Limp biscuit

I firmly believe there are two types of people in this world — the ones who open a packet of biscuits, eat one, and keep the rest in the jar; and the second breed that just polishes off the entire packet

When I was a kid, my mom would keep the biscuits in a jar so high in the kitchen cupboard that we couldn’t reach it. We skipped meals at times, as my brother and I used to stuff our tummies with biscuits. When I grew up a little, I started thinking, ‘Why will you eat biscuits if there’s the option of chocolates in this world?’ Biscuits are less sweet, they have an unnecessary crunch, which emanate a lot of flake residue that spoils your clothes and also makes your moustache and beard powdery. If a biscuit packet gets crushed in the claustrophobic corner of your bag, you have to discard it. Now, that doesn’t happen with a chocolate. Crushed chocolate is good, and if it’s melted, even better.

A biscuit is always a side hero. It needs a chai or a coffee to feel complete. On the other hand, a chocolate is like a solo lead. Like a one-man army. I think, I have finished packets of biscuits only in the emergency situations of an extreme famine. While I can finish half-a-kilo of nolan gur rasogulla alone, that too, post a heavy lunch. I don’t want to use passionate verbs like adore or detest, and proclaim my readiness to judge every biscuit. But biscuits are like radio. Passive. You can listen to radio while driving, cooking, or reading. While driving, cooking, and reading are active tasks, listening to radio is a passive one.

When I was a kid, we had fewer options among biscuits. There were generic flavours like glucose, chocolate, salted, and mix of sweet-and-salt. That’s it. Post globalisation in India, we were introduced to cookies. That was the Homo sapien type evolution for the biscuits from a Neanderthal or a Cro-magnon man. A cookie lies in the congruent area of a biscuit and a chocolate. The best of both the worlds. The crunch of a biscuit, and the softness and sweetness of a chocolate. It’s like erstwhile Sri Lankan cricketer Romesh Kaluwitharana, who had a stance like Sachin Tendulkar, but could also keep wickets.

Biscuits mate with the morning papers on a daily basis. The morning chai/coffee, the crunch of a biscuit, and the sound of the residual flakes falling on the newspaper. This ritual has been there since time immemorial. Recently, I went to Hyderabad for my film promotions and the organisers gifted me three boxes of Karachi biscuits. They’re less crunchy, more sweet, with vintage cherries transfixed with the flour and fruit flavour. Yummy. The Karachi Bakery was established by a certain Khanchand Ramnani in 1953, who shifted to Hyderabad from Karachi, post Partition. The taste hasn’t changed since then. Karachi biscuit is like Amitabh Bachchan of the biscuit world. Rock solid. Even the age old nostalgic atta biscuits are special.

I firmly believe there are two types of people in this world — the ones who open a packet of biscuits, eat one, and keep the rest in the jar; and the second breed that just polishes off the entire packet. I mostly belong to the second category, if ever I crave for biscuits. But one scene in Shubh Mangal Saavdhan may kill your craving for glucose biscuits and chai. The metaphor for erectile dysfunction used in the form of biscuit falling in the chai has scarred the generations with their experiences of this mouth-watering combo. I, on the other hand, don’t mind having Parle G with chai again and again, especially during late-night shoots. Sigh. I love it. Just like I love words, but I also love finding out that exclusive word for an absurdly peculiar situation. Like — ‘toothpack’ — that is a word used to describe the situation when you eat biscuits or cookies and get that annoying layer of chewed substance on your molars that you kind of have to pick out. So, ladies and gentlemen, have a lovely ‘toothpack’ today. Let the taste linger for a while.

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