Monday, June 29, 2009


Although I have always felt that ‘scratch’ sounds rather offensive, I have felt that winning something for free was a splendidly fun thing to happen – a pure slice of luck, based not on any achievement of the receiver, but solely and wholly on the munificence of the giver.

When we were children, it was customary for us to visit our mamabari (mother’s brother’s house) once a week. Usually it would be a Friday or Saturday afternoon, and we would return home in the evening. Walking towards the bus-stop from mamabari, we would inevitably stop at a shop selling soft-drinks and cigarettes. Baba would buy his usual packet, and light up one cigarette from the smouldering coil of coconut-rope hanging beside the shop precisely for this purpose. And we would clamour for our weekly quota of empty calories – I would have my Goldspot which left my tongue all orange and my insides all bubbly and happy, Bhai (brother) would have a bottle of the more substantial Milkose (chilled milky drink) or some mango-flavoured syrup.

Once, the manufacturers of Goldspot announced that under every cap (of the bottles), there would be a picture of some character from Jungle Book (of the Rudyard Kipling-transformed-by-Walt-Disney-variety). If we managed to collect the requisite unhealthily-high number of such caps, we could exchange them for posters and caps and other unnecessary but tempting things.

It seemed a perfect case of scratch-and-win, or rather, poke-and-win. I would grab my Goldspot, ask the shop-keeper to hand over the cap, poke out the rubber lining from under it, and…become the proud possessor of a tiny, crinkly-edged picture of Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera, Ra and their other jungle-pals.

But my once-weekly quota made for a very slowly growing collection. To add to my impatience, my brother flatly refused to switch over to Goldspot to aid the growth of my cap-collection. Finally, after quite a few weeks of solitary cap-collecting, the shop-keeper came to my rescue. On hearing about my plight, he reached down, and from the debris at his feet handed me a whole bagful of soft drink bottle caps, which included a very large number of Goldspot caps as well.

I was overjoyed at my sudden bounty and spent a blissful hour or so poking out an entire jungle-full of pictures from under the caps. In fact, so pleased was I with my dozens of Sher Khans and suchlike that I totally refused to part with them for the sake of a piddly poster or two. And so, the means themselves became an end for me, and I kept my plastic menagerie for a long long time, fingering their crinkly circular smoothness and smelling their faint orangey tang.

Alas, Goldspot has long breathed its last (being a victim of global business politics – its owner, Parle Agro, sold the brand to the cola-giant Coca Cola Company, whose orange brand Fanta gradually pushed Goldspot into obscurity and annihilation). But the scratch-and-win freebies are flourishing, the latest, in my case, being a blog-tag awarded to me by Double Dolphin.

I quote: ..."the rules: the person who tagged you.

2.copy the image above, the rules and the questionnaire in this post. this in one or all of your blogs.

4.answer the four questions following these rules.

5.recruit at least seven (7) friends on your blog roll by sharing this with them.

6.come back to BLoGGiSTa iNFo CoRNeR (please do not change this link) and leave the URL of your post in order for you/your blog to be added to the master list.

7.have fun!..."

The person who tagged me is Double-Dolphin (on 22June2009). THANKS! (AND I did not have to scratch, either!)

I BLOG, therefore I HAVE WON! And the seven people who get the award are:

Zillionbig, Aparna, Sujata, Jyothi, SGD, Swaram, Nona.



Nona said...

Goldspot! I used to love it. This was before the advent of Mirinda and then Fanta! I still remember the cap collection days.

There was another drink named Rush - our substitute for Coca Cola. Rush is no more to be seen.

From that era, we only have Thumbs up!

PS: Thanks for tagging. Will revert in a week.

lopamudra said...

I loved goldspot! do you remember the commercial....goldspot the ziiiing thing? I also loved thumbs up which is way way better than coke & pepsi.About scratching & winning ..I remember scratching but no winning :(

Priya said...

Goldspot..i am sure it has something special to do with good and sweet memories and during the childhood days i can bet, "Mamarbari" was definitely the place. i do not have any "scratched-memory" as such..but yes...memory of gold-spot and mamarbari goes hand in hand in my case too..

ZiLliOnBiG said...

Goldspot, i still remember the orangy tang and we too collected the crown. I also loved Limca but father was against softdrinks. Occasional drinks once in months were our luxuries. Excellent writeup, brought back gone years right before my eyes.

Thanks for the tag.TC:))

ZiLliOnBiG said...

BTW, thats my first award, I just realized it.WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO, I won an award, i won an award......:)))

sujata said...

I am slow, really help me here, for I dont see the questionnaire with four questions that need to be answered. I loved goldspot, my bodomama worked for Parle and often took me to the goldspot bottling plant, and it was such a thrill! After goldspot, it was limca and then duke's mangola was a fav too though much later.

Aparna said...

Sorry to be the odd one out but I did not really like Gold spot. Thums up was my preffered drink. When I was really small, Binaca (toothpaste) used to have these small plastic animals in their boxes. I do not remember collecting them, but my brother had an enviable collection. He had so many that we used to play "A visit to the zoo" with them.

Anonymous said...

I used to love goldspot...though I got to drink it on very rare occasions during my visits to kerala during summer hols....but I used love the orange colour it leaves behind on the tongue and lips..that shaky, thin white straw that they gave along with it was useless....used to throw away the straw and enjoy....

I have the same doubts as Sujata...where is the questionnaire??

Santanu Sinha Chaudhuri said...

Many of your posts take me close to a child's mind. And it's so beautiful! Thanks for another lovely post, Sucharita.

But the rules you have given at the bottom are way too complicated for me. If I were to choose between the two, I would rather start collecting Gold Spot crowns.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember goldspot but I DO remember limca:)))
and 'FIDO' :D

epitome of 'cool':D:D

I never collected the caps and all (err actually with two bros around I never could get my hands on the darn things:((( )

with your nostalgia for goldspot I could think of my own for limca:D:D

remember that ad?
limca!limca!! ?:D:D

Mampi said...

hehe, scratched many times, but won, never...

ZiLliOnBiG said...

i have responded to your tag nd award....:))

Anonymous said...

Hey, Thanks for the award dear....I have tried my best to follow your instructions..Finally managed to post it...Have a lookie!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Never I won Scratch & Win but yes, during school days once at a fair I applied an idea and that idea worked to get our stall the best prize.

Rajesh said...

I loved Gold Spot and Thumbs Up. Thumps Up is still at the top in India despite the take over.

CocoCola had come with free bee of small signed bat by the crickets some time back.

Kavi said...

The closest that i came to was Big Fun chewing gum wrappers which had pictures of cricketers in them !

i didnt have to scratch anything. But then, if a chewing gum got stuck....there was an awful amount of scratching to be done ! Indeed !


Sharmila said...

I have never scratched and won. Love your writeups always Sucharita. :-)

Anonymous said...

Never scratched and won.. but after i lost i definitely scratched (my head - ok?).... Excellent Post didi!!! btw, Only Aparna got the correct spelling of "ThumsUp" (the best cola n the world)..

seanag said...

Well, I think I mostly just scratched and lost. And sadly, the whole concept of checking a bottle cap to see whether you'd won something has been taken over by an intermediary step these days, where you have to sign in to some website or other before finding out what you've won, thereby probably giving the company permission to harass you for life. Which is definitely not what you're talking about here.

You all are making me wish I ever had a Goldspot. Those I suppose, inevitably, it would have changed a bit by now.

my space said...

I loved goldspot! Yeah I remember that promotion...infact later i think pepsi had one where you`d win cricket crazy we would go...sadly havent won ...everytime i 'scratch' it says better luck next time!!!

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Thanks, everybody, for having scratched your head and for coming up with those win-lose-but-having-fun memories.

Peter Rozovsky said...

I once had a rather fortunate run of scratching and winning. I had temporarily abandoned my profession and had worked part time with the idea of making a go of freelance writing. But after eleven months, I had grown restless, rebellious and ready for something new -- a return to newspapers, perhaps.

And then I received:

1) A nice tax refund

2) A check reimbursing me for tuition fees


3) A giddy run of luck that I shall never forget: one scratch-off ticket after another, six or seven in all, all but one a winner. Five dollars. Two dollars. Ten dollars. And then the largest cash prize ever entrusted to me: $341.

These fistfuls of cash were perhaps enough to pay a few months' rent. More than that, they were a springboard of optimism from which I leapt away from those part-time jobs and into the next stage of my working life.

I had never heard of Goldspot, but it seems that every country had its own carbonated soft drink -- an odd sort of thing from which to build childhood memories, I think.
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