indian bubble gum

How to offend Indians and chew bubble gum

What makes it really difficult for comedians like Kiku Sharda is that they don’t know where the boundaries lie.

Comedian Kiku Sharda was recently arrested for mimicking a godman. In 2012, a professor of chemistry at Jadavpur University was jailed for forwarding a cartoon lampooning West Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee.

Siddartha Deb’s book had to be published without the chapter on Arindam Chaudhuri, the pony-tailed guru of IIPM, because the latter had managed to get a court injunction. Films are routinely banned and censored.

What makes it really difficult for comedians, filmmakers, writers and cartoonists is that we don’t know where the boundaries lie. It’s an easier job in Saudi Arabia, North Korea or China, where forbidden territory is marked by electrified barb-wire fencing. Our problem is that we like to pretend to be the free world, but our natural instincts lie in a more draconian aesthetic of power and control.

The safest thing to do is to stay away from reality. Don’t make references to real people and real events. Reality bites back. Our public discourse is then reduced to bubble gum. Since bubble gum is the safest thing to write about, I’ll dedicate the rest of this piece to understanding the humble bubble, or Bubble ji – I’d rather err on the side of caution and go with the respectable suffix, lest Bubble ji is offended, though bubble gum makers are not known to file FIRs and get people arrested. But then, you never know.

Bubble gum was invented in America in the early 20th century, and, like cinema, arrived in India soon after. Its inventor, Walter Deimer, taught salesmen how to blow bubbles, a unique selling point of the new “candy”. That fact that it cost almost nothing, made it a popular and affordable treat during the Great Depression.

A pastoral race to begin with, we Indians too took to it instantly, like a bovine creature taking to cud. Being an assimilative culture, we had to Indianise it, and so we did, renaming it “chingum”.

Right from Independence onwards, the Indian nanny state and society at large, which includes innumerable religions, castes and communities, and assorted hyper sensitive individuals who claim to represent these groupings, have made sure that Indians remain in a state of constant gum-chewing stupor.

Bubble gum, which in America had a whiff of teenage rebellion attached to it, was in India a mind-numbing pellet of minty vyom that was used to induce conformity.

In the 1960s, Nehru banned Aubrey Menen’s Rama Retold because he felt it offended Hindu sentiments. Not much has changed in Indian society. We’ve been loyally chewing gum ever since. A well-worn Indian colloquialism is “Take it light, yaar.”

We’ve been trained since childhood to keep it light. Nothing is lighter than bubblegum. It’s the metaphor for all things froth. As Leonard Cohen sang, “The maestro says it’s Mozart, but it sounds like bubble gum.” Until Sharda got arrested, he too thought he was “keeping it light”, wading in the shallow waters of front-row hee-haw. He never claimed he was Mozart.

Has anyone noticed how bubble gum prices haven’t gone up in the last 30 years? A pellet of gum used to cost a rupee in 1985. A pack of Orbit today costs Rs 5 for five pellets. Bubble gum prices have defied inflation. Maybe, prices are deliberately kept low, for subsidised bubble gum is the new opium for the masses.

We are known to be an ingenious people. Indian ingenuity is the toast of the Milky Way. Perhaps it’s not surprising that we’d do something with chewing gum, apart from chewing it of course. We turned it into currency.

Nowadays, in the bubble gum culture that we inhabit, the idea is grow wealth and shrink our intelligence. Using bubble gum as currency is the perfect way to do so. Money is chingum. Chingum is money. I’ve collected several packets of Orbit over the last year.

Every time I go to buy torch batteries or bread or eggs, the shopkeeper, instead of tendering me the exact change, tenders me with a five-rupee Orbit. Beware though, for in this parallel economy, Orbit constitutes a one-way currency. You cannot buy a bar of soap in exchange for ten Orbits.

This monetary exchange has been fine-tuned down to 50 paise. Instead of returning you a rupee, the shopkeeper will give you a 50-paisa gum. He has still saved 50 paise. As the English said, save the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves. No wonder we have become a nation of rich shopkeepers.

Still, we should be grateful that we are allowed to chew cheap subsidised gum, a nation of happy chew-tiyas. There are countries in the world where the bubble gum is considered a threat to the social fabric. Yes, dear reader, even the bubble gum is a dangerous and fraught thing. In Singapore, for example, the bubble gum is banned by law. There is no gum in the shops. Anyone found spitting gum on the pavement is fined 700 Singaporean Orbits, sorry dollars.

As poor Sharda, the camp comedian learnt, you keep blowing the gum bigger, the way Mr Deimer taught his salesmen, only to find some spoil sport prick it with a safety pin.

Gum is a dangerous thing. Please don’t blow bubbles and get yourself into trouble. As the tagline for Centrefresh, India’s best-selling gum goes, the idea of gum is to keep “Zubaan pe lagaam”.

What makes it really difficult for comedians like Kiku Sharda is that they don’t know where the boundaries lie.

Look At The Top Chewing Gum Brands Of India In 2017

Who doesn’t love a chewing gum? If we talk about the market we will witness that the global market is growing each day! If we look into the market of chewing gums in India we will see that it has shown the most growth in past few years in contrary to others in the market.

The $122 billion gum market is growing by 3 per cent a year. As per the report, per-capita consumption of chewing gum in India it is only 8 per year as compared to 2000 per year in U.S.A & 1000 in Russia. Market share of gums has increased by 20% in 2008. The current turn around in India is almost 1000 crores INR.

The question is what has made this huge turn around in the chewing gum market? Due to recent shifting of human mindset from smoking to no smoking zone, there’s a huge lot of customers that have joined the likes of chewing a gum instead. Besides Teenagers and Children which earlier the industry had likes of, now the grown ups too are adding to the group. Now different industries are coming up with chewing gums and are trying to enter the market.

But we list for you the leading brands of 2017 that you couldn’t have resisted to chew on!

1. Boomer

No doubt this is the number one brand. The brand to which every childhood memory is associated always has catered the needs of the mass. The flavour and colour added are natural keeping in mind the brand quality. The brand is very popular in the category of the famous gum maker brand Wrigley’s.

2. Big Babool

It was launched in India in 1994 by Perfetti Van Melle. It is one of the most popular brands in terms of quality and flavours. As time passed the brand came up with a variety of flavours like Fruit, Strawberry, Cola and Watermelon.

3. Centre Fresh

Yet another brand launched back in 1994 by Perfetti Van Melle. It was different and first of its kind and this was the only gum in the market that came with a liquid filling. It’s quirky ad campaigns and tag lines added more popularity to the brand! Remember ‘Zubaan pe lagaam lagaye!’? It is one of the trusted brands in India and also ranked 6th in the most trusted brands.

4. Happydent

Even if we try we can’t forget or ignore this brand, their gums and the funny adverts that popped out on the television screen were always in talks. This was launched by Perfetti Van Melle and promised as a teeth whitener and gave perfect cooling effect in the mouth.

5. Orbit

It is sugarless chewing gum from the Wrigley Company. It was launched back in 1994. It was first launched as a long-stick gum brand and now it is launched as cube products in the market with different flavours. Its Doublemint flavour is much loved among the masses.

6. Wrigley’s Doublemint

It is one of the oldest brands and one of the trusted ones too. It was launched back in the US in 1914 and became one of the best selling brands. It is available across 140 countries in the world.

7. Center Fruit

Though it is new in the market than its counterparts but is a huge hit. It was launched in 2005 and was an instant hit as it came with liquid filled fruity flavours. The dual coloured and dual flavoured chewing gums were first bought in the market by Perfetti Van. It has flavours like Tutti Fruity, Watermelon, Strawberry, Maharaja Mango and Mingle.

8. Trident

It is a sugar-free chewing gum introduced by Cadbury in United Kingdoms. Trident Splashing Mint, Splashing Fruit, Wintergreen, Strawberry Twist, Cinnamon, Bubblegum etc are some of the flavours that are a huge hit in the market.

9. BigRed

It’s striking long gum and cinnamon flavours are striking features. Launched back in 1987, this was known for its long lasting flavour and came with the tagline ‘Kiss a little longer’!

10. GumOn

It’s the newest one launched by ITC in the market in 2014. Coming with the iconic chimpanzee in the adverts they have very quickly made a strong customer base. This was ITC’s first venture in chewing gum market.

Look At The Top Chewing Gum Brands Of India In 2017 Who doesn’t love a chewing gum? If we talk about the market we will witness that the global market is growing each day! If we look into the