Nostalgia on a stick

Updated: 11 October, 2020 09:21 IST | P Vatsalya | Mumbai

We tried the desi version of lollipops produced by a Bengaluru startup that prides itself on Indian confectioneries and the vision to empower women across rural Karnataka

Shashikala, one of the women entrepreneurs from Manangi, involved in the making of GO DESi products
Shashikala, one of the women entrepreneurs from Manangi, involved in the making of GO DESi products

Remember the taste of kacchi kairi? Always so closely tied with innocent, childhood summers spent with friends. One would toil for hours to pluck them from trees to relish them cut, sprinkled with salt and chilli powder.

GO DESi's Desi Popz want you to relive that memory. Available in kaccha aam, real aam and imli pop flavours, the desi lollipops are priced at an affordable Rs 20 per four units, and the makers say that they are natural.


Vinay Kothari launched GO DESi, an Indian confectionery brand, in 2018 on a whim. After having worked in the FMCG industry, Kothari decided to take a break. During a hike in the Western Ghats, he crossed a town called Sirsi. Tired from the trek and famished, he headed towards the first tapri he spotted. "I ate the yummiest jackfruit bars I'd ever tried and felt instantly revived. Spontaneously, I bought 20 kg of the bars and lugged them downhill in my backpack. Later, I decided to sell them and booked a stall at a three-day-long flea market in Bengaluru." They were sold out on day one.

The team is 100-member strong and includes 70 women entrepreneurs from across the interiors of Karnataka, led by Kothari, his sister Raksha who looks after procurement, manufacturing and human resource, and head of operations, Akhil Vallabhaneni. The manufacturing unit is located in Manangi, a village in Sira taluk, 130 km away from Bengaluru. "We started our brand with the vision of creating long-term, sustainable employment in the rural economy, and inspire the team to make responsible choices when it comes to the nutrition, education, etc. of their families. Their monthly salary reaches their bank accounts directly. This is so that they walk towards financial literacy," he says, adding that sales have close to doubled during the lockdown.

Vinay Kothari, Raksha Kothari and Akhil Vallabhaneni
Vinay Kothari, Raksha Kothari and Akhil Vallabhaneni

To buy

Taste Test

Our favourite of the lot is the imli pop, with its tangy, mouthwatering taste. The kaccha aam pop stayed true to its name and the real aam pop reminded the writer of a mango snack their grandmother used to lovingly make—sweet and slightly spicy.

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First Published: 11 October, 2020 07:22 IST

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