Monday, September 23, 2013

Good ol' days!!

I happened to catch an old song from the movie Aashique (yep, it's the old one I'm talking about, the Annu Agrawal-Rahul Roy one..) and it opened a floodgate of memories. I remember watching this movie with the people in our apartment. We were quite a large group, must've been around 35 people, young and old. It was a long weekend and my neighbour's turn to sponsor. That was how it was, one of us sponsoring the movies every other month... So we all assembled at their house post lunch, waiting to know which movie we would be viewing today. The neighbour announced the name of the movie and we gave a collective whistle of approval.

We all settled into our "seats", the kids on the carpet on the ground and the elders occupying the chairs and sofas, waiting for the movie to begin. Oh, did I not tell you that we were watching it on VCP? The 'VCP' or the 'video cassette player' was the most 'in' thing those days and we didn't even have to own was available on rent for a mere Rs.70/- for 24 hrs!! So we would select a weekend when we could 'fully utilise' the VCP for all it was worth! Meaning, we would rent out at least 3 video cassettes to watch in the 24 hour span even if meant putting all other work on the back burner! If the VCP was brought at 2pm, we would catch one movie in the 2-5pm slot and return for the next one in the night for a 8-11pm show. The last one would be post breakfast the next day, finishing just in time for the return!

In case you haven't seen one before- that's the VCP for you!

In between a potluck of snacks from all the members and cups of hot ginger tea, it would be so much fun watching movies together like that! No amount of PVR movie watching with bags of butter popcorn and cola, can give me that high ever! In between repeating songs that we wanted to view again, fast forwarding scenes that could be even slightly considered adult in nature, amidst shared knowing glances and suppressed smiles, to pausing when someone had to visit the washroom, it was the most exhilarating experience ever!!

This brings to mind something else too....watching a movie in open air with an entire colony!! During Ganesh-Utsav, the colony would rent a screen-projector and we would all be out in the open ground, hurrying to catch a coveted seat and watch the movie together...and erupt in collective applause when Rajesh Khanna would coax his elephant with a melodious "Chal chal chal mere haathi...."

My kids would never know what it would be to gather like that. This kind of community living is totally lost on them! Maybe they'd even think it was annoying! Makes me wonder if I really belong to the stone age!

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