I know, I know, I know – this topic has been whipped to death, revived and then flogged to death again. But I am hoping to add a different twist on to it. By the way, I hope you all were polite and covered your mouth, when you yawned on seeing the title. 🙂
We have all heard the stories from our grandparents of how much an anna or two can buy and I definitely am not going into the state of our economy in this post because, to be honest, I have no clue. Not that ignorance acts as a deterrent to many.
I intended to talk about the excitement and thrill that we shared as kids. To highlight the difference in the pleasures that we got as kids against what the kids of today get. To compare and ultimately conclude that our days were better.
Let me start with the days when Dipawali was a huge affair – which was eagerly awaited not for the early morning oil bath of naraka chaturdashi but the thrill of wearing new clothes and the joy of bursting crackers. Do you all remember the countdown that would start at least a month in advance? More than the joy of bursting crackers, we were more thrilled if we had more cracker debris outside our house than our neighbors had. The sweets and snacks that were a part of the tradition were devoured with such pleasure. We had the job of distribution of these delicacies to our neighbors. The day after Dipawali, most schools allowed the kids to come in colored dress and the joy in showing off the new dress is something that I remember today too. The only other occasion for wearing colored dress to school was our birthday. That was another event that was eagerly looked forward to.
On the subject of festivals, Saraswati puja was a close second on the best festivals list. A day where you were mandated to NOT touch your books. Unfortunately, we were also mandated to not read the paper, magazines, ride our cycles etc. So the solution was rather simple – go visit friends.
In our teens, we were introduced to what according to us was the greatest invention of all time – the television set. Drum roll !!!! I remember the thrill of opening the shutters of the black and white set and watching everything from beginning to end – which was krishi darshan to ratri vichar bindu. 🙂 Then we got the biggest event of our lives – the Asiad with Wu Jiani and the classic India Pakistan hockey finals. Those television shows of Hum Log, Nukkad, I love Lucy, Barba Papa, Spiderman (does anybody remember the song?), He-man, Star Trek, Chitrahaar, Oliyum – oliyum etc etc. Remember the intense discussions on these programs at school the next day?
Soon, we were introduced to every kid’s idea of nirvana – the video game parlor. The fun was in beating the scores and also extending the play time, due to the bonus so that we spend an incredible amount of time with the money allowed.
Our holidays were not elaborate curated affairs but involved the grandparents – either they visited or we did. The simple pleasures of food and reading books and playing in the ground outside made the holiday homework bearable.
We were hell of a lot independent too – at an early stage, we could go to the neighborhood store to pick up some stuff for our mothers, later we could go all across the city in public transport. The bicycle made us speedsters and we would jet across in a radius of 5 kilometers without any fear of traffic.
Contrast all this to the kids of today – I don’t see them visibly excited about anything – maybe because they got stuff easily. Be it toys or books or vacations or clothes, have we made a mistake by giving them too much of it before they even ask for it? Diwali has been made out to be a villain festival – made green. The sweets and snacks are consumed with thought and the fear of cholesterol. The 24 hour television with the huge choice of channels makes them happy – sure – but it doesn’t compare to our thrill of a single channel for 4 hours a day only. Some schools have a policy of ‘no uniform’ thus making the colored dress concept redundant. Exotic vacations and the various gadgets give some happiness. However their freedom is completely curtailed – it scares me to send my child out on a cycle or public transport. Wouldn’t it be nice to give the next generation more of intangible things to cherish and look back with nostalgia rather than the PS4 which would get out-dated next year? But again, the question is how? How do you rewind and make life simple? Would love to hear your thoughts……