Saturday, June 20, 2009

Good Old Days

After every seven years, you are a new biological person. Defining the boundaries of a new generation is a difficult question and doesn’t have any objective criterions. As against the present times, a man released after 30 years in jail in 550 AD wouldn’t have had to deal with the strangeness of cellphones, cable-TV, high rises and short skirts.

In Indian context, I would say that those born after 1987 are the current generation. They don’t know that Door-Darshan was simply called TV, those driving Maruti-800 were considered rich, they probably have never heard about Cibaca Sangeet Mala and the SurTaaz Bigul, and they didn’t witness the emergence of Sachin Tendulkar. By the time they were five, the waves of globalization had begun engulfing the country.

You hear a lot of “Kids these days are so smart” chat these days just because they know a lot and can play with gadgets. They absorb a lot of filth shown on TV. Life used to be simpler in those days when we just had Ramayana and Vikram-Baital for our fantasies.

My younger brother (Bala) and I used to have Yudhha with bow and arrows. It was a pattern with every game that I played to win while he played for fun. However, one particular day he was extra ferocious and caught me by surprise with his Brahmastra baan. The moment I died, he walked two steps towards the wall and shouted “Pushpa Varsha”. Three kids were waiting with flowers on terrace and threw them on him chanting “Dhanya ho Bala! Bala ki Jay ho!” Watch this video to gain the perspective.

Inspired by the Olympics of 1988, we used to have a fight-hour everyday after the school which included boxing, karate, kushti etc with strict rules like no pinching, hair-pulling, ijjat se khelna (pulling down shorts) and no going to momma crying after getting beaten. The last rule used to be broken sometimes or to shut him up I had to carry my brother on my shoulders (Vikram-Baital style) while he used my ears to navigate left and right turns. To begin pillow fight, we used to pretend as if we are laborers carrying heavy sacks (pillows) on the back and looking up at a fictitious aero-plane in the sky. Then we would collide and shout at each other “Abe saamne dekh ke nahi chal sakta” and then in rage, attack each other with our sacks.

Whenever there was any chat of naughty toddlers at home, my mom would start “Humara chotaa bahut badmaash tha…” When I confronted her once for any tales of my childhood adventures, the only claim to fame was “Isko to jahaan chodd do, 2 ghante baad wahin baitha milta tha”.

And then there were trips to villages, where we ran around in fields in 45 degree Sun, sat on bullock carts, bought 5 paisa burf-ka-gola and saw death been taken lightly. There was no need to divide players while playing cricket. Caste did it for us. It used to be Patils vs us. I was in a pretty good form in one such match and when I played a shot high in the air on leg side, the Patils shouted “Sursyaaa, Catch Ghe” who was supposed to be fielding there. Suresh becomes Sursyaaa in Marathi. However, Sursyaa was shitting outside the boundary at that time. For 70% India, the whole world is a toilet. I am probably the only batsman in cricket history whose catch has been dropped because the fielder was squatting to answer nature’s call. I wish I could show that video to bowlers when they angrily scream for catches that even a fifteen footer couldn’t have taken at the boundary.

Given a choice though, I would like to be born in present times. The only disadvantage I see is that there is a lot of borrowed wisdom nowadays due to easy accessibility to knowledge. It is a painful experience to read about a 14 year old blogger impressed by Ayn Rand’s philosophy since she was eleven. I am not against 14 year olds blogging and reading books. In fact, not very proud of myself that I read my first book at 19. But they must be shielded from stupid ideas until they acquire the abilities to judge them.

Taking things to be cool because they are western and different happens a lot these days. In Kharagpur, I once entered into the room of a friend who was shouting “We Don’t Need No Education” with Pink Floyd. That was the age when many of us spent days with drug, masturbation and rock n’ roll. Ok, replace drug with alcohol.

My reaction to that guy was “Saale nakli. Din me 25 ghunta padh padh ke IIT clear kiya hain. Abhi Stanford me Ph.D. ke liye apply kiya hain. Sun-na hain to sun ye gaana. Lekin feeling ke saath chillane ka natak mat kar.” I mean seriously. I don’t get the head-banging people over here do in rock concerts while listening to a number on Vietnam War when they can’t even locate it on the Map, let alone know reasons behind the lyrics. And they yell with rage “Daddy what you leave behind for me..”. Bhai , bharat ek parivarik type ka desh hain. We have mostly loving families here who want to leave behind as much as possible for their kids. The only single parents you would find in India would be Preity Zinta in “Kya Kehna” or Sushmita Sen in adopted reality. Teenagers here stay with their parents and the only ones who are independent and start earning by the age of sixteen, usually don’t have access to such songs.

Recently I read a blog of a teenager who was 17 and worried about getting older. She already has doubts that she would die a lonely dame. Let me recite a recent incident for her. Bala and I would be going home next week. We’ve been playing cricket on our terrace since the time it was built. Bala told me that when he informed Mom of our plans to come, she said this to the maid “Baai, chat (Terrace) achche se saaf kar dena. Bahche aa rahen hain. Cricket khelenge.” Of course, if my mom would have had her way, it would have been our kids for whom the terrace shall be cleaned.

PS: Preeti has tagged me here with the title of the post.


Anonymous said...

This post made me nostalgic! I thought "Chitrahar" and Dekh Bhai Drkh. But that was in cable I think...
But dude I was born before 1987 and used to read The Readers Digest since I was 11. You read your 1st book at 19!?! tsk tsk...

BrownPhantom said...

Yeah..Reader's Digest is fine . I read champak, Diamond & Raj-comics at that age :).
But, mind you, covered up later at a quick pace.

AJ said...

dude.... fundooo tha!!! roflolz... I had good fun with my "goa"waala whisky... ( I had invited bala to have it too this week :P)!!

Las vegas se.... Las dewas pahunchnaa bahut easy nahi hai.. but u did well.. :P

I see in my iulding kids play , HIDE N SEEK with their mobile phone.. :(.. WTF!!! nintendo, X-BoX n oder crap have won over some of our cool gaonti games.. I feel now how Iraq must have felt when Dubya attacked them.. shey!! :P

the last couple of lines were amazing!! n part of ur crcketing history.... knowing nish, it was much more fun.. would luv to visit dewas one day, may be for "u guys' marriage" :p

ps: (only for nish)....dewas, mein paani rahega I hope... [:D]

cheers man!!

Aparna said...

Trasported me back to the good old Doordarshan days. I remember Humlog, Dekh bhai dekh and Quiz Time with great fondness. Whatever the kids may say, I think we had all the fun.No Nintendos or Xbox can take the place of our childhood fun and frolic.

Preeti Shenoy said...

I burst out laughing twice when I read this post. One was the Yuddha death scene and other was vivid description of Sursya :)
Pillow fights sound very familiar.:)
You are so absolutely right about Ayn Rand.
And talking of Bikram betal, today my son carried my daughter same style and I clicked a snap. :)
And may your mom have her way soon (and not the Matt Dunn way :P) :) Being a mother I am of course on her side :)
Should I even say you did not disappoint at all? :)
Superbly written.

Preeti Shenoy said...

And forgot to say thank you for doing the tag :)

Grayquill said...

Your post reiminded me of my brother and I when we would fight. Parts of your post I didn't get of course since I only know english.
But I still enjoyed it.
Thank you!

BrownPhantom said...

Dhanyawaad mitra.
Bilkul aaon Dewas. Paani ka poora intezaam rahega :).
Yeah, gaonti game have their charm. Xbox to kabhi tryy bhi nahi kiya hain :).

Yes, those were the days. Truth be told ,not a big fan of them :). Thanks for your visit and plz keep coming back :)

BrownPhantom said...

Really glad that you liked it.
You reminded abt one more difference. We never used to have snaps for all the occasions. And it's always the elder one who do all the hard work :).Thanks for all your comments :).

Many thanks for your visit. I shall try to put the translations wherever possible. Of course, they won't have the same effect, but should be fine. Bro-fights have always been a lot of fun :)

Vinnie said...

hey..this is damn too good yaar!
u've managed to bring it out accurately...i too had similar experiences reading blogs by young teenagers...most of their perceptions r borrowed ones n hardly portray any 'true' connection to them..

i could almost imagine that sursyaa episode :) n u n ur bro reminded me of me n my bro :)

i was born before 87 n grew up completely on Readers digests n phantom comics :P

do enjoy at the 'chath' n befriend some 'masakkalis'..

Piggy Little said...

i loved this post. and i agree with all of it, the good old days were, so so good. its unbelievable that kids dont do things the same way anymore.

watching duck tales (baloooo...) byomkesh bakshi, tehekikaat...n all of it was so much more fun.

reading those small stories in chapmak, n shikari shambu in tinkle. i still feel goosebumps wen i think of them time i had to give away all of it to the kabadi waala because my youngers cousins wud never ve anythin to do with them. they were just not into reading.

wen we joined college, people like me who could afford desktops were rich. and lucky. and privileged. when we reached out third year and our juniors walked in, they all had laptops and high end cell phones. suddenly, it was a different world. we were used to talkin to our parents twice a week for abt 10 mins...from that phone that was installed in the hostel building. my first cell phone was in my second semester of my third yr.

and now, things n people n world, n kids esp. r beyond recognition.

somehow, they seem to be missin out on the joys in the little things that r there in life. the scratches of childhood, the deep bonds of friendships, and everything else, including innocence.

thank you for this, poignant and thought provoking post.


Bubbles said...

whoa tat was awesome! ur post sure got a smile to my face...makin a trip down the memory lane! it got me all nostalgic...barf ka gola, pillow fights...:)

Gymnast said...

Hi there , i guess i belong to the "current generation".
I fail to see how Ayn Rand's philosophy can be seemed "stupid"
A die hard fan of Ayn Rand , an insult to be will be taken personally.
Anyhow , nice flow in writing, had me hooked.

Nicky said...

I was born in 87, never owned an xbox or anything similar!

You are biased against people like me :(

Just kidding, loved the post :)

I did read a LOT of books, I had finished most of Robin Cook and Arthur Hailey by the time I was 13. Then I moved on to Stephen Covey :O

My reading did take a dip after I turned 19!

Talking about being 17 and worrying that one'd end up alone! I am 21 and I am QUITE clear I'd end up alone or horrifically miserable!

My sis and I have already decided that we will be living together till posterity!

Especially now that I know I will have a generation gap with all guys born after 87 (read: older to me)


Will most probably write a similar post on my blog soon!

Nice one, keep posting!!

Stillness Speaks said...

I really liked your post :) Got me thinking of Dekh Bhai Dekh, Vikram Betal (which I still watch on Colors), Ali Baba Chalis Chor( the puppet show) and so many others! Those were the days with variety. Today it's only about the saas troubling the bahu, or vice versa :)

It IS indeed very troubling to see what all these kids get influenced with. And depression and anxiety at 19. I didn't know what they were at that time!!

Very thought provoking. Really liked it :)

BrownPhantom said...

Thank you so much for your kind words. Let's not be too harsh with the teenagers though :). I am sure our previous generations didn't have very promising notions of us too :).
No masakali nearby my "chhat" :).

BrownPhantom said...

I was an yearly subscriber of champak :). And yes, remember Shambhu shikari. As I said in My response to Vinnie, I believe our previous generation thought so too. Still yes, the rate of change has been much more faster in current times.
And in the end, who knows what was right :).
Same here with the desktop and calling home experiences.
Thank yo uso much for your appreciation and detailed comment. I agree with your last points too .

BrownPhantom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BrownPhantom said...

:). I am not against the 'new' generation. In fact I said that given a choice I would like to be born in present times .
And not too many issues with Ayn Rand either, provided you were not her fan at the age of 11.
Discussing her would take up a lot of space, but I advice googling for "Ayn Rand Critiue". Weigh for yourself the arguments and choose your side.
Thank you so much for your visit :).

BrownPhantom said...

I try my best not be biased as some of my responsed above might substantiate.
You are the border line case :).
At 21, you are probably worrying about the wrong things :).
Many thanks and I shall be waiting for your post on the topic.

Thanks :). What was your favorite flavor in the barf ka gola? I liked the red one :).

BrownPhantom said...

@Stillness Speaks,
Yes, commercialization has led to creation of many sellable items rather than quality ones. However, there are a few very high quality programs nowadays which wouldn't have been possible without such expansion.

Exactly, depression in teenage is rising. There are just too many stimulus very easilsy available and human mind would need time to adapt itself to them.

Thanks a lot :).

Sanjay said...

Interesting observations and lovely memories :). Here after many days. Enjoyed this one the most.

Rash said...

Lol...loved the write-up, and went back in past...its quite a coincidence actually that today only me and one friend were talking about this exactly on the same lines and thought of writing it down :) lets see if i still can as you've more or less written each and every thing i thought of vaguely, nonetheless i enjoyed every bit here :)

Winnie the poohi said...

Awwww! Good old days indeed :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with your post. We do have easy access to almost every information. Thanks to technology.

Keep writing. Looking forward to reading more :)

Rohan Saundattikar said...

It has now become a habit to check ur blog every few days :). I remember your "chhat" cricket and as a matter of fact, I am going home this friday too. Maybe we can organize a "Triangular Series" ;-)

Lakshmi said...

Gr8 Post...Interestin read.. Liked it a lot... I was born in '87 n I still think life was a lot simpler n so much fun then...n yes, I strtd readin books at a young age too, thanks to my mom... but all wat my cousin's kids do nowadays is watch action movies on TV, check their MAIL( frm age 7) and remain hooked to their play stations 24/7...

Absolutely Normal Chaos said...

I miss Mowgli :(

P.S. Well-written, very impressive. I'm so taken in by it though that I'm busy dealing with the wave of nostalgia to be able to incisively comment on your post :P

Bubbles said...

ohh yeahh, i loved the red one too :)))

Meghana Naidu said...

etertaining as always, especially the "sack-pillow role play bit" that was exactly what those days were like!

I had the most divine childhood,
grew up in a small town within shouting range of all friends,

my "cool hangout' was a huge guava tree with our names chiselled on the choice seating spots.

playing cricket right next to a huge well. i think fishing out the balls was more fun than the game itself!

i could go on and on, and yes thank you for reminding to remember. :)

Pinku said...

lovely post...

our childhood days were much better...i actually pity the present generation...too much too soon...and consequently no value for anything.

BrownPhantom said...

Yeah may be :) Who knows whether there is value in that too :).
Thanks a lot.

Yes..Gimme Red. :).

BrownPhantom said...

Yes small towns have their own charm. By the way, your writing never gives that away :).
Thanks :).

@Absoltely Normal Chaos,
Your current comment is more than enough :). Really glad to see you here.

BrownPhantom said...

Thank you :) I shall be waiting for your post.

Yeah, they were so good. Glad to see you again :).

Thank you so much for your appreciations :).

Thanks man :)

BrownPhantom said...

Yes yes. There is a boring uniformity sometimes :).
Thanks for your comment :)

Sahi hain. Bangalore me to nahi mil paaye Dewas me mil sakenge :).
Aa jaayio kabhi bhi. We'll reach Dewas on Sunday morning.
Kaafi tough hain waise meri terrace pe khel paana. Bahut complicated rules hain :).

bondgal_rulz said...

Awwww.....this was sooo nostalgic!!!

He and your bro seem to have loadsa fun!!

I too used to play a hell lotta cricket as a kid, much to my mom's dislike. ;)

And according to your defintion, I'm current generation too and though I might have missed the emergence of Sachin, I did witness his rise to greatness. :)

And ohhhhhh!!! I too read the whole of Shakespeare when I was in class 7 and thoroughly enjoyed it! though I'm sure that I'll be able to appreciate it a lot more now.

And this has been a super long comment!! *grins sheepishly*

Very very cute post!! :)


Anonymous said...

I used to read Billoo comics amd I also used to read Archies just to keep in pace with my classmates in reading hep comics. I wonder why my batch mates never thought it to be cool to read Hindi newspapers and update yourself and rather we would go on about The Hindu and TOI. I go no problem with it per se but just that most of us lack maturity and we are so post colonial. Everything western is so cool, including their classics. Like reading Calvin Hobbes and Tom Sawyer. Probably its because we learnt the term classic in their language and of course their perception. But what education should do is teach us how to think for ourselves rather than to think the way the then trendsetters did.

Oh and I also remember Tehkikaat and Reporter which they used to air on doordarshan. God thats the first time I ever saw a female being exploited by her boss who gave her a bikini to wear and then suddenly the serial was banned or was not aired for sometime. Long way we have come..

You are a brilliant thinker. Cheers
Delphian Oracle

Destination Infinity said...

I think it is the same - Living in those old days and now. Our illusions keep changing, that's all! There are positives and negatives to both.

Destination Infinity

Kanchan said...

awwww ....very cute ..simply loved ur post !! i wanna play cricket too, on chatt :)

Jinu P said...

I havent read anything in the longest time ever that has pierced me like this. i can relate to every single line uve written here. I couldnt agree more with the pink floyd lyrics being sung in the heaviest of tones. Ive seen tonnes of those!

and yes, u gotta see the world 1st hand where after buying soap/shampoo/2pcks of maggi and pen refills, u r barely left with money to eat one meal other than mess ka khana for the month. not because parents dint have it, but becuz they chose to teach us what life is.

and it is then that having an opinion about Howard Roark of Fountainhead makes sense. Not when all you've done is play games on your play station and one day decided that reading is the next 'in' thing to do.

BrownPhantom said...

@Bondgal, Shakespeare in 7th :O.
Yeah , give it a go now :). I read Aldous Huxley at 20 & it flew over my head...
Yes of course, I envy your generation ;)
Thank you so much for your long comment :)

Thanks a lot :)

BrownPhantom said...

@Delphian Oracle,
You are bang on targer about the "classics" I think . Yes, education system needs the changes.
Aah, You have a strong memory. Now that you mentioned I remember that the serial was stopped after that eposiode :).
Thank you so much for your appreciation and kindest of words :)

@Destination Infinity,
Yes , the perceptions have changes, but one can't deny the change in times too. Totally agree that every coin has two sides. Thanks a lot :).

BrownPhantom said...

Really !! :).
You so rightly put some of the points. One needs to struggle first to be able to relate to the learnings and words.
I am a Pink FLoyd fan, but I listen to their numbers with empathy and not fake identifications.
Looks like you have met many of the stereotypes mentioned in the post.
Really glad to see you back after a long time :).

DPhatsez said...

Yo man! whack those phonies who are a kalank on the name of Floyd.
Bleddy Phools get drunk on half a glass of Vodka and dont even know the lyrics to the song and go "Floyd Rulz maaan!"

Oye! You forgot Jungle Book "Chaddi Pehenke Phool khila hain Phool khila hain"

I miss the time when people wanted to play sports, they'd get out and play. None of this Wii-Wii crap :)

Nice one Prakassya/BagPiper


BrownPhantom said...

In my next post, you shall see that I didn't forget that.
Yup, outdoor sports is dying fast.
BagPiper nahiiii yaar.
Thanks man :).

Anonymous said...

those born after 87?
:))ah!now I Know why younger bro thinks I am and I quote'old -fashioned'

I so agree about the maruti 800 :) that was the first 'family' car:)

Life used to be simpler in those days when we just had Ramayana and Vikram-Baital for our fantasies.
I agree :)

LOL!! the dhanush baan reminded me of my yuddha with my elder bro :D

LOL!! I am trying to imagine the pushp varsha!!! yeah I saw the video :D:D

, ijjat se khelna (pulling down shorts)
*ahem* LOL!!!!!

To begin pillow fight, we used to pretend as if we are laborers carrying heavy sacks (pillows) on the back and looking up at a fictitious aero-plane in the sky. Then we would collide and shout at each other “Abe saamne dekh ke nahi chal sakta” and then in rage, attack each other with our sacks.

ROFL!!! Prashant this was also my childhood! :D:D

Cricket!! that is some unique memory and I am sure the only one of its kind :D

Anonymous said...

I mean seriously. I don’t get the head-banging people over here do in rock concerts while listening to a number on Vietnam War when they can’t even locate it on the Map, let alone know reasons behind the lyrics. And they yell with rage “Daddy what you leave behind for me..”. Bhai , bharat ek parivarik type ka desh hain. We have mostly loving families here who want to leave behind as much as possible for their kids.

I agree .

loved this post Prashant :)
I wouldn't mind being born today but then I think I would miss out on the simple pleasures that made my childhood (and everyone else's I am sure) so unique..:))

we were blessed with a rare innocence ( I think kids to day in small towns and villages still are)

and our toys didn't have to be glorious or expensive..

we enjoyed books, fought with pillows, dug in the garden for hours searching for elusive creatures:D, scraped our knees and mom said khelte huye lag jaati hai, drama mat karo..(when I was convinced that I was about to die from the blood loss) :D

life in those times anyday:)))

LOVED this post:)

Shruthi said...

Loved it. Your post bought back all those memories. I miss those days. Specially summer holidays. Eating mangoes, playing (outside) 24/7 and visiting grandma were some of my summer ‘activities’.

Even we staged our own ‘plays’ at home- my sister, cousin and I. We were very much inspired by Tinkle and Jataka tales.. We tried hard to come up with Kannada dialogues but failed miserably. And so we enacted Tinkle stories, as it is, in engleees. I remember when we “performed” in front of my family, my grandma was surprised to hear my cousin beg in English. “alms alms please give me 10 paisa” ,she dutifully delivered her dialogue (though 10 paisa was a small amount, she did her job poor thing). We were all asked to perform this story so many times! Such stardom, at such an early age, you can see that. Ask any 10 year old to do that now and s/he will bleddy thupp on us. Sigh
We didn’t know who Ayn rand was, but we did know Uncle Pai, isn’t it? :D

Anonymous said...

1987 thing was very well classified. When TV meant Doordarshan and there was a distinction between a color and a B/W TV. Cibaca/Binaca geet maala or the reliance cup in india or the carl lewis/ ben johnson sprint in olympics or a 15 year old sachin taking on Abdul Qadir.

Bows and arrows or gulel or kanchey or gilli danda were the famous games. Chacha chaudhary was the only comics around. When a round of bicycle in the scorching heat was bliss. When a imli ki goli or khatta meetha churan were the best delicacies around. I feel proud to be a part of this generation!

Completely agree, but would beg to differ at one place.
I don’t get the head-banging people over here do in rock concerts - True for most of the lots, but not for everyone. Well rock 'n' roll is not only about head banging and drugs and sex. It is more than that. It is a philosophy for few, a way of life for some. Probably you may differ, but that's the way it is for few of us who actually get goose bumps while listening to few of the guitar riffs or following the philosophical lyrics from Floyd. But then, that's just me and not "nakli" me :)

This is one heck of a post! Very well written!

preposterous girl said...

Hi Prashant.
A very nostalgic post..reminded me of my childhood games with my bro.. we also used to have yudhha.. watching rangoli on sunday mornings ,then Ramayana.. Those were the days!! sigh..
And yes the eternal pillow fights..U gave an apt description.. :-)
I also started reading around 17 or 18 years after I was born..before that it was chandamama, nandan , champak , chacha chowdhary , nagraj..
Yes I use to read nagraj too :P
u r very right there..Aping western attitudes just to look cool with giving least attention whether is it remotely applicable to our warm and loving close-knit family environments , is the order of the day..
great post..keep them coming :-)

Meghana Naidu said...

it doesnt? never really thought about it. :O
i really did have the storybook childhood *sigh
Will write some, although direct references are not really my style ;)

Sanket Korgaonkar said...

Mai Samay bol raha hu ....... and then it used to begin, O and Danny Denzoppa Ajnabi its title song la lala la la li lala la la li la la la. Good one - I am back in that time now .......

BrownPhantom said...

Yes, I remember that :).Thanks.

You must have had that:). We too had a well in our cricket ground. Direct references need not be the only indicators :). Thanks :).

@preposterous girl,
Thank you so much.
Yes Nagraj & Super-Commando-Dhruv were my heroes too :).

BrownPhantom said...

I am a floyd fan too. And I understand what you were saying. My rant is against the fake-followers :). There are ten of them for every genuine one .

Funny skit :). Yes I recallUncle Pai. Thank you so much :)

BrownPhantom said...

Your comment make me switch sides. I shall rather be born again in the same era :)
Funny "blood loss" drama :).
And digging the garden for strange creatures; that was really engrossing :).