The cookie crumbles: Mumbai’s iconic Parle G factory shuts shop after 87 years
After Parle confirmed that its Parle biscuit factory, which has not been functioning for some time, will be shut forever, residents said they will miss the sweet smell of baking that would envelope the area when the factory fired its ovens.
Vile Parle residents said that as the family which own the biscuit company had taken the decision to shut down the factory, they had no opinion on whether the landmark factory should stay or go. “If our opinion was to be taken, this factory was our neighbour and we look at it as a heritage site,” said Seema Bajaj, resident of Vile Parle (East). “This aroma reminds us about the biscuit and wherever we get the vanilla fragrance, we always associate it with this factory.”
The 87-year-old facility made biscuits, cakes and candy bars, but as production shifted to other units across the country, the Vile Parle site has seen a drop in production capacity over the past few years. Located under a bridge at VS Khandekar Marg that divides Vile Parle into its west and east sections, the factory began producing candy in 1929 and began manufacturing biscuits 10 years later.
Some residents said that it was difficult to believe that the factory will not function anymore. “Being born and brought up close to it, the aroma comes as a nostalgia, which takes me back to my school days when my friends and I used to go and stand at the bridge and observe trains pass by and to smell the vanilla fragrance,” said Kavita Thakkar, resident of Vile Parle (West). “My family and I will miss waking up to that aroma since the factory is shutting down.”
Another resident Saiprasad Patil said that the smell of baking biscuits was so alluring that as children, he and friends often plotted to sneak into the factory and steal biscuits. “When I travel across the country and tell anyone that I reside at Vile Parle, they immediately associate the area with its biscuit factory. The factory’s closing will be a great loss for us,” he said.
“I am shocked that the factory is going to shut down. My son’s school was located very close to the factory and every day I used to make it a point to reach 10 minutes before school got over just to get the scent of those freshly-made biscuits,” said Rintu Rathod, resident of Santacruz, who runs her own bakery. “We planned to celebrate my son’s birthday this year by taking his classmates to the factory one last time before it shuts down.
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