If you travel from Borivali, a Mumbai Suburb where I live toward Churchgate, the heart of the city, you will pass Vile Parle, another suburb. If you travel early in the morning and when the train passes between Andheri and Vile parle you smell is the flavor of Parle-G biscuits. Parle-G biscuits have always been my favorite biscuits since many years. You just have to have a steaming cup of tea in your hand and smell the biscuits. It’s like eating the biscuits there.
My Father used to run a grocery store. We still have the grocery store but after my dad passed away, nobody runs it. The good thing about having a grocery store of your own is having a lot of everything. We use to have eggs, biscuits, flour, potatoes and everything that the store would sell. We use to get the big aluminum boxes of Parle-G biscuits. Nowadays they come in cartons. Sometimes when I sat in the store, I would feast on the biscuits and sweets and the most I would like were the biscuits. There were the Parle-G glucose biscuits, Britannia Marie and the cream biscuits.
The familar face of Parle-G biscuits. The child's face and the yellow and white strips haven't changed much
This was in the times when the Parle was a bigger brand than Britannia and Bakeman was virtually non-existent. There is something unique about Parle-G. The biggest selling factor was obviously the cost. It would cost only Rs. 4/- I don’t know how much it costs now. The boy on the cover of Parle-G biscuits packet showing that there is nothing left with his hand has not changed over the years and remain the most recognizable face of Parle-g biscuits.
Earlier the biscuits were known as Parle Glucose Biscuits. So when I heard that one our relative was sick and in hospital on glucose, I thought he only eat glucose biscuits and I was “wow”. When we went to see him in the hospital, I was disappointed that there is another version of ‘Glucose’ which looks like water.
The best to have the biscuits was with a steaming cup of Indian Chai (tea). You dip the biscuits in the tea and then put it in your mouth. It just melts in your mouth. Now there is a way to do it. If you dip it in tea, you have to know when to remove them because if you keep them for a short time, then they are still a little crispy and if you keep them more than the required time, then it breaks and most of the time falls into the tea cup or outside but never in your mouth. A good biscuit is never wasted. You just can’t stop eating after that. My brother and I would finish a whole packet. My mom would get angry when we finished the whole packet in one go. Biscuits after all were a luxury item in those days.
I think no biscuit came closer to Parle-g. Britannia tried to beat Parle-G with “Tiger” but something was missing in there. But then Britannia had “Marie” biscuits. They taste nice with tea but not as good as it is. Bakeman’s Marie had a different and nicer taste.
Another winner from Parle-G was the Krackjack brand, a salty sweet taste. They tasted nice with tea. Another one was the “Monaco” brand, a salty biscuit.
Another one of my favorite biscuit was Britannia Delite, an orange flavored biscuit. Now this was royal stuff according to me and my brother. It would cost a lot and was not available at all stores because the reason was simple, it cost a lot. The orange taste was simply great, much better than the Orange cream biscuits again from the Britannia stable.
I never liked the cream biscuits much. There were not much tasty once you scrapped and licked the cream inside. It then tasted quite bland. Years later I would understand that the biscuits had to be had as it is with the cream in between. But I still think the best way to eat a cream biscuit is to separate the two biscuits, scrap the cream off the inside of the biscuits and then maybe eat the biscuit itself.
To be continued…..