I saw these candy cigarettes in the grocery store. I remember them as a child in Virginia, where we stopped at the green store, as we called it, almost every day on the way home from school, and looked covetously at the wax lips, the Pez dispensers, the Bazooka bubble gum, the little wax bottles with coloured sweet fluids inside... and the candy cigarettes. They were glamorous for us at that time - tilt your head back, pretend to blow out a jet of smoke... (in fact, there's a little boy above the Phantom's head, with his hat pushed to the back of his head, doing just that):
For Rs. 3, you get 10 sticks of white flavourless sweetness, each one with a red-dyed tip to indicate the burning tobacco; and a sticker, which looks remarkably sinister:
Until I looked closely at the cigarette pack, I assumed that the Phantom was the one from old American comics, who still appears in Indian newspapers. Then I saw that instead of shadows, his face was darkened with a beard and moustache. In fact, the Phantom appears to resemble the West's current idea of what a terrorist looks like. I'm sure that I could philosophise on that for awhile, but excuse me -- I have to blow an imaginary smoke ring.