Being a parent is a wonderful feeling – one that gives us a chance to take a trip down our unforgettable childhood all over again. Reliving one’s childhood memories and nuances with one’s baby can be immensely joyful and thrilling!
As a new mom, I love every single moment that I get to spend with my baby. Watching him grow and evolve is a feeling that is beyond words. Perhaps, it’s the most gratifying experience that I’ve ever had. As I witness my year old baby boy grow, explore and experience things in a world that is replete with technology, internet and everything ready-made and super-quick, I am often reminded of my own childhood back in the 1990s which might not have been immensely technocratic, fast-paced or spent in the lap of uber luxury, but it was certainly worth remembering through a lifetime.
I am sure all parents, moms and dads alike, who spent their childhood during the 1990s would agree that ours was an era of satisfying complacency, steeped in traditional homely values and spent among the protected four-walls of trustworthy peers, neighbours and acquaintances who brought us up like flowers in a garden. We may not have been bestowed upon with an individual tablet or ipad each, might not have been stuffed with the most updated burgers or tacos every second day, may not have been to the coolest foreign destinations on the face of this earth every summer or might not have had our personal Facebook, Snapchat or Whatsapp accounts, but we were definitely way ahead of the current generation when it came to being knowledgeable, utilitarian or worldly-wise. Not to forget, we were definitely more complacent and gratified when it came to possessions, rewards or demands and enjoyed a blissful childhood brimming over with innocence, experiences and love in its purest form.
I am sure that the children born in the current era are definitely smarter, confident and much more articulate than we were but I just wish that in a world that is constantly battling with the perils of consumerism, hoarding and flamboyance, there could be some respite. When I see children of today decked up in their flashy G.A.P and U.C.B outfits, sipping out water from their expensive Chiccos and MeeMee tumblers and holding ostentatious learning tablets or Augmented Reality toys in their hands, I often look at them with pity and wish they could enjoy the pangs of undiluted fun and merriment that we had through small, pocket-friendly or sometimes even free things and opportunities.
Some of the most prominent features of my childhood that I wish I could share with the children of today would be the following in no particular order:
Ø Painting and repainting our difficult-to-maintain but adorable white Batas. I remember spending many a Friday evenings trying to make them look spotless white the next day.
Ø When Ladki ki Kaathi used to be our childhood anthem and no Annual Function would be complete without at least one class dancing on it to its fullest while the parents joined in as the supporting chorus.
Ø When rainy days were reason enough to quickly tear away the last page of our school notebooks and create paper-boats. There used to be very many adept boat makers in every class and they would happily demonstrate their adroitness to the eager amateurs like me.
Ø Much before Annabelle entered the world of horror and sent shiver down young spines, we had our very own desi bone-chilling versions in the form of Aahat and Zee Horror Show episodes that were absolutely not to be missed and painstakingly watched hiding under a duvet each week. Who cared about the reeling after-effects though? I spent many a Saturday nights sleeping clutched to my Mom’s bosoms unable to get over the intensely frightening scenes that I would dare to watch week after week.
Ø Much before Taarak Mehta and Bhabhi Ji forayed into our lives, we had our uber cool uncle and aunty icons in the form of the cast-and-crew members of Shriman-Shrimati and Hum Paanch. Yes, we loved singing out loud while opening the doors because we wanted to look as cool as Sweety!
Ø When we devoured packets of Lays and Cheetos not for their taste, but for their free tazos.
Ø Our first brush with tattoos din’t take place in a high-end tattoo-artist’s den but through our 1 Rupee Big Babol that tagged along a free tattoo with every purchase. Kids would blow up their entire earnings accrued on Kanjaks on these tattoos way back then.
Ø Kanjanks meant VIP treatment at the neighbour’s house with respected Uncle Ji washing our feet with water followed by the application of dark pink paints (alta) while Aunty Ji served us with delicious food that had a carefully folded 10 rupee note placed on top of the halwa over an expertly puffed poori.
Ø The only television ad that made sense and enticed us was Washing Powder Nirma, Nirma! We bet one could never remember it without singing it out loud involuntarily.
Ø We din’t have to look for youth icons in Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga, we had our very own Utterly Butterly Delicious Amul Girl to guide us through the way. Who din’t want to have that cutesy high ponytail and polka-dotted frock and roam around for compliments?
Ø For quenching one’s thirst, one din’t had to open cans of Pepsi or Mountain Dew, we had our all-times favourites that included Frooti, Rasna, Jumpin and the sada-bahaar Rooh Afza. Nothing aerated, just pure fun!
Ø Who knew about Halooween’s back then? We enjoyed our Fancy Dress Shows and rocked them like a pro. Be it a doctor, teacher, tree, fairy, Shatkimaan, Chandrakaanta or Cindrella – we’ve been there and done it all! Some of us even dressed as Madhuri Dixit, Indira Gandhi and Gangu Bai. We were spoilt for choices back then.
Ø Most of us lost our hearts to Suppandi as the most favourite cartoon character. The Doremon, Pinnochio and Pokemon came much later on the scene. Suppandi was and shall always remain a legend!
Ø We din’t need Facebook or Instagram to know our friends better. We had our very own powerful tools called Slam Books that laid bare everything down to basics. We made many a trips to the nearest Archies or Hallmark Store and always kept our collection updated.
Ø Packing a school bag meant spending at least 10 minutes filling and re-filling our dearmost ink or fountain pens with signature camel blue ink and painting our fingers indigo blue. Interestingly, the ink always found its way to our faces and school uniforms much to our ignorance and amusement.
Din’t you just go through an overwhelming pang of nostalgia remembering all these wonderful nuances of your childhood? Tag a friend and remind them of the wonderful childhood that you were undoubtedly blessed, to be a part of.