Shikari Shambu and Suppandi
And so Im talking about times when getting a Tinkle in hand brought me the joy of winning a lottery. And we had classes such boring classes in the afternoon sessions after we have had heavy lunch and couldn’t help but feel sleepy on top of getting bored, it was the perfect combination that you didn’t know what to do first. That’s when if not for that Tinkle in hand to creep it inside the textbook and pretend as if to read from the textbook, I would have definitely fallen asleep flat on the desk. That was Tinkle, due to which I got spared all those prospective caning for falling flat on the table asleep while the boring classes were on.
My favorite in Tinkle included ‘Shikari Shambu’ and ‘Suppandi’. The stories reflected the life and simplicity of rural India and the simple lives of people in those times. Just once have I got caught for my Tinkle in the textbook adventure when I couldn’t control myself and burst out laughing at a Suppandi tale and my teacher naturally wondered what could be with the loud laugh especially when she was all emotional teaching about the ‘Jalian Wala Bagh Massacre’ in Social studies. Anyways there was a caning massacre for me followed by that incident and after that, I never attempted to take the Tinkle out during Social Studies class till the following year when I got promoted to next grade by when we had a different teacher to teach the subject. Today also when I think of Suppandi and Tinkle I think of Social Studies and somewhere in the corner of my mind, the ‘Jalian Wala bagh massacre’ too.
Maroon was for Grape..
And the next thing that made the afternoon classes equally fun was the Poppins candy, not just Poppins candy as how it was branded but ‘Parle Poppins’ like how we used to call it just because that was how it was called when it appeared in the Doordarshan ads. Parle we all knew so well with ‘Parle-G’ biscuits and ‘Parle Poppins’ out of those ads. Wonder why that kind of brilliant branding exercise doesn’t exist anymore to etch a brand so much into people’s minds. Anyways that is not the point, those Parle Poppins were so bloody tasty. Since we were boarders we were not allowed to go out of the campus or visit the school canteen from where the days scholars could buy the Parle Poppins, after they have had the standard Kerala lunch ‘Parotta and Beef curry’. The candy pack had flavors such as Orange, Melon, Grape, and Pineapple among which the grape being my favorite was Maroon in color. A pack of Poppins used to cost 30 Paise for a pack that consisted of 10 or so small candy tabs. And since we boarders had no access to the canteen I used to get it through my friend every day by paying daily 50 paise, of which the remaining 20 paise and half the bar of the candy pack was his share. The half-pack candy that we used to discreetly sneak out from the pockets and pop into the mouth one by one to melt it all the way to nothing to get the maximum of it during the boring lessons. And we used to tell each other the current flavor we were on as it melted away in our mouths.
Those were times..
Parle Poppins in the mouth and reading Tinkle inside my Textbook was the most adventurous I had ever got to those days and I still feel proud of my courage as I look back and think of the smile it used to bring on my face as I devoured the combined joy from them, in a boring social studies class, in the afternoon after a heavy lunch.