If you have to ask you'll never know ! [L.Armstrong]... thats Louis not Lance.

Dec 17, 2009


Jeans were a big deal. So we knew there were Levi's and Wrangler's and Lees. Rich kids had them. The Malboro man had them. We had jeans stitched by Jean Junction in Elco-Arcade. But when you placed the order you were given a choice. Of labels. 501's downwards. Which transformed your Bandra made jeans to Made in USA. Which for us at that time was a big deal.

Made by USA. Which was the Ulhasnagar Sindhi Association. Did it ever really exist. This group of counterfeiters who were bypassing copyrights and forging everything. Music systems that had B &O on the front and Made in USA at the back. Bottles of Johnny Walker that had never heard the bagpipes but knew the sounds of a shennai. Watches that had Rolex spinning in their Swiss graves. With meters on the watch face that were just painted on. Millisecond displays forever frozen in time. Which lasted till it rained. Then the humididty of Bombay would mist over the watch which was tested for 300 mts underwater and the time of the day joined Alfred , Agatha and Gardner's stories. We had Ray Bands and Eau dee Colon. Cigarettes that no self respecting beedi smoker would inhale. But packaged in Ulhasnagar by Rothmans and sons, and the Bombay branch of Phillip Morris and Co. Scents. Yes they were called scents, not perfumes, were similarly elevated. Charlie by Mansukhani and Bros. with essences from Ismail Attarwalla ,Bhendi bazaar. Quality Street chocolates that let you know first hand what the bitter fake tasted like. Cassettes. Those Sony's and TDK's and BASF's and Maxwells. C-7 masquerading as C -45' or C- 90's. [ For all you callow youth who don't know what that is, the C denoted the running time of the cassette. C-90, 90 minutes, etc.there was no such thing as a C-7, officialy. ]

Things really got bad when they started faking the fakes. The fake giant sized Dollar bills with a clock in them. The table top fake Ferrari. The fake replicas of the fake Eiffel Tower and fake Statue of Liberty.

But Manmohanji with his policy of liberalization put paid to this duplicity. So we had Samantha Fox visit Mumbai. Are they real ? Who cares?