Someone emailed me the following article. I liked it and thought of sharing it with my friends on rediff. All the youngsters on Rediff may find it a bit difficult to conceive that such a world existed. Yes, it did, and most of its inhabitants were reasonably happy….
For those who grew up during the 70s in middle class India, here are some things that you can identify with – at least I do!
1. Though you may not publicly own to this, at the age of 12-17 years, you were very proud of your first ‘Bell bottom’, your first ‘Maxi’ or your first Apache jeans.
2. Phantom Mandrake were your only true heroes. The brainy ones read ‘Competition Success Review’.
3. Your ‘Camlin’ geometry box Natraj/Flora pencil was your prized possession.
4. The only ‘holidays’ you took were to go to your grandparents’ or your cousins’ houses.
5. Ice-cream meant only - either an orange stick, a vanilla stick, or a Choco Bar if you were better off than most.
6. You gave your neighbour’s phone number to others with a ‘c/o’ written against it because you had booked yours only 7 years ago and were still waiting for your number to come.
7. Your first family car (and the only one) was a Fiat or an Ambassador. This often had to be pushed by the entire family to get going.
8. The glass windows in the back seats used to get stuck at the two-thirds down level and used to irk the shit out of you! The window went down only if your puny arm could manage the tacky rotary handle to pull it down. Locking the door was easy. You just whacked the other tacky, non-rotary handle downwards.
9. Your mom had stitched the weirdest lace curtains for all the windows of the car. They were tied in the middle and if your dad was the comfort-oriented kinds, you had a magnificent small fan upfront.
10. Your parents were proud owners of HMT watches. You ‘earned’ yours after SSC exams.
11. You have been to ‘Jumbo Circus’; have held your breath while the pretty young thing in the glittery skirt did acrobatics, quite enjoyed the elephants hitting football, the motorcyclist vrooming in the ‘Maut ka Gola’ and it was politically okay to laugh your guts out at dwarfs hitting each others bottoms!
12. You have at least once heard ‘Hawa Mahal’ on the radio.
13. If you had a TV, it was normal to expect the neighborhood to gather around to watch the Chitrahaar or the Sunday movie. If you didn’t have a TV, you just went to a house that did. It mattered little if you knew the owners or not.
14. Sometimes the owners of these TVs got very creative and got a bi or even a tri-coloured anti-glare screen which they attached with two side clips onto their Weston TVs. That confused the hell out of you!
15. Black White TVs weren’t so bad after all because cricket was played in whites.
16. You thought your Dad rocked because you got your own (the family’s; not your own own!) colour TV when the Asian Games started. Everyone else got the same idea as well and ever since, no one came over to your house and you didn’t go to anyone else’s.
17. You dreaded the death of any political leader because of the mourning they would announce on the TV. After all how much ‘Shashtriya Sangeet’ can a kid take? Salma Sultana also didn’t smile during the mourning.
18. You knew that ‘Indira Gandhi’ was somebody really powerful and terribly important. And that’s all you needed to know.
19. The only ‘gadgets’ in the house were the TV, the Fridge and possibly a mixer.
20. All the gadgets had to be duly covered with a crochet covers and sometimes even with ingenious, custom-fit plastic covers.
21. Movies meant Rajesh Khanna or Amitabh Bachchan. Before the start of the movie you always had to suffer the obligatory ‘Newsreel’.
22. You thought you were so rocking because you knew almost all the songs of Abba and Boney M.
23. Your hormones went crazy when you heard ‘Disco Deewane’ by Naziya Hassan - Zoheb Hassan.
24. School teachers, your parents and even your neighbours could whack you and it was all okay.
25. Photograph taking was a big thing. You were lucky if your family owned a camera. A reel of 36 exposures was valuable hence it justified the half hour preparation ‘setting’ the ‘posing’ for each picture. Therefore, you have at least one family picture where everyone is holding their breath and standing at attention!
And we were really happy then….