Ah! Those were the days of pure unadulterated fun.
The days before TV became a household necessity. When just a few neighbours had the privilege of owning a colour TV and would happily accommodate the less privileged ones in the homes for the favorite shows. When at exactly 5.30pm on Sundays we would hear “washing powder nirma..washing powder nirma…dudh ki safedi….” on our neighbours TV and realize its time for the Sunday movie on Doordarshan! When we would rush to finish our chores and run to their house just in time for the movie to begin.A movie would be enjoyed over animated talks and cups of steaming hot coffee.
When When the whole family would wait for “Chayageet” on Wednesdays on Doordarshan with no difference of opinion over which program to watch. When siblings did not have to fight over whether they should watch “pokemon” or “tom and jerry” and then decide to watch what each wants on two different TV`s in two different rooms.
When we would wait to reach home after school and go out and complete yesterday`s game of “lagori” with our friends and our parents did not have to worry about watching if we were safe. When we did not need anything more than playgrounds to keep us occupied. When we could play in the rain and not worry about being scolded for the fear of falling sick. When carom boards, chess boards, ludo and snake and ladders did not gather cobwebs in some fancy cupboard but played everyday with siblings and friends.
The days before there were more people in houses than electronic gadgets. When there was so much time for dads and mums to spend with their children. When they taught us virtues and good habits by telling us little stories thus shaping our thoughts and actions. When we felt listened to and important by our parents. When parents did not keep themselves so occupied with their mobiles and laptops that they could not even hear what their little one was trying to say.
The days when we had family get togethers and dinners and the talk would revolve around who was doing what in the family rather than meet on networking sites and discuss scams, fake swamijis, and all irrelevant details.
Wh When cousins would plan little events during family time, enact funny plays and sing songs, bringing out all latent talents out of the closet. When first, second and even third cousins would bond over planning and arguing who got which part to play and practicing the “script” with so much effort. When the whole family would plan picnics together, and hire a bus, carry home made food and all necessary staples for the outing, instead of just one family simply driving out to a mall in their fancy cars and eating all the junk that money can buy. When we carried badminton rackets, cricket sets and volley balls to play during our outings, not video games and i-pods. When we carried a radio instead and tuned in to listen to Amin Sayani`s deep throated voice and the latest movie songs.
When festivals meant, meeting families and friends, eating great food and relaxing. When Diwali meant getting up early, taking oil baths and wearing new clothes. It meant visiting all elders of the family and taking their blessings. The greatest joy was getting a princely Re.5 coin from grandma which she would have planned and kept ready for the entire army of little children who would visit her that day.
When entire families of our apartment would gather after Lakshmi puja during Diwali and burst crackers together. When during Holi, eating “gujiyas” and applying gulal was the most awaited event after the ladies in the apartment had finished praying and dancing around the bonfire lit to signify the burning of “holika” .
When Sankranti saw kite flying competitions on every terrace and the sky would be adorned with kites of every make and colour. When every lady of the house would greet her family and neighbours with til-gud and say “til gud ghya goad goad bola” meaning ,have this ladoo of sesame seeds and jaggery and always speak sweetly.
When Ganesha Chaturthi was far less commercial and much more fun. When dancing in the “sandall” while installing the Ganesha idol was fun and not disgraceful. When the entire society got together and sang “sukh karta dukh harta” with utmost devotion and the prasad “gopaalkaala” that was distributed was a mixture of offerings from all the houses.
When we could solve any problem by just discussing them with our friends while chatting on the terrace of the apartment. When no heartbreak seemed permanent, because friends would help heal the scar. Being scolded by parents did not signal the end of the road and 10year olds did not commit suicide even after being beaten by the parents, because we had friends to share our misery and give guidance.
When board exams of std.10 and 12 were treated as battles, where neighbours would come to our houses and wish us luck and give us gifts like a pen or a small chocolate bar , all aunties in the apartment would feed us dahi-sakkar as a good luck charm and inquire how we had written the exam after we came back. When we distributed sweets to everyone in the apartment after the results were announced, receiving advice on what we should do next. When we felt happy in others achievement and sad in their failures.
When neighbours could ask each other , “I am going to the market, do you need anything” and the favour would be returned without asking, in taking a sick child to the doctor or babysitting or rolling out papads.
These days seem like they were light years ago….I wonder what memories my children will have? What tales will they carry forward to tell their children? Will their cousins be some distant galaxies whom they might not even meet more than once in their entire lifetime? I am pondering over all these thoughts and just then I am shaken awake by an ensuing fight, and a request,
“Mamma, can I see the TV in your room, Chikku will not let me see “Mighty Raju” on POGO, he wants to see “mickey mouse”.”
I am taking part in the write tribe festival of words 8th- 14th december 2013 Write Tribe prompt on Recalling memories