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:
1.link the person who tagged you.
2.copy the image above, the rules and the questionnaire in this post.
3.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.
The person who tagged me is Double-Dolphin (on 22June2009). THANKS! (AND I did not have to scratch, either!)
REMEMBER ANY SUCH INSTANCE WHEN YOU, ER, "SCRATCHED" AND WON?