Thursday, March 1, 2018

Nostalgia: When Amul butter was a novelty in Pune and my cheese was always yellow

Nostalgia: We moved to Pune from New Delhi when I was seven years old. It was 1990. India had still not completely opened up to a liberal economy. Cool-weather Pune was far removed from the hot plains of the north that we were accustomed to. My grand-uncle who lived there had described it as 'so safe that there are no thieves'. So when my dad was posted to Pune, I was thrilled. It changed many things in my life: beginning a school-term in June instead of April, moving from CBSE to ICSE, from a co-ed to an all-girls school with a boarding and teachers with Anglo-Indian and Christian names, from the dusty flat plains to the black lava rocks of the Deccan plateau (there was a time when you would drive towards Pune and you could actually see it perched on top of a table-land), from brick-walled houses in Lutyens to basalt walls of Pune Camp (Cantonment), transitioning almost completely into an English-speaking family (primarily because we didn't know Marathi and, at that time, not many locals spoke Hindi) and the absence of Amul products in our refrigerator. The last one was curious. In the early 1990s, in most of Maharashtra (with the exception of Mumbai), Amul butter and cheese were not to be found. Probably, the local dairies were wary of bringing in the 'outsider'. Dorabjee's had one shelf but you never knew if you'd get Amul butter. Vijaya, Chitale, Aarey and Britannia became our staples. Now in Gujarat (where Amul was born) when I tell people that, they can't believe that for seven years of my life I never saw white Amul cheese. Britannia was yellow cheddar. It's strange how a slice of cheese on toast can bring back some memories. 😝

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