The ‘Fresh Mint’ Generation

Statutory Warning: Cigarette smoking is injurious to health, resulting in permanent madness and will cause you to look, talk and act like me.

Smokers all over the country are aware of the life-saving little invention called Minto Fresh. Created, packaged and marketed by ITC foods, Minto Fresh is something of a godsend for people who suffer from halitosis after a smoke! 😀

The two brands of cigarettes that I usually smoke cost Rs. 3.50 and Rs. 4.50 respectively, and invariably I get a Minto Fresh back instead of the 50-paise change. I kind of like this, because it saves me the trouble of actually asking for it and sounding stupid, like what happened today. 😀

I went to this seedy joint run by this boisterous old hag (who is known for her loud mouth and foul language) and hesitantly, I approached the store and said, “Aunty, Milds please.”

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Minto Fresh 🙂

She had once screamed at me for smoking too close to the store and apparently I had been blowing smoke into her store (no puns intended!!), and she had hurled a rich variety of abuses at me. I had been too shaken to sleep that night. Today, I wanted to avoid all that and stood at a safe distance and puffed away to glory, cursing myself for the habit and promising myself to quit after the next drag. 😀

Once the sinful cigarette burned itself out, I went up carefully to the counter and laid a five-rupee coin on the counter and said, “Aunty, Minto Fresh, please.”

The cigarette cost me Rs. 4.50 and instead of asking the crazy woman for change, I thought I’d much rather buy the mouth freshener. She grabbed the coin and said, “I don’t have Minto Fresh!” and glared at me.

“Uh, what mint do you have, then?” I asked, almost apologetically.

“I have fresh mint!” she said and put the coin down her ridiculously large blouse and placed her hands over her hips. I chose to ignore the former gesture. 😀

“Ok, give that,” I said, only to be rid of this woman, who was probably a conceptual mistake to begin with! 😀

She went to the other end of the small store and came back with something in her hand. “I know you,” she said as she laid down the mint on the counter. I gulped and looked at her.

“What?” I said.

“You are that kid, that NRI, right?” she demanded.

“Uh, no ma’am. I’m not an NRI. I just went abroad last year – ” I couldn’t complete the statement as she cut in in a loud voice, making me flinch.

“You young kids go to all those god forsaken countries and come back with all fancy and weird chocolates and you think that you’ll find all those things here in India? Minto Fresh it seems! I don’t have any such foreign things. Take this or scram!” What made the retort worse was her gestures – she flipped me at least thrice, though I don’t think she knows what the middle finger means; she was gyrating her hips in an unearthly fashion and her head bobbed up and down and made me dizzy. 😀

She shook her head and started cursing the present generation of kids for their affliction to all things Western. I didn’t say anything. I just grabbed the mint from the counter and ran to my bike. Only then did I manage to look at what I had in my hands. She had given me a Minto Fresh. 😀

Anyway, this afternoon, once my brain had returned to normal and once my head was clear of that horrible squealing hag, I was bloghopping and I came across Kris’s blog, where I heard his song “Hope It’s Over,” which put me in a totally wonderful mood. It took me quite a while to get over the fact that I actually know a rockstar. Anyway, download the song and listen to it! I am sure it’ll put you in a wonderful mood! 😀

PS: Kris Bass is the bassist for Shor Bazaar, one of the fastest-growing rock bands in the country. Check out more of Shor Bazaar here.

PPS: How the hell do I get an audio widget thingy here inside the post, where people can just click the “Play” button and the music plays? I’ve gone mad trying to figure it out! 😀


Images Courtesy: ITCPortal.com and Shor Bazaar