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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Where have all those products gone? (BUSINESS)

I started gaining consciousness about things around me in the mid 80s. Back then, there were all these wonderful products which used to capture the imagination of simple middle class families. A packet of Binnies chips or Amul chocolate would be available only after special performances at school. These products and their advertisements seemed to fully complement and re-inforce the popular culture (Buniyad, Nukkad, Ramayana) and socio-economic period of the 80s (large PSU workforce, no software sector). And these products along with their competitors were rightly priced in sync with the purchasing power realities of the country. Some of these products are still alive but are hard to get hold of. But all the same, their magic remains in the minds of those who were growing up during that period. Here’s my collection of few that have got ingrained into my subconscious:

Soft drinks: While the likes of Thums Up, Limca and even Banta escaped the raucous after liberalization; some like Gold Spot and Citra had to give way. Gold Spot was especially popular among women and children during the 80s (cost around Rs 2 then).

Potato Chips: The prices of potato chips sky-rocketed after liberalization and even on an absolute basis cost more in India today than in the US. But, back in the 80s, a 100 gm chips pack would be available for Rs2.5. And those brands- Binnies, Fun Munch. The Binnies Pudina and the Fun Munch Lemon tasted especially great- I have never tasted such great chips since.

Bikes and Mopeds: The hardy and sturdy Rajdoot bikes with its Sholay like appeal; and who remembers those animals called Mopeds - TVS Luna- kabhi cycle to kabhi scooter: pedals on bikes brought out the softer, down to roots side of the 80s men who had an overdose of Amitabh Mithun violence.

Cameras: Hot Shot cameras were the market leaders. Heir new launches like instant photo out seemed so cool. And yes, I still have a working AGFA black an white camera that looks real chum.

Televisions: Remember all those state owned brands – Uptron, Umtron, Beltron. Crown TV was considered the best by many. Remember those long B&W TVs with shutters, fake color screens for B&W TV and the ultimate- spiral antennas to catch signal from your neighbours paid connection to Shyam dish antennas. (Shyam dishes were used to capture DD signals in areas where terresteral signals were too weak). Also remember those 11 stick antennas fixed on a bamboo pole which one had to rotate manually to get good picture. (TVs were much expensive then)

Magazines: Sportstar (still available?), Sportsworld: Fans used to prepare bound volumes of these.

Sarees: Only Vimal, Garden Vareili.

Chocolates: Amul chocolates with their elegant shiny covers showing the faces of a couple. Coco-na-a Coco-na-ka, Ka Ka Coco-na-ka. Some of these are still available outside big cities.

Locks: Are taley me taley- Harison taleys still available?

With the memory of the detailed nature of these products long gone, I have only a vague fondness for them. Would I have liked them if they were still around today, amidst the glut of competition? I don’t know. But I am sure that two thousand years later, when our remains and ruins are dug up by archaelogists; they will find the remains of these products, and they will classify us as advanced if not less than the Mohenjo Daro civilization.

27 comments:

Jayesh said...

how could you forget "Bole mere lips .. i love uncle chipps"

icecreams like go-cool "anything karega for go-cool"

and all those gripe water ads ..nowadys kids start directly with coke and pepsi..

Shivaji said...

Icecream me Vaadilal icecream...

Uncle Chips was the only available brand for some time; are they off the arket now?

Anonymous said...

So 2000 years from now,mankind will not be there??

The Great Ganesha said...

what about simba chipniks? or were they before your time? excellent masala potato chips (dripping in oil - but delicious!).

and also does anyone remember sosyo? those soft drinks with a ball on top and you have to push the ball into the bottle and then drink it.

and what about "big-bite"? it was this short-lived pita-bread-type thing with a cutlet inside. mmmm....

oh, i could go on...

Shivaji said...

@intellectual

I can't recall the products you mention. Also my memory is very specific to Easterm India and some national brands. There must have been many regional products which were succesful then and extinct now.

shakester said...

phantom ciggarettes
fatafat candy (if you could call it that!)
fun flips (still surviving)....

Anuradha said...

I remember I used to have Luna in mid 80s, and its 'shaan se bolo, chal meri luna'...

Swapna said...

I remember the Woodwards Gripe Water - with all the grannies in the ad.

And Uncle Chips too...

Those good old days... :-)

mahboob said...

i like the way you maintain your blog, good to read stuff i must say... job well done.

By the way i am dhiman's class friend and he introduced me to your blog URL.

One Helping said...

hehe..

i remember the "masterjee dabur lal dant manjan" routine pretty vividly.. guess the product is still around..

Kaps said...

Sportstar is still available. it underwent a redesign recently and has now been launched in a tabloid format.

Aps said...

Nice compilation. Remember Campa Cola sold in and around Delhi. And Sportstar used to carry a poster every edition which everyone would try to get hand on

The Marauder's Map said...

great post. And shakester, thanks for reminding me of Phantom cigerettes! Those long white sweet confections with a realistic red edge at one end. I would finish off a pack in a day, puffing on them stylishly and feeling very wicked. I think they were a precursor to being a ciggie addict later in life!

Shivaji said...

@mahboob

Hi Mahboob.. How is dhiman doing

Anonymous said...

"jo bhi OK sabun se nahaye kamal sa khil jaye"

New Dik On The Blog said...

bhool na jaana .. ece(?) bulb hi laana.

Khaitan .. sirf naam hi kafi hai.

Big Fun bubble gum.

Vicco turmeric .. nahi cosmetic.

Rahul said...

Remember the Haajmola Ad? Kids stealing haajmola and sneaking under the bed in a hostel? Then their "master" catching them? Used to come b/w sunday mornings TV shows.

Product-wise my fondest memory of childhood is the "Big Fun" chewing gum, mainly for the scorecard inside wrap with cricketer's photo.

Used to get very happy when got Kapil or Srikant and dejected when got someone like Logie, Crowe etc..

Childhood days and growing up in the 80s were great.

mahboob said...

hi Shivaji,

He is ok. Busy with his work and complaining about the work culture over there. :)

mahboob

pd said...

oh, and crax!!!! anyone remember crax?

Vikas said...

How about Swad with the atrociously miscast Pooja Bhat?

Bhojan ke baad Swad
Haajme ki goli Swad
Khatti meethi goli Swad
Naye whatchamacallit bag mein Swad

Ayurvedi tatwon se bani
Swad ki goli Swad..AHA..swad swad..

Vikas said...

Man, there are so many I can think of. Stuck deep within my fast-balding head somewhere..

1) How about the Dara Singh endorsed 'Everest cement ki chaadrein? Pachaas varshon se utni hi tikaooo'

2) And...ECE bulb?

'Ba ba ba ba bulb,
zyada de ujaala dino din chalne wala,
ECE bulb aur ECE tube'

abeer said...

Who can forget the comics of yore. Target, Indrajal comics, Nagraj, Chacha Chaudhary(*), etc etc!









(*) Chacha Chaudhary's mind works faster than a computer.
And when Sabu is angry, a volcano in Jupiter erupts.

kuch unkahi... said...

******jab mein chotta bachha tha
baddi shararat karta tha...
. ..........................
meri chorri pakdi jaati
roshni deta Bajaj


******lifebuoy hai jahan
tandurusti hai wahan

****** chik-chik-chik CHICKLETS

Diksha M. said...

i still remember fun munch! in fact i was just remembering the taste of it today! n that's how i came across ur blogsite. he he.. i was doing a search on FunMunch!!

do you remember Daddy's?

Anonymous said...

fun munch, binnys in green n pink packs...campco white chocolate in a brown pack with a cute red heart on it...really miss d gud old times n these unforgetable delights which were available only after special performances as rightly said by u......

Samiran Sengupta said...

I have visited this site only today but have enjoyed the content.

It seems that most of us are quiet nostalgic about what we grew up with.

Please continue the good work.
Since I was a foodie, "Any thing si possible with Nikki Tasha's kitchennette' rings a bell along with all those you have mentioned. In fact Fun Munch had their factory on the tara Tala road in Kolkata and I used to pass through that area quite often....

Nilshikha Ghosh said...

how all you guys have forgotten
"lijjat paaapad
hahaha hahaha
lijjat paapad"
those two cute rabbits with big teeth!



ohh marvelous blog site..........smell of sweet memories!!!!thanks a bunch to all for sharing....