The other day I was in a supermarket buying summer coolers when I spotted you. At first, I couldn’t recognize you between the packets of Tang and ice teas; you all looked the same to me. I think that clarifies my initial indifference; I wasn’t trying to ignore you, not deliberately at least.
In order to reunite with you I bought a packet. It had a fancy name of a foreign kind of orange; looked like you were trying hard to impress. You were never about real fruit and added vitamins. Those fads are for juice companies. You were always about fun and taste and that’s what all the kids loved about you. You were our one glass of bliss after a game of langdi-kabaddi or kho-kho in hot Sun. You were the stuff all birthday parties were made of. We never had to buy Coca Cola or Pepsi for our friends cause we knew you’ll always be there with your orange, mango, cola, khus khus and tutti frooti flavours (11 flavours in total). You were there to lift our spirits after a tough day at school; you were there to calm us down before a tough exam; you were there to make play times better and to make study times bearable. Every time we lifted a glass of you we said "I love you Rasna" aloud, and that love came straight from the heart.
Rasna, you have changed so much. The small carton you came in is replaced by a packet and you are just a powdered form. What happened to that small bottle of flavour which was always used as a whistle after being emptied? Sugar too is premixed so there’s no family bonding over mixing sugar in water, adding powdered and liquid flavour to it, filling it in bottles and then treating ourselves to that first glass. Our next generation will never know that making Rasna meant quality family time. It was our first lesson of team work; the tasks divided based on experience among the kids, closely supervised by the adults. There won’t be fights over that last bit of concentrate left in the bottle. The side door of the fridge will never look colourful again.
It’s not just the way you look has changed, your colour and taste is different too. You are not bright orange anymore; you look like an orange juice and taste synthetic.
Your ads too were about innocent kids and their birthday plans. That area has been taken by adults; now you have Karishma Kapoor and Virendra Sehwag promoting you. Why did you stop being kids’ friend and grew up? Why did you betray our love?
Rasna, without your old self, life’s not the same. I miss you, Rasna!
A distraught kid of the 80s