Being a ’90s kid is an amazingly charming thing in itself. Away from the mad world of smart gadgets, we grew up watching the seemingly innocent shows like Disney world, Duck tales, Shaktimaan, Alif Laila, Bournvita Quiz Contest, Mahabharat, Surabhi, Malgudi days, Om Namah Shivay and so on.
We happily drank Complan while secretly wanting to be a Complan boy/girl. Our simple way of life was comparable to the fairly simple gaming experience we had with Super Mario, Battle City, Aladdin and so on.
We spoke to our parents in our respective mother tongues as tiny tots unlike the kids these days who blabber in English right after their birth.We didn’t know what pizza & burger meant until we reached teenage. Kids fashion was a far-fetched word and was usually the name of a tiny shop that sold school uniforms.
The music of that era was also eternally beautiful. I remember my father’s happy face when we had bought our first tape recorder. It was a giant black thing, covering almost the entire rack. My mother made a beautiful cover for it in white wool. Nadeem Shravan’s music had found an inseparable place in a stair case like cassette holder beside the tape recorder.
That was also the time of beautiful greeting cards. My mother has a fond collection of a huge bunch of cards & letters which we got from our near & dear ones on new year, birthdays, anniversary or simply just like that. Those fond giggles still echo in my ears.
I witnessed the first computer when I visited my father’s colleague’s home. The desktop, I remember, a TV like box that had interesting stuff like Pacman & Minesweeper in it. There was a type writer in our home & we had a TV too, in my mind I had the picture of the computer as a combo of TV & typewriter with a small mouse. My eyes shone in wonder as I read happily about ENIAC, EDVAC, Sinclar, Pascal in my computer text books back then.
That was also the era of pagers, primitive mobile phones & digital diaries. I remember my father’s senior in office carrying a pager & mobile phone when he had visited our place for dinner. The mobile phone was of the size of a small papaya. I was so thrilled to see it that I demanded my parents to get it for me with kiddish obstinacy. I remember my grandparents gifting me a toy pager & toy mobile phone. I carried it happily with me hoping to show everyone that I too owned a mobile phone.
The first laptop I saw was in 1998 when we visited an acquaintance’s home. It was the size of a suit case. The display was a bit hazy but nevertheless, it left me spellbound. I wanted to touch the keys & play around with it but stopped as soon as I saw the angry eyes of my father on me.
Almost every evening we had relatives visiting us. Unlike today’s hyper connected virtual life, the best way in which people stayed in touch was by actually visiting their loved ones with a packet of sweets or hot samosas.
Eventually, we got our first computer but my mother didn’t weave a wool cover for it. My father got a mobile phone but with its arrival, his calls from office substantially increased too. Visiting people became an occasional ritual with some puckered eyebrows when one visited them during the time of their favorite daily soaps. Burger & pizza became staple diet for many. The social networking sites had arrived & writing ‘Happy Birthday’ on someone’s wall was much more simpler than sending greeting cards & letters.
The things which had caught my delight in the ’90s were all there in my life in the 2000s, yet I think somehow the element of wonder had faded away with time.
We have latest apps from our Smartphones that can help us call people for free, yet it’s so strange that the number of people we want to call & talk for hours are reducing day by day.
I am a confused adult now, still having the hangover of a time when simple, uncomplicated and leisurely were not just words in the dictionary.
No matter how old I grow, the old world charm of the ’90s keeps luring me to go for a time travel.
Here’s to the ’90s kid in each one of us!
© Sarba Roy