There was a time in my life when Brother and I would be next to our radio at 9 every night. It was time for a popular Tamil music show. I think it was called Geeth Mala. Also, there was the Sri Lankan radio channel that had real good Tamil music that we would tune in for. We would rarely miss it. We used to listen to comedy cassettes on our two-in-one and record our voices on a cassette to play it back when we would get bored during summer. We also had a record player in our house.
We would put our name down for the latest Tintin or Asterix that our lending library had acquired and would fight over it with other kids.
My friend would knock on the door very loud at 8 on Wed and Fri nights. It was time for Chirtahar or Oliyum Oliyum. We did not have TV and my neighbors across our door did. We would all watch TV together eating fruits and chatting. We would also see a program on animals called World of Science or World of Life together diligently.
Of course cricket, tennis and other sports were watched at the club which was just a stone throw away. Together we would cheer, boo, and cry. The club's canteen was always open to fill our happy or sad tummies. At that age I would go to the club to hang out with other kids than to watch TV.
We would go every Saturday night to the Open Air Theater in the club to watch movies, again we always made it into a picnic and fun event.
What fun memories. Our entertainment was plain and simple.
My dad got our first TV in 1989, and our township got cable TV the same year. They would transmit one movies a day and then had some random Russian and Chinese channels that sometimes had subtitles. The movies were fun though.
In spite of having TV in our house now, we would still go and watch it at our friend's house or they would come home. We wanted the company, the camaraderie and loved spending time together. Since TV programs were scarce those days, with Krushi-Darshan (Farmer's Vision) airing at prime time 7.00pm, we would all have dinner and go and hangout outdoors. Our parents would sit on the culvert outside our house and chat, while I would play with kids my size and my brother would hang out with his friends a little ways away. But, we were all together policing the place.
TV never ran the whole time. We had a lot of talk time and one on one interaction. We played a lot outside and enjoyed our time in the sun and rain. Crime rate was so low and life was so much simpler.
Now, things are so different. People are upset and frustrated if the TV does not work, if their favorite program does not get recorded on the DVR or if gmail goes down for half a day. Those days all this was non-existent. I cannot imagine I am saying "those days," already. But they are those days aren't they? Today this is an entirely new life.
For people born in my generation we have seen things go from walk man to a french fry size music player, from writing long letters to typing out words in a short form in e-mail. It was not a bad transition because we lived through it. My child might not know what a walkman is or what a radio/transistor looked like but she already knows what an i-phone is. I only wonder how my parents and yours kept abreast with these changes. Because, sometimes it gets difficult for me to catch up. I can only do either gmail or facebook or twitter at one time. Some people are at all three places at the same time. Phew.
I wonder how I lived those days. How could I have possibly entertained myself with just voice that came over a radio. How could I have written those 14 page letters to my friend in REC Trichy? How did I have the patience to wait for a reply? How could I watch Oliyum Oliyum that played one new song and 10 super old songs? How could I watch Rini Khanna read news on TV with barely any images? or watch a weather report that was outdated by 8 hours? When they said the storm will come tonight, the storm would already be over my house. But those days are simple...
I miss those days...
I remember a scene from the Tamil movie Autograph when Cheran will be riding on a bullock cart. The person driving the bullocks will ask him why he chose this mode of transport when he has so many choices. To which Cheran tells him, "I want to enjoy it before it becomes extinct and will only be present in the history books of little kids." Isn't that so true? Our life is not what it was and will never be because things that were a part of our childhood is not there any more!
In the end...its the memories that carry us ahead...