Last weekend, my husband and I had gone out to lunch at an Indian restaurant in our neighbourhood. In most Indian restaurants, sugar-coated fennel seeds, cumin seeds and sugar candy are usually served after lunch, as mouth fresheners. As I chewed on the cumin seeds, my thoughts flew back to my childhood.
While we were growing up, there were some yummy candies and sweets, which we usually bought on the weekend.
There was Egg Candy, named so because it looked like an egg. The candy was so big that once you popped one into your mouth, you couldn’t talk for a while. The other was what we called ‘Kamarkat’, made of jaggery and peanuts.
However, one of the more popular ones was the ‘Jeeraga Mittai’ or Cumin Candy, which was cumin seeds individually dipped in coloured sugar, to make millions of colourful, tasty beads.
Courtesy – http://www.thehindu.com
These candies were usually sold in packets of 100 gms or 50 gms.
When I was in class 2, one evening, as my sister and I walked home from school, my sister showed me a gift given to her by her teacher for having aced her spelling test. The gift was a colourful fish-shaped box that was packed to the brim with colourful bits of Cumin Candy.
My eyes grew big as I saw the fish box. It was made of coloured plastic that looked like stained glass. It was so beautiful!
I asked my sister if she would share it with me. But she quickly tucked it away. I tried my best to get it from her. We ‘struggled’ our way back home; my sister defending her treasure, and I, focussed on snatching it away.
She was taller than I, and kept waving it out of reach. Finally, when I could take it no more, I struck her hard. She complained to my parents, and I was ticked off.
My heart pined, not for the candy but for the box. I wished fervently that my teacher would give out such gifts. The candy box consumed my thoughts that whole week. Later, my sister relented and gave me some candy, but I wanted only the box.
After about a week, when my Dad came back from his Sunday vegetable shopping, he called out to me. He had bought a candy box for me. It was the most beautiful butterfly ever.
I treasured it for a long time.