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... Of Pearls & Palaces
Demented by Mentos
Apr 25, 2006 08:31 PM 4286 Views
(Updated Dec 08, 2006 02:51 PM)


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I love biking and in a city like Hyderabad with it’s chaotic traffic, screeching tyres, and blaring horns most of the times it is much easier to scythe through tyre infested arterial roads on a motorbike than a four-wheeler. Every time I am in a car I feel immobile and trapped. A motorbike gives me the joy of freedom in fast lanes without the worry of getting trapped in a traffic jam.

It was late afternoon, one summer day, the Sun had overindulged itself the whole day and was now slowly acquiring an orange tinge as it headed downwards. The day was beginning to cool down and I was enjoying a rather peaceful ride cruising upwards of 80Kmph on my motorbike when out of the blue something darted in front of me. What was it, an animal, an apparition, or an alien? It was frantically waving its hands. My foot hit the break pedal in a reflex action and my bike, burning rubber on the road, screeched to a halt (fortunately, it didn’t skid as most two wheelers do when brought to a sudden halt). On close scrutiny I found the entity in front of me vaguely resembling a police constable. I wonder why these nuts do these sort of things, they should in my opinion be booked for attempted suicide if not for attempted murder... driving at that speed I could have easily panicked and come to a terminal halt right in the next world. If I didn’t panic then, I panicked now on seeing the moustachioed six foot three constable who was moving towards me threateningly.

“Have I done anything wrong?” I asked myself. I had my helmet on, was driving within the speed limit on the highway, was riding in a straight line – no lane cutting, I had my papers, the number plate was in order, the headlamp was shaded black, the rear view mirrors were in place… “Nothing to worry”, I thought to myself. Wait a minute… I didn’t have the licence with me... God, what a time to be stopped and questioned! The moustachioed cop was close enough and gave a good look at my bike and then looked at me. Again his eyes shifted from me to my bike and back again to me. ’’Papers”, he snarled. I gave them to him, but he wasn’t looking at them… “Licence”, he roared, and I knew my time of reckoning had come. I had inadvertently left the damn thing at home. What rotten luck!

Absentmindedly, I removed a pack of Mentos and popped one mint into my mouth.

I waited for something to happen hoping that Mentos would be my saviour and somehow it’ll light my mind’s lamp… ‘Dimaag ki batti jala de’. After popping my fifth mentos in succession I found ‘Dimaag garam ho raha tha, lekin batti nahin jal rahi thi’. In frustration, I offered the rest of the pack to my tormentor with as much friendly smile as I could muster. The cop after studying the label for a while tossed two mints into his gargantuan mouth. It took just a few seconds for the mints to disappear in his mouth. There was a sudden beastly transformation in the cop’s features, which hinted that the worst was not over… “yeh bachchon ki peepermint kya di tumne… kuch maza nahin hai… Gutkaa nahin khaate ho kya?” I nodded my head in the negative. The cop looked disappointed and that was bad news for me.

Desperate times called for desperate measures and I decided to befriend him by indulging in some smooth talk. “Are you married? I asked. “No”, he replied. “How many children? Before I could complete my question I knew I had blundered beyond redemption. It was a slip of tongue, or perhaps the result of a cluttered mind. Whatever it was, the damage had been done. The insulted cop glowered at me saying “I don’t know how many illegal children you have, but by God you’re going to pay for the illegal ride.” He took out an uninspiring looking bill book and started scribbling into it. “rupees three hundred for riding without licence, and another two hundred for insulting the policeman on duty”, he bellowed.

I paid up. I was cursing Mentos for putting me in right royal soup. Far from making me sharp and quick-witted it had left me dull and dim-witted. I was increasingly looking like an idiot and, also, smarting from looking like one. After reaching home I checked the Challan and found that it was for rupees fifty only (one zero was missing). The cop had coolly pocketed the remaining four hundred and fifty. It dawned on me that it was the cop whose “dimaag ki batti sach mooch jalli thi” and it was all because of the Gutkaa he chewed, not Mentos.

I don’t mean to go ga ga over gutkaa but…

Mentos didn’t make me smart, it left me smarting though.

Most people who don’t see the category while reading a review would have thought this is just another stupid review on some even more stupid motorbike that’s been already reviewed, analysed, dissected, done to death, and reviewed again posthumously by a thousand other writers before me. No, this isn’t a review on a motorbike, but what the deuce, many of our commercials too leave us scratching our heads, wondering what’s it all about.

Mentos is ‘chewy’ mint produced and marketed by Perfetti Van Melle, the Italian Dutch Conglomerate that is the 6th largest producer of sugar confectionery.

Ever since the launch of Mentos in India the manufacturers have been adopting an aggressive marketing strategy by targeting the 18 to 34 age group. This is the age group which is easily swayed by the whacky ‘Get Smart’ commercials.

Almost all the commercials pushing Mentos have been based on the premise “Dimaag ki batti jale de” or “Get smart”.

Mentos comes in many flavours but the best is the mint flavour. Like the Earth’s crust, they are hard on the outside and soft on the inside. Mentos are basically mouth fresheners and nothing much beyond that. However, it must be said that the quality of this chewy mint is much better than the alternatives available in the market. They taste good, not great. They last longer in the mouth, not as long as a chewing gum but devoid of some of the drawbacks of chewing gum.

Mentos are round white discs that look like buttons on a coat. They come in round cylindrical packs of 14 discs for rupees 5. They leave you with a pleasant taste in the mouth and feeling good about it. But they certainly never make you anymore smarter than you are.

If you are bored of chewing Mentos, try this:

Take a 2 litre bottle (the bigger the better) of any aerated drink… soda is preferable. Remove the cap and carefully place the bottle where there is no expensive furniture or carpet around (bathroom would be better from the perspective of cleaning up the mess). Secure the bottle by placing some bricks or any solid stuff around it to prevent it from tripping. Open a pack of Mentos and place all of them in a small hollow PVC pipe holding it in a horizontal position so that the discs don’t fall off (a hollow tube like ensemble made of newspaper can also be used). Bring the PVC pipe closer to the mouth of the open bottle, then in one motion tilt it upright so that all the Mentos discs slide without hindrance into the bottle of soda. Quickly move away to a safe distance. What you’ll witness is a fountain of soda that can squirt up as high as the roof of your room. Timing is very important, all the mints must go into the bottle in as little time as possible to get a very high fountain (the present record is 18 feet). It is not as if only Mentos can make a fountain. The point is Mentos make the best fountain.

Now, it’s time to get rid of the mess (and that includes this review too).


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