Sunday, April 10, 2016

The Good Old Days

Now a days, very often I think about the kind of life we had when we were very young. We never bothered about anything, we ate when we felt hungry, we were always playing something or other with friends / cousins, we were either cycling madly under the hot sun, without getting heat stroke, never slept in the afternoons, read books like Enid Blyton, Amar Chithra Katha, Phantom and so on.
Life was pretty carefree, with no worries, no tension. How simple life was then.

In the whole lane maybe about 1 or 2 houses may have had a fridge, and maybe only one house might have had an AC and a car. We would be awestruck when we saw such houses which had one or more  of these luxury items. However, people in those days were very informal and friendly, they would give us ice cubes, sometimes home made ice creams, drop us along with their kids to school in their car. In the afternoons, all the mothers would finish their work and meet and learn something new from each other, like cross stitching, embroidery, knitting, making papads together: they had ample time to do all this despite not having any domestic  help in the house.

Never, have we ever imagined that a time would come when we would not be able to live in houses without attached Bathrooms. For in those days wherever we lived whether  it was a house or a flat there used to be only 1 bathroom for the use of the entire family. Strangely, we never had any problems sharing the one single bathroom.

There was no television, our only source of entertainment was a Radio or a Transistor. We never had surprise tests, or too many home works, no coaching classes after school, no tension for getting into the college of our choice etc.

We never felt tired walking miles to our schools, or walking anywhere. The mode of transport was mainly Rickshaws and Buses, and in some places we could use the Tongas. To even have a scooter was a big thing in those days. When we had summer holidays we would be asked by our friends to come and stay  with them  in their houses, and we would have so much fun, if they lived in a colony where they had such facilities like a big swimming pool and lots of common area  to play cricket, gilli dhanda, etc. Then all the parents would plan a big picnic, where the men would take upon themselves to do the cooking and give the ladies their much needed time to chitchat and generally be relaxed.

There was never a need to phone someone before we visited them, for we were always welcome. Plus who had phone those days. Everything was shared with everybody.
I remember, the winters when all of us would pull out the charpais and sit under the warm sun, eating oranges, playing Ludo, and Antaskhari and so on.
We would go to theatre to watch some good movies, eat Samosas, Wafers, Ice creams and drink Coke, Fanta or Goldspot, have a good time.

I remember during my college days too after our college got over, we would just go to our friends place or they would come to our place and we would be chatting, going out together doing window shopping, eating Muri, Churmur, Bhel Puri, Golgappa, drinking countless numbers of Chai. We were all so slim despite eating everything without any restriction. I think it was because of our walking everywhere, we never felt the need to spend time exercising. We never even heard  or spoke about diet or dieting, and  exercising. We were so healthy.

With the advent of TV, which not everyone could afford those days, we found people who had TV  inviting us to come and watch TV in their homes, where they themselves would have a whole lot of family members and on top of that, we would also be there watching some old Hindi movie with them. The only Channel was Doordarshan. Strangely the practice those days was to watch TV with all the lights off, in total darkness.

How slowly, yet steadily things have changed, and how we have changed accordingly. Now we cannot do with just 1 bathroom, 1 bedroom, 1 TV, 1 Car, 1 Phone. Now we have to call up if we are thinking of visiting somebody, and expect the same from them too. We don't like to share anything with anybody. Today, we are more eager to do the home work/ projects given by the school for our  children to do. We want them to go for this and that coaching classes, we don't even let our tiny tots enjoy their holidays for we want to them to attend some Art class, learn Karate, learn music/ dance or do something. We don't want them to just be themselves and just let them enjoy their holidays the way they want to. We want to control every phase of their lives, what they should study, where they should work etc.

We don't eat together, as each one has their own time, and their own way  of eating. We don't like entertaining guests, we just feel obliged to do so, for we have our own  routine to which we have got used to, and we don't have that kind of time.
I am not saying all of us are like this, but most of us are generally like this, even though we might not really want to be like this.

Times have changed and I feel we have also changed, and change is always good. Fifteen years back even I used to walk everywhere, because the roads were good,  it was not so hot and dusty, but now a days it is impossible to walk, what with the heat, dust, and the bad roads with no foot paths, and the heavy traffic where you find two wheelers riding on whatever little bit of the foot path that is left, not caring for the pedestrians: we are all literally living in hell!

Good old days are just memories, meant to be cherished for what they were, one should not expect  the present to be just like the past.