dates back to circa 1991. The occasion? Well, I stood first in my class and it was the felicitation ceremony. I got a few certificates and a pack of chocolates. As a kid I was obviously ‘happier’ to get the chocolates than the certificates! So eager to have them that I had opened the pack right there and had a few. On reaching home, my dad, like a very good dad instructed me not to have so many of them in one go. And they were locked in the cupboard. I would get one a day. Fine. Those chocolates were amazing. They had a sugary butter scotch flavour, much like the Lacto King (another gem of a childhood and adolescent memory). So about a week later, I got hyper curious to open the cupboard and have more than my share of 1-a-day. As soon as I came back home from school, I rushed to open the cupboard only to find, to my horror, none of the chocolates there any more! Apparently somebody ate them all before I could or donated them to poor kids. I have never known what happened with those chocolates. I never dared ask my parents in the fear of being questioned. So in the following days, every time I went to a shop, I would secretly look around the jars and shelves to see if they had stock of those chocolates. Years went by, and like a memory that haunted me for long, I would still walk up to the cupboard and open it to check if some of the chocolates from that pack fell out into some hidden corners and crevices in the cupboard. Alas my efforts failed. However, my memory did not fail.
It happened a few days ago, that a displanted desi friend posted this link on her blog ‘Phantom :)’. Amazed at the fact that it is still manufactured and sold, and in the same packing as about fifteen years back, I was quick to Google and find an email id of the manufacturer.
Where in Pune can I find Phantom sweet cigarettes? I have been really looking for it.
Tell me which stores I can find it in Camp, Wanowrie or Kondhwa areas.
Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 5:06 PM
To: Aditya Marathe
Subject: Re: Harnik Phantom Sweet Cigarettes
I was quick to go to Dorabjee’s on MG Road and ask the manager where he has kept Phantom. He took me to a shelf only to find it empty. I told him No Way and asked him to go and search in his godown. He was prompt and came back looking for me with a cart full of Phantoms :) I got many. For myself and a few friends.
I also got a pack of Pan Pasand :) and a pack of Ravalgaon Laco Bonbon (read the second story above!).
The packing for these three things have still remained the same. As they were about 20 years back. Phantom still has mind teaser games behind it. Only, now Phantom comes in a glossy paper pack, which might just be a bit water resistant :)
On a different note:
Phantom contains: Sugar, corn syrup, corn flour, and gelatine along with permitted synthetic food colours and added flavour.
Gelatin is of animal origin.
Costs Rs 3 for a pack of 10 Phantoms.
Warning: Smoking is injurious to health.