Saturday, September 20, 2014

Nostalgia - 6 Things To Miss About The Good 'Old Days

Some days after a particularly shitty day, sitting with a cup of instant noodles in my hand, I sit back and reminisce about good old childhood days. The days of no deadlines and bosses, no fast food and cellulite, no fake friends who smile with you at one moment and bitch about you the very next. Someone rightly said, you die twice – once being when your childhood dies. When I look back at the golden era of my juvenile days, there are a special set of things and stuff that come to my mind. I fondly remember and miss some of these, have tried to go back in time on one particularly lonely night (with instant noodles) and listed the below thoughts and things that have been long forgotten and almost obsolete. But still manage to be close to my heart and clearly etched into my memory. Hero goes:

1. Audio Cassettes 

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 In the 90s cassettes held an important place in our hearts and homes. There was a huge drawer in my house which was entirely devoted for cassettes and strangely it still is. Any home party was incomplete without the latest cassettes of hit movies and pop songs. If you liked one particular song in an album to listen to it again and again you had to rewind the cassette, unlike today when the same is done via a click or touch. But there was something really special about that rewind thing, I feel. It felt like you really have to work to get something you desired. Rewind. Check. More Rewind. Ohh no. Too much Rewind. Forward a little. Yea, that’s right. Perfect.

There were too many options out there for but sadly money was pretty limited. On an average each cassette cost was around Rs 40 back then. My first ever buy was Sonu Nigaams very popular album with the hit song “Tu”. I was madly in love with Sonu . The cassette is still at my home, holding a special place with Sneha loves Sonu scribbled on it…Buying cassettes was a very big deal back then. Since we (me and my sister) received no regular pocket money it got difficult for us to manage buying all the latest ones. We had a very clear strategy though. Cassettes were bought only if all the songs (or majority) were good or else we spent our afternoons writing popular songs on papers and sharing it with our local bhaiya who recorded them in a fresh cassette. We named these cassettes with very cheesy names like “Superhits-Vol1”, “Ehsaas”, “Dil ki Baat”.

When we got bored of listening to same songs we recorded new songs onto it from the ever running radio. Vividh Bharti was the only radio station with Chitralok, Pitara, Meri Saheli and other awesome programs. Gosh, it was the best time ever!! It is so astonishing that how suddenly cassettes were wiped off from our lives. One day I was buying cassettes and then suddenly I switched onto CDs and then everything was online. Agreed that what we have today is good and very convenient but sometimes I do yearn of cassettes. I totally understand some people’ fascination with old gramophone records. When I visit my hometown I go through our old collection of cassettes. Each one has a memory associated with it, they make my heart swelled with emotions of nostalgia and longing.

2. Summer vacations at granny’s place 

I am the little one in white dress :) cute no?
 For me a major part of the excitement about the summer vacations was attributed to the time which was to be spent with cousins @ nani-ka-ghar. We would pack our bags with pretty frocks and colorful shorts and scoot off. After waking up to a breakfast of butter smeared paranthas, we sat glued in front of TV for Chutti Chutti on DoorDarshan. Heavy lunch mandated a quintessential afternoon nap. We woke up to suck into juicy cold mangoes and run off to play cricket where all my cousins would bat/bowl and make me the fielder. My cries would force them to let me bat for few bowls but that was it. We also indulged in some healthy rivalry by making groups and teasing/irritating the hell outta each other. Studying and doing the holidays homework was the best part ever. Fighting, tearing each other notebooks, breaking noses and digging hairpins into thighs which caused hospital visits. We have done it all….

These days’ summer vacations of even toddlers are pre booked in form of dance classes, swimming classes, art sessions and loads of holiday’s homework. While all this is definitely important but then so is the trip to nani’s house. This practice needs to be kept alive as it forms an important memory growing up. I am sending off my kids to nani, come what may. Summer classes can wait!

3. Bring back Gold spot and Canada dry

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 Long before taste the thunder and Oh Yes Abhi Gold Spot used to rule the roost. It came in hefty glass bottles which you were supposed to return after consuming. I seriously don’t remember the taste but it was definitely not like Fanta or Miranda. It had awesome ads as well. I still wonder why they stopped making those. Another fab drink from those times was Canada Dry. It was a very controversial drink because of its objectionable colour which made it look like an alcoholic drink. But its taste was mind blowing and its ad was oh-so-sexy with a white tiger in snow and stuff. Canada dry was a favorite of me and my sisters, we were shattered once it was banned or something. There were others as well which came and went just as quickly. I particularly remember Crush because of its interesting pony neck bottle design.

I just saw gold spot and Canada dry ads on you tube and it was wow. So amazing how we forget something that happened yesterday but remember stuff that happened ages ago. I would just do anything for re-introduction of gold spot or Canada dry.

4. Old TV shows 

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This is a huge list. Songs related - Rangoli, Chitrahaar, Superhit Muqabala. Mythological -Chandrakanta, Shri Krishna, Mahabharat, Ramayana. Comedy/Fiction – Ek se bhadkar ek, Shreeman Shreemati Samay, Tehkikaat, Shaktiman, Captain Vyom, Sea Hawks, Hip Hip Hurray, Just Mohabbat, Surbhi, Malgudi Days, Disney Hour. This and those old English shows like Small wonder, I dream of Jennie, Full house with Uncle Joey and cute little Mischelle.

5. Portable video games/Comics

I am taking about those adorable little devices which looked like mobile phones. Few buttons, some car racing, block breaking games together with lot of shouting in background from Mom. These are my memories of the portable video game. That and when ours got broken and my sister took it to her lab for getting it soldered. Needless to say, that was the last I saw of it.

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Comics were a clear favourite. Being youngest for a long time amongst my cousins, I had an easy access to a myriad of comics ranging from Archies to Chacha Chowdhary. Tinkle and Pinki. Billu and Nagaraj. I loved all but I had and still have a super soft corner of Archies. It was just so fancy to me. Veronica with her awesome fashion sense. Betty with the perfect girl next door features. The cute freckled Archie, Jughead the foodie, mean Reggie and other characters at Riverdale. I was so psyched when I came to Mumbai and visited Pop Tate’s for the first time, in the comics it was a popular eatery where the Riverdale gang hanged. I still sneak in copies of Archie’s from crosswords, well some guilty pleasure.

6. Neighbourly Culture 

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Back in my childhood, neighbors were like extended families. My family is still in touch with neighbors we had in all our previous homes we lived it. I particularly remember Verma Aunty. Sometimes when I came home and my mother was not there, she used to leave the keys with Verma Aunty and I would go collect it from her. Verma aunty gave the keys but not before she fed me dry fruits and a chilled glass of roohafza. And neighbors kids were usually the ones you developed crushes on. Peeking from windows, behind curtains, eye contacts on the terrace, getting all shy and blushing in their presence. It was all so filmy and cute.
These days’ people are totally unaware of next door people, having any kind of relationship with them is totally out of question.

So many other things come to my mind that were an integral part of growing up, but yes a lot of work is involved in providing a description to them. Being an engineer I am not really a fan of one liners. I only wanted to include stuff for which I have big fat lines of description readily available in the Random Access Memory of my brain. So now over to you guys, please leave behind nice description of your childhood memories.



  1. Ya ...loved it the childhood...
    Nani ka Ghar was my favorite ...
    But now cousins are also so much busy that we don't know the names of their children....
    Hope we can rewind into those days..
    But u r piece of writing did that ...
    Thanks and keep writing.

    1. You are so right...! I have not even met some of my cousin's children. Its all so sad....

  2. Well written, welcome back to blogging :) Very happy to read about all your childhood stories, I can related to all of them and I am sure the list remains the same for all those people whose childhood was in the 90s :)

    You have intelligently covered all the important elements, so there isn't lot I can add to the list. Definitely miss the audio cassettes, they bring back lots of memories. I used to sing and record in cassettes in my late teens. My granny lived with us, but we had a great time visiting our relatives during summer vacation!! I remember Gold Spot and Canada Dry, yes wish they come back :)

    The old tv shows were indeed amazing, you've covered the best of them, but there are cartoon shows too which were a huge attraction in those days - Mowgli's The Jungle Book, Ducktales, Mickey & Friends, TaleSpin, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, etc on DD Metro.

    And yes, when it comes to comics, can't agree more with what you said. As a primary school student, I used to believe that Chacha Chaudhary's brain works faster than a computer!! ;) Pinki, Billu, etc Champak, Amar Chitra Katha - Akbar & Birbal; Tinkle Digest's - Shikari Shambu, Suppandi, etc; Also, Chandamama stories, Tin Tin comics, etc

    Neighbourly culture was nice, warm and friendly in those days. Today, people are so busy with their lives, they hardly have time for any kind of interaction whatsoever, so sometimes when you move into a new house, you might not even get to interact and know your neighbours until a long time.

    Keep writing more, enjoy your hobby of blogging!!

    All the Best,
    Sai :)

    1. Well you covered all the things i missed in the post :)
      Your comments always Make me smile!

  3. Those were the days, totally priceless and life time memories. The next door neighbors were and are still family. So true bout cassettes, rewind, play, forward and recording on radio. Pure bliss! The 90s songs were fab! Today tech has robbed a whole gen of such joy.

    1. I know technology has its pros but its cons are way more

  4. Well it was a lot Easier meeting a good woman to settle down with which today it is very hard to meet a good one.

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