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If you grew up in the '80s or '90s, you know what it meant to have a whole big chocolate bar to yourself. You have memories of waiting at the kirana shop wondering which colourful hardboiled candy you should spend your hard-earned 25 paise on or biting into the tooth-numbing sweetness of soft-chewies. Let us take you down memory lane.

Harnik's Phantom Cigarettes
Remember the moment when you nonchalantly drew a cigarette from that well-recognised red packet, pretended to take a puff or two and then bit into it as other kids looked on in envy waiting for their turn. Because you shared those scarce sweet resources and that was Harnik's Phantom (faux) cigarette for you -- a pink and white sugary stick which was nevertheless a treat. If you were denied these ciggy-lookalikes by your parents who believed they were a bad influence, we feel you…

Poppins
The little packet of hardboiled fruit candies in every delicious hue you could think of: orange, kachcha aam, strawberry, lychee, guava. Buoyed by Ramu and Shamu ads in Tinkle, where they popped a Poppin and solved mysteries, these colourful disks were the '90s child’s go-to treat.

Parle Kisme
Unapologetically desi, almost archaic packaging and appeal, this elaichi and caramel chewy was affordable and served the purpose of triggering off a sugar-rush. Remember the jingle 'Parle Kisme Baaaaar!' These days it comes in the avatar of Rajbhog, Kulfi and Rosemilk. Obviously, we are not yet ready to let go.

Lotte's Coffe Bite and Parle Rola Cola
And if you think your addiction to coffee and cola are a throwback to the day you wrestled your siblings to the floor for a bite of these popular flavours, you wouldn't be off the mark.

Mango Bite
But pride of place had to go to Parle's Mango Bite -- in those unforgettable yellow and green wrappers that let kids from the remotest corners of the country know what mango is supposed to taste like. They made the taste of mango available to us at demand all-year round, even when mangoes were not in season.

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Swad
A digestive? A sweet and sour treat? Nah… the precursor to all things that tickle your taste buds. A drop of hard-boiled khatta-meetha heaven.

Pan Pasand
Paan ice cream is now a gourmet dish but back in the day, “good children” were not allowed to venture anywhere close to anything that had the faintest hint of paan masala or the ingredients that go into it. Then came a quirky advertisement that introduced us to a zingy red candy infused with the flavours of sweet paan. And things have never been the same again.

Image Credit: Sohail Joshi

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