Waking up to the excitement of a Sunday used to increase twofold when ‘Yada Yada Hi Dharmasya’; the prelude to the title track of the Mahabharata started playing. The lack of color besides black and white could never lessen the excitement of the mega serial. I savored every moment of the grand show. Often accompanied by some of the neighborhood kids whose houses were yet to be introduced to a television. This is how the exciting Sunday Mornings of my childhood used to set off. There are so many memories like this which I miss as a grown-up. Honestly, being a Millennial (Generation Y) has both its perks and disadvantages.
I would like to share a few of these memorabilia. You may relate or completely disagree, either way here goes my list!
All at Sea in the Ocean of Options
You know sometimes too many options might leave you confused. Whenever I turn on the TV, I am flooded with innumerable channels and an infinite choice of entertainment. I mean it’s no easy decision. Trust me, after an extensive day of the file and email surfing, even surfing channels for entertainment can seem tedious.
I miss the days when we only had Doordarshan and were forced to watch whatever was broadcasting. Though I whined a lot when ‘Suraj Ka Saatwa Ghora’ came on the TV since I was not into “Parallel Cinema” or what it was labeled then. I was not an intellectual kid. A pretty basic one. I wished for a few more options at that time, maybe. But now I miss the lack of it.
After hours of browsing when I decide on a show, it’s already time for dinner and I am about to retire for the day. The only entertainment I may get then is my dreams — provided they are not the nightmares. That is a place where my preferences don’t work. But once in a while I get lucky with my dreams and have a short slip down my childhood memory lane. So, that’s kind of a treat.
There’s also the possibility of ‘Diminishing Marginal Utility’. When there was lesser supply, the demand and the satisfaction with each unit of supply (read serial/movie) was greater which has been lost with the raising quantity. There was also plenty of quality in the handful supply in the past. That could be another reason too. Don’t you think? No Economics mumbo-jumbo here, just a plain idea.
Tangible over Virtual
I know, I may be shocking the book lovers by listing this one among the ‘Memories, I Miss’. But I’ll still go ahead and mention it. I mean, you miss something you miss, right! The paperbacks and the hardcovers, I miss them while reading the electronic copies of my favorite books.
I know you can never have enough books. The bibliophiles will understand. And when you are getting as many as you want, even from places you would’ve never had imagined before, it should be an unconflicted luxury. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the plethora of supply. No ‘diminishing marginal utility’ in this case. But I still miss the times when we hadn’t come across such means of reading and the only thing that could satisfy our longing for a good read is the printed ink on a tangible piece of paper. The smell and touch of a new book and the tattered ones too, fill up my new digital memory.
The times on my birthdays when I used to invite everyone with the cliché tagline, every year, ‘Please come without a gift’, but expecting to get at least one storybook from each guest. I am a glutton for books. Hiding my storybook inside the textbook for the covert reads didn’t help me get anywhere besides my overactive imagination though. But it was an immense delight.
Thus, as I said before it should be undoubtedly the golden time of my life, collecting books from left, right, and center. But the pleasure of immersing in the narrative of a book to the fullest is reading it while holding one in the hand and sipping a cup of coffee. But due to the lack of time, space and constancy in life we have to make do with the joy in whatever form it comes.
Reminiscing the Repose Roads
I miss the road without the tires cramming up all over the place, the air and my lungs without the congestion of the soot released by the engines. The roads snarled-up by the incessantly increasing buses, autos, and the yellow taxis have been now joined by the Ola and Uber service cabs. Booking a transportation is at our fingertips, literally. Hence, the myriad of honking vehicles is overcrowding the streets, jamming them like excessive intake of trans fat jams our arteries. But we have to accept it as the flipside of the convenience of commuting.
I find it extremely suffocating most of the times. This could also be one of the downsides of spending a chunk of my childhood in a small town. The time and the place had way lesser smoke emitting and ear-splitting noise-making vehicles.
I remember taking rickshaws to all the places we used to go. There was no rush to catch a bus or an auto. The three tire conveyance used to move with a leisurely pace taking its own sweet time. Sometimes we even had to give the pedalist a little prod to step on it. The small silver bell atop the right handlebar had a melody to its rings. When it rang to notify its march, it sounded like chimes. Making its way through the fistful of vehicles and pedestrians, it swaggered like a Queen’s chariot (my royal imagination). I used to enjoy every bit of those rides. The relaxed rickshaw trip is a serene keepsake from my childhood memory.
Couldn’t Flee That Ol’ Telephony
I always used to scurry to the telephone as soon as it started ringing, irrespective of the addressee of the call. No matter in which corner of the house or which tier of dream you are in, the ‘trin-trin’ would always jolt your auditory sense making you alert or distracted. I miss that authentic loud ear drum penetrating sound of the Old Telephone while talking on my smartphone which fits inside the palm of my hand; carrying it all around the world. The ‘Old Telephone’ ringtone is just a tag in my smartphone ringtone collection, its sound can never vibrate through the sensorium like the real deal.
The new “mobile” phones are always making us accessible to the boss and the pesky ex-friend or relative, of course depending on the mood of the mobile network. And the ironclad excuse of ‘I couldn’t answer because I was not at home’ is forever lost with the evolution of the electronic communication.
The old telephones also gave a mysterious feel of not knowing who’s on the other side until the introduction or confirmation. Unlike the intelligently modified gadgets of the present that leaves next to nothing to our imagination (unless you are a sneaky stalker). The blank calls my sister and I used to make that were excused due to the absence of getting caught; all thanks to the phone without caller id that was yet to reach India — were our moments of childish victory. Not anything diabolical, just calling a number and hanging up before or immediately after a ‘Hello’. But these kinds of silly actions made us feel like the Queen of Pranks.
Taken Aback by Technology
With the accessibility to the Wide World through the Web, came the threat of losing privacy. This is a major risk we have to take for obtaining knowledge. So, in this case, knowledge gives power to us and over us. I yearn for those days when we were a little less knowledgeable. See, ignorance is bliss, sometimes. ‘Cause ignorance at times preserves our innocence. Curious mind begets discovery and invention, but curiosity could also kill the innocent cat. If we had never unlocked this Pandora’s Box of information, we wouldn’t have gotten caught up in the dark web. I know change is inevitable and necessary, but a girl can wish for her privacy!
I remember when I was 8, we lived in a neighborhood with a gigantic playground. Not like the today’s playgrounds with see-saws, swings and much more. It was an empty field with a few trees and without a peek of a weed in the infertile soil. As soon as the clock made its first of the four dings, I ran to the playground like, I was chased by a mad bull. Always the first one on the track. Never was I this particular about my school attendance. Always forgetting about the time, I was the last one to leave too. It was one of the hardest feats for my Mum to get me out of that place, she had to drag me out of there. And I retreated with a sullen spirit. The days when it rained and I was not allowed to go out of the house, I wailed like a Banshee. Such was my love for the ‘Games at Twilight’.
The latest 8-year-olds are also invested in the playground, just that it’s virtual and they are playing with their phalanges on their smart gizmos. No time to go out. Ergo, the lesser fresh air in the lungs, carbon dioxide and monoxide too, for that matter. Hence, good for them! I guess.
These are just a smattering of the many memories that I carry around with me. I am not fretting over the consequences of the advancement of technology. I mean, how can I, while tapping on the keyboard of my computer! It’s just that, as much as I enjoy and take advantage of the progression of human intelligence and technology, the cherished moments of my childhood keep peeking from within.
What do you think? Do you have such memories; you hold dear too, that is fading away with time? Or is it just me!