The Air Malta plane had just cleared the clouds and started straightening out when I got up from my dozing off. Sharmila was still sleeping. I picked the magazine up (yes! they still have the airplane magazine!) and started leafing thru the pages. Rather desultorily, I might add.
And then this page hit me! I woke up with a start! Had it not been for the inconvenience of taking my glasses off, I might have even rubbed my eyes to make sure I was not dreaming.
In an instant, I was taken back to the those days of stealing Horlicks from the jar in the kitchen when mom would not be around! It was meant for my baby brother. But my dearest baby brother be danged, the Horlicks had a taste like no other thing I had tasted. Ever. And it was not just the taste. It was that texture of the malt grain as it soaked up the saliva from the tongue and coagulated in the mouth. I can still feel it.
Some of my friends from those years in Bengal might remember the ad where different personalities (including Moon Moon Sen) were expounding on why they have Horlicks – “Ami keno khai?” when a cute kid interjects with the sweetest reason – “Ami to emni emni khai”
For crying out loud, the airline was serving Horlicks! There was no mom or baby brother to cry foul! This was going to be my day.
Moment the air hostess came asking for our drinks, I (who could barely conceal his inner child exuberance) put on an extra nice tone and asked in a matter of fact way – “Do you have the hot Horlicks?” pointing to that magazine page. As much as I had the calm exterior, inside me, I was chafing my hands, going “Muaaahaaahaaa!”
“No!”, she informed me.
“What? You have it in your magazine”, my completely unprepared self blurted out.
“Sorry, sir! What else can I get you?”
I had no ability to think. I was on a brain freeze. Like a robot, I went for my go to drink… “Red wine, please!”
“Sure, sir!” She went away wondering what kind of idiot drinks red wine at ten in the morning.
Apparently somebody who has been thwarted from his beloved Horlicks after 45 years!