Nostalgia comes wrapped in Pan Pasand

Who buys these things?  That’s the question I’ve asked myself whenever I’ve come across a display of candies at Indian stores in the US.  By candies, I mean the uniquely desi ones – the Nutrine, Melody,  Ravalgaon and similar confectionery.    Which children are these displays targeted at?

Indian-American kids in the US have grown up on Mars and KitKat and MilkyWay.  In fact, come to think of it, I hardly see any kids at the Indian stores, and never near the candy.  I can safely rule out the children of even the short-term visitors – software engineers and so on, for I believe kids growing up in India too prefer Mars to Melody these days.  So who does eat these sweets?

Pan Pasand

Pan Pasand

And then R brought home some Pan Pasand a few days ago.  It was a recipe for instant nostalgia.  Remember the old Doordarshan ad where Archana Joglekar shrieks

“Shaadi? Aur Tumse?? Kabhi Nahin!!” ? (Marriage? With You? Never!)

One Pan Pasand later, her tone becomes much mellower, even if she says the same thing.   (But does the mellower tone mean there is hope for the guy? We never find out.)

As the Pan Pasand melted in my mouth, releasing its unique (for a candy) flavor of paan, I realized that the target audience for these candy displays had never been the children. They are for us – the poor benighted adult desis caught with the memories of the sweets we had in childhood, even as the supermarket aisles in India today are filled with Mars bars and Hersheys – sweets we once relied on visitors to supply us with.   A lot of them are probably made in India now – I know, for one, that KitKats are.  So like Indian Made Foreign Liquor, we now have Indian Made Foreign Sweets now.

Meanwhile, those of us who have moved to the US, have changed, ironically, from getting imported Mars bars in childhood to looking for imported Pan Pasand as adults.

And while on that, next time I am in the Indian store, I am going to look out for some Alpenliebe.

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25 thoughts on “Nostalgia comes wrapped in Pan Pasand

  1. Hey, nice post. Your last line left me humming, “Dil lalchaaye, raha na jaaye…”
    Have been reading but rarely commenting here lately. Keep up the good work.

  2. Lekhni:

    “Which children are these displays targeted at?”

    What makes you think candies are only targeted at children? I know more adults, some child-free ones too, who carry mini-sweet-marts in their bags and pockets, than I do children doing the same. 🙂

    • I would have liked to see the ad again, but I could not find any video clip. If you ever come across one on youtube or elsewhere, could you send me a link?

  3. My wife brought candys from office said someone in office brought from India.I looked at candy instantly remembered the Pan Pasand’s taste.I smiled and ate one.It didnt taste as good as Pan Pasand.Then i looked at wrapper It was Pan Tarang.India Jai ho. I was curious to know if pan pasand still exits.Google jai ho.I saw this post on top.I felt i would share too.Cheers

  4. You have captured exactly what I am feeling right now..as I eat a Pan Pasand candy sitting in my American office. The only difference is that instead of finding it at an Indian store here, I got it from India.
    As noted in one of the previous comments, the sad thing is that Pan Pasand is not widely available in India now. I had to hunt in two cities before I found a store keeper who agreed to special order a packet of the candy for me. Every where I went and asked if I could find Pan Pasand or Mango Mood, the answer I got was “We don’t keep it in stock anymore because kids don’t want these candies”. 😦

  5. jab me choti thi to mere uncle aksar yahi toffe laya karte the par us waqt mujhe ye kadwi lagti thi . mujhe toffee ka itna shok nahi par jab kabhi bahar jana hota hai to apne paas kuch toffee zaroor rakh leti hoon. ab mein ek jagah kam kar rahi hon pehle waha mein akeli ye toffe kahti thi . dherre dhree sab log ise pasand karne lage. waise yeh har jagah avilable nahi hoti par maine dukan dundh li jahan ye hoti hai. sab se jayada yeh rothe dost ko manane ke kaam aati hai.

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