A picture, goes the adage, is worth a thousand words. The one above, taken in 2013, is worth a million times more.

It must be a DNA thing. How else can you explain it? Take my grandmother for example. No, take my great-grandmother for example. Every time I look at this picture, I am transported back to the beautiful memories of summer holidays.

My maternal great grandmother (fondly called Baa), mother and I would travel from Gujarat to visit my maternal grandmother (fondly called Maa) in Bangalore. And to make us feel welcome, the fridge would be stocked full of Thums Up for us. Back then, the world wasn’t as well connected, and Gujarat and Bangalore were poles apart. Among others, our love for Thums Up was the uniting factor.

A number of my fondest holiday memories are connected with The Coca-Cola Company. There was the time when my uncle was visiting from the USA and Maa decided to make his favourite Panipuri (a common street snack in India) for dinner – a snack I didn’t like. While everyone was eating away and making merry, I was just picking at puri shells and mashed potatoes, waiting for dinner to end. All of a sudden, my uncle declared, “Vidisha is going to eat Panipuris properly.” He then handed me one of them and winked at me. Since all eyes were on me, I had no option but to taste it. And would you know it! It was simply delicious. As it turns out, he had mixed a spoonful of Thums Up in the puri and that was enough to win me over with the taste. Ever since, I love eating ‘Cola-Puris,’ as we call them.

Mummy fondly recalls her first brush with Coca-Cola. She drank it with a little too much excitement and it came right out of her nose. My uncles still tease her mercilessly about this so many years later.

Maa would visit Gujarat in late winter and still find it unbearably hot. The only way to appease her would be take her and Baa out for ‘masala’ Thums Up in the evenings – a preparation they both loved. Every so often, we would all spend the day together doing nothing but watching movies. These viewings were incomplete without me being made to go fetch a bottle of Thums Up half way through the movie. You could trust us to gulp down a party pack while Bollywood worked its magic on us.

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My family loves taking road trips. We are not the ones to plan and book in advance. Impulse hits us and we take off to the hillside. This would be all very well except for the painful fact that I suffer from extreme motion sickness. My savior in these rough (pun intended) times is a Thums Up PET which keeps my discomfort in check. Thums Up is the reason I have never had to miss out on a single ride in any amusement park.

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My cousin brothers in the US went on a rite of passage to Atlanta and travelled to the Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta to drink their first ever can. Not surprising given that their father (my uncle) is a Coke aficionado, still drinks a can of regular Coke every day, and has been doing so for the last 30 years, and even collects special event Coke cans!

Whichever part of the globe we are in, the obsession of our family continues. And we are fine with that!

 

(Vidisha is a graduate of L.D. College of Engineering, Ahmedabad and is pursuing her management degree at MDI, Gurgaon)