The last decade before the advent of the internet as a commonplace commodity was the best ever to grow up in. The rapid leaps in technology after the millennium year has hardly left us with time to enjoy one brilliant invention before something bigger and better came to occupy our mind space and fill us with wonder.
This is perhaps why, while clutching on to the last decade of the past century we associate with nostalgia, give it fancy names and celebrate who we are because of that. #90sKids is a hashtag that trends all over social media, making it the common collective term for all things nice and sweet that happened during 1990-1999.
I decided to do the best thing I knew, as an ode to this decade… I decided to blog on the theme of nostalgia and record my memories in the permanent digital format.
As to the idea credit: yet again, a blessed feeling to have long conversations that result in wonderful ideas and themes. Thanks to Janani Srikanth for all that and more. ❤️ It was a conversation with her about nostalgia and her subsequent prompting that led to this post and will hopefully develop into more posts on this theme in the following days
As a person who was born at the beginning of that wonderful decade and grew up enjoying the idyllic neighbourhoods which were slowly morphing, I was at the cusp – the past and its now-antiquated values, and the excitement of experiencing many new major inventions first-hand as soon as they appeared.
I enjoy the swanky malls and their food courts that sell cold-pressed juices in frosted glasses as much as I had loved the local fruit juice/ice-lolly shop in my school neighbourhood that was my favourite summertime haunt. And it is always a joy to see something that reminds me of those times. Even the simplest candies can store and bring the most wonderful memories.
This was how I felt when I recently had a neighbour come to me, and hand me this treat with a huge flourish and a victorious grin.
“The local shop is stocking it!” she said, and my eyes widened in delighted surprise.
As soon as I held this in my hand, my mind flooded with so many brilliant and vivid memories.
Me running home after exams, telling my mother that the paper that day was easy and her handing over a Mango Bite from her never-ending stock with a smile.
Or those occasions when my favourite aunt had a bunch of these and would promise it to the child who was the quietest amongst cousins, only to eventually end up giving us all one each. That the quietest child would invariably fight at this unfairness and earn another Mango Bite is a different story!
This simple candy reminds me of moments I had not actively segregated and stored while they happened but those I cherished and loved as memories. The recall of simpler times when a sour candy was a reward and the green twin of the Mango Bite (the Kachcha Mango Bite) was a wonderful alternative for those who did not like this sweetness.
Starting with the standard 25 paise Aasai chocolate to the 1 rupee Boomer Bubblegum, we were all taught to appreciate the treats when they were given. It had more to do with teaching us to accept gifts gracefully and work for rewards, more than the cost involved.
Maybe the previous gen could have pampered us with everything they had, giving us all that we had ever wanted in our half-formed dreams and whimsical wishes. But I doubt that would have given us such strong memories where we appreciate and love the associated goodness after years.
The Mango Bite, to me, is not just any candy. It symbolised the reward system, it brought back memories of big glass jars that were behind tacky steel bars in local petty shops, the drawstring pouch of candies in my aunt’s almirah, the German Silver snack box that my mom kept on the highest shelf so I could not take one as and when I pleased…
Mango Bite was that candy that made me want to reach higher, literally and figuratively, and even now, as I got this and looked across at my mother, our faces bloomed into identical smiles. Needless to say, she immediately grabbed both the candies we got and set me a chore for which this was the reward on completion.
Some things never do change! And that is how I would always want them.
P.S.: I got the candy like I always knew I would. Because amidst all their strict upbringing, they never did allow us any disappointment after all.
P.S. 2: And since the internet is all things good too (I mean, sometimes) here is the link to get yourself a hundred odd of these wonderful candies. Yes, it is live on Amazon. And yes, it tastes just as same. Go Wild.