Brand loyalty is such a selfish concept sometimes and not without reason too. No wonder every FMCG, beverage companies are taking ‘individual stories’ ad campaigns so seriously. Whether it is meri maggi ad campaign of maggi or recently launched flavour pehchano gimmick it works so much because it has recall value of a personal kind.
I have this loyalty with pepsi, by some freak mistake, though i like my thumbs up more. But by some freak combination of situations all my memorable soft drink memories are associated with pepsi, courtsey mad friends. In my college days, (hey i’m not that old, i finished college only recently) my friends pounced if they saw a bottle of pepsi in anyone’s hands and if the holder of that bottle was some one known to them. It did not matter if the pepsi holder was a mere acquaintance, they did the regular spot-greet- and ask ‘can i have a sip?’. Add some desperation to your famished expression, the poor pepsi holder would be starved of his own pepsi at the behest of pepsi addicts who don’t mind a shame and even grab the sip if not offered firsthand.
Bhukkad is basically a person hogging food/ drinks that belongs to anyone, any place any time. See, there are three type of bhukkad’s – food, beverage and body bhukkad’s. These are the three according to me, if you have experienced any other kind- do tell me. Kindly note folks, i am not against sharing stuff but where does it go overboard is what i am curious about. I have already mentioned about beverage bhukkad’s – those who drink out of your drink (whatever kind) and don’t care no matter the obviously fuming expression on your face. Food bhukkad’s?- now this is a novel kind- from my college experience food bhukkad’s take the cheese out of your club sandwich. It leaved you grunting, indignant- especially if that cheese was hard earned after incessantly niggling the canteen worker for it. Body bhukkad’s – well, you know hungry for sex but my post is relevant about the first two.
I am no generous with my pepsi either if and ever i buy it i make all attempts to hide it. Bhukkad’s (hungry sharks or addicts of a edible item) of my college spotted me having pepsi, each one would take a sip and i would get only 5o ml of the bottle to drink by the time evryone was done with it. Imagine the case if i bought tetrapacks!
Now Indian culture inadvertently endorses the bhukkad culture. See any indian wedding, birthday or other functions and you will find varied breed of bhukkad’s at food stalls during such events. As Chetan Bhagat observed in his novel 2 states where one character says, ‘In buffets never take dishes that can be made easily at home. Take non veg, paneer dishes, non-vegetarian’. Heck, there was even one chapter to this in my secondary school 6th grade syllabus.
It is awesome how people are shameless about it. There was one instance in college- the last psychology lecture of the term. For fun sake the class was moved to a popular food joint Mocha’s near the college. I chose to observe people’s eating habits (don’t ask why, for fun sake) as i wasn’t particularly fond of the high calorie food there. Four friends of mine shared an ice cream bowl, the first one to eat ate a mere spoonful. When the bowl returned again to her the bowl was empty. It was so because the bowl passed the hands of most of the batch not just the four friends who intended to have it and also ended up paying much higher than bargained. The girl appeared flustered to me after this hilarious pass-the-parcel but what can one say- it’s bhukkad’s all the way.
Coming back to pepsi obsession and encounters with it, i traveled to the pantry of a long distance coach train with a pepsi obsessed friend while coming back from an industrial visit to rajasthan. It was afternoon and my friend was going frantic, high and dry, and agitated as not one vendor was selling pepsi. We got off at mount abu station, bad luck – no pepsi. My friend looked at me, sad, as if a loved one had been reported missing. ‘You can take thumbs up. The vendors are selling that or buy coke’, I said. She looked back at me as if i had decided to support Pakistan in a Indo-Pak match. ‘Are you nuts?’, she snapped. With the same fire in her eyes she declared that we were going to the pantry to demand pepsi as if Rani Lakshmibai had just declared war of independence against British imperialists. It was pure cruelty, she said to keep people away from pepsi for so long. We went to the pantry where the cooks were busy preparing evening dinner. Nobody was interested in listening to our pepsi-plea which turned to desperation as time went by as my friend was deprived of her beloved drink. I feared she would pull the chain, the train would stop in a deserted area and she would hold us all hostage till pepsi came to the rescue. That was one time when Pepsi Co indirectly held my life at ransom. Thankfully, pepsi arrived a few hours later when the train stopped at a station and my friend bought a stock of them, lest they vanish again.
Pepsi has wreaked havoc in my life time and again but the memories associated with it still bring a smile to my face whenever i think of it.