June 06, 2015

Woh beete din yaad hain...

Do you remember who you were before the world told you who you should really be?

Time...how quick it slips away like a fistful of sand from between your fingers. Days change to weeks, months, years and decades, and it feels as if it all happens in an instance. Behold! We are seen as another generation, the older generation...the generation from yester year...

Today, as I see teenagers moving around in funky branded apparels, carrying the latest versions of iPhones and iPads in hand, bragging to their friends about their latest possession back home-the new PlayStation, the new plasma flat screen TV, and sporting designer haircuts, I cannot help but reminisce about the good old days when life was adorned with simplicity and fun.

Those who grew up in the 80's and 90's will surely connect and enjoy the fragrance of nostalgia of these magical moments in this golden casket of memories. Let's have a quick peep inside, shall we? L
Lets take a long walk down that familiar memory lane...
Do you remember our school days...when life revolved around homework, class work, report cards, and picnics. We didn't have to worry about salaries and pay checks. If we did not fare well one term, we would work harder the next. Our only worry then would be about getting our report cards signed. In today's busy struggle, where have those days of innocence disappeared? Now every waking moment is burdened with the thought of an upcoming deadline. Project reports have to be signed. There are hardly any picnics, and praying. Our prayers keep getting more and more selfish by the day. A better pay check, an increase in allowance, better job prospects...these expectations have caused our priceless memories to be buried under a thicket of stresses.
Yet, the  childhood innocence we once possessed does not fail to bring a smile on our lips.
Do you recall those good old days?
  • The grey and white school uniforms that would often turn a muddy brown after sports class as compared to the plump, lethargic kids in crisp white uniforms and PS2 clutched in hand.
  • The neatly polished canvas shoes we took out time to polish every morning, 

  • The plastic or steel tiffin box with the small triangular bread-jam sandwiches or roti sabji that we would share with our best friend, and the brightly colored 'Hello Kitty' water bottles (with the straw that we'd chew more than we'd sip on) that later progressed to 'Milton' water bottles in sober shades.
  • The Camlin geometry set (the ruler and protractor from which we'd have a tough time safe guarding).
  • the green & white fragrant Chinese pencil erasers we used to take such great pride in, the tiny crayon box that usually had not more than seven crayons, those Apsara and Natraj (and special 'Pinky', 'Rainbow' and 'Turbo' pencils for exams.)
  • Wearing plastic raincoats and gum boots and still reaching school half drenched, secretly hoping the teacher would tell us to go back home.
  • Returning home everyday after school to watch our favorite soaps. (Remember 'Shanti', 'Swabhiman', 'Vikram aur Betaal'). How can we forget Sundays when we would sit glued to the TV set to watch the epic 'Mahabharat', and other favorites like 'Chandrakanta', 'Potli Baba ki', 'The Jungle Book' (Remember the title track? You are humming it right now, arn't you? Haww!). 
  • Sometimes homework would be completed while sneaking a peek at on going commercials. The famous 'Humara Bajaj', 'Vicco Turmeric, 'Gold Spot, 'Titan', and last but not the least, the Parle G' ad ("humko pata hai jee,") had some of the most unforgettable tracks during our time.

  • The untainted enthusiasm to write with an ink pen (the classic golden capped 'Hero' fountain pen). More than the calligraphy, it was the sucking ink in and out of the Camel inkpot with it (that we proudly referred to as 'filling ink') that interested us. We didn't mind our ink covered fingers, the occasional blots of smudged ink on our notebooks, and the fragile nibs that when pressed too hard were susceptible to snapping. We were young, bold and brash. We were ready for adventure, even if it meant getting our spotless white uniforms blue.
  • No birthday party was ever complete without the latest Bollywood tracks being played on the tape recorder. Audio and video cassettes that have now been replaced by dvd's were a rage back then. Birthday gifts would be pretty predictable too-'Barbie' accessories for girls and He-man or a 'GI Joe' set for boys, until they were old or curious enough for a 'Tell me why' encyclopedia.
With a 3kg school bag slumped over our shoulders, we traversed school life without complaining. There was the regular glass of Complan or Boost that provided us instant energy. But the real reason of our enthusiasm back then was we enjoyed everything we did. We did not brag about flashy cars and expensive games. Life was simple. We were happy with having similar accessories---matching book covers, labels, tiffins and water bags. There was no distinction amongst us. Today, as I see school kids sipping on Gatorade and Diet Coke, comparing cars their parents come to pick them up in, I can't help but smile at how things have changed.

It is said, that the taste of childhood is never forgotten. That is the precise reason why a lot of chefs and culinary experts strive to create the exact same magic their taste buds had once experienced.
The world is constantly changing. But how can we forget...
  • Toffees like Melody, Lacto King, Poppins, Kismi Toffee Bar. Tiger mint (the mint without the hole), phantom cigarettes,Mango Bite, Pan Pasand.
  • Drinks like Appy, Frooti, Gold Spot, Citra and Seven-Up (Remember Fido Dido, with the noodle hair?)
  • Those cream filled wafer biscuits (in strawberry, pineapple and chocolate flavors).
  • Another fond memory of childhood is 'Pepsi'. I'm not sure how many of you have had this, but for me this was the case of the forbidden fruit. There would be a guy selling 'pepsicola popsicles'-frozen pepsi in cheap plastic wrappers that we'd suck at until we drained it of the last drop--in different colors and flavors just outside my school. My mum had warned me against eating it, since I being a sickly kid back then was extremely susceptible to throat infections after having any kind of street food. So as the rules goes, if mom didn't want me to eat it, it HAD TO BE eaten. So I'd save up my pocket money and sneak out from school and indulge in every 'pepsicle' possible....until the day Mum caught me red handed. (by that time, I was bored of it anyway.)
  • Rasna---the quintessential drink in every household. The Indianized version of 'Tang'. Of course, we all loved it.
  • Ice creams by Kwality, Yummy and Joy which then got replaced by Vadilals and Dinshaws. I particularly remember loving this 'Push-Up' ice cream that was available in the 80's. Tutti Frutti was another favorite. 
I could go on and on forever. The joys of childhood are so simple and yet so difficult to encapsulate in a single post (I plan to write more in this series). I am sure kids of today will look back at their own childhood some day and have their own sweet memories to cherish. Perhaps they as adults (just like us now) would find their childhood to be far less complicated too. Perhaps somewhere down the line, in another 20 years or so, someone would be writing a blog (hopefully blogging will continue even then) post about how obsolete ipads are, and how much fun their childhood was with them around then. I can imagine a hundred odd kids adults experiencing pangs of nostalgia on reading it. Life will go on...
As for us, we will always miss that wonderful phase of life when we did whatever we wanted without the fear of being judged, when we didn't spend the entire day texting on phone, or updating messages on social networks, when we did not care about how we looked, when the only 'hurt' we knew was when we would graze our knee while playing tag, when friendship meant sharing your favorite chocolate with your buddy, when we believed in fairy tales......

However, these souvenirs---memories of a childhood long gone by will keep springing up from time to time gently reminding us of a life we once led...the simple life!


deeps said...

thats a superb collection you have sweetly gathered from the memory lane.. Fido Dido :)) haha... good pick

Lucifer said...

What a post for me to come back and comment on...eh???

Nice moments of nostalgia captured there...and again I would say what a post for me to come back and comment on...it's like just when I was tryin to get back you throw all the sweet memories at me

Haan....woh palchhin yaad hai :)

Pri said...

@ Deeps
I am glad you enjoyed the trip. I was hoping you'd add some more of your own :)

Pri said...

@ Lucifer
Well, well, indeed a pleasant surprise. I was considering mentioning you in the list! ;)