50 paise for the small one and 1 rupee for the big one. That's how much I used to pay for Pepsi Cola. And this was many years, maybe even a decade, before Lehar re-introduced it in India. So where did I get it from and that too for such a piddly sum? My school canteen!
It did not come in a glass bottle but in a plastic tube. It was not brownish-black but multi-coloured. It didn't need an opener, just one's teeth. 'It' was not a drink but a Godsend-divine- crushed-ice thingy that made everyone long for recess! And the dirt and grime in the ice box that it was stored in added to the flavour, of course! What a hit it was especially during sports time and awfully hot summer days, which were aplenty in Madras! But by the time I was done with school, it was gone. Replaced by cooler drinks and fancy ice creams that became a part of every child's life, therefore every school's canteen.
And now, it's back...'Chillicks' is its new avtaar. It's packaged differently, stored in a cleaner way and costs a whopping 10 rupees. But I can't get myself to try it. It feels weird.
Pepsi Cola in a clean tube for 10 bucks? Nah. I'll just hang onto my memories of the old one...the original.