Remember those days when the greatest joy in life was getting wet in the rains at school, enter a bus full of students completely drenched and shuddering, aiming the index finger at your chaddi-bud’s face and splashing thick droplets of water, reaching home to mom drying you up in warm towels, the aroma of banana fritters being fried in the kitchen.
Remember those days when a cassette stereo or walkman used to be your priceless possession. Listening to MJ, Backstreet Boys, Westlife, Aqua and A R Rahman was like the ‘coolest’ thing back then (Hold on! MJ n’ ARR are still uber-cool!). The times when your friend would use up all their pocket money to buy a plain cassette and ask you to ‘record’ songs for them on your high-end stereo. The walkman that you would carry around 24^7, recording even the most quaintest of household noises to ads on TV to grandma rambling to her friend on the phone about how the priest gave the wrong sermon during last Sunday’s mass.
Remember those days you went to a tuition class (which was generally a cramped up bedroom in the teacher’s house, converted into a classroom) on foot or on your bicycle, sliding down the slope at highest speeds of 40 kmph (LOL, I’m kidding!) to applying sudden brakes n’ crash-landing on the neighbor’s wall. The palpable delight in downing three to four chicken puffs followed by glasses of mango or pineapple squash, all for just ten or fifteen bucks.
Remember those days you would just wait for the last day of exam to commence dusting your 16-bit video game set n’ plugging up the chords and adapter to your TV. Step-by-step process. Connect joysticks. Insert cartridge. Press power button. Choose game. Invite second player to join game. Play the entire f*ckin’ night away! Beating your brother or cousin on Street Fighter / Mortal Kombat / WWF Smackdown! was considered a greater achievement compared to you getting an A+ in your maths exam.
Remember those times when you had your community-based sports and cultural activities, where y’all as kids, participated in pretty much every damn track and field event (including sack race, three-legged race, lemon & spoon race, frog jump n’ so on). The days where you rehearsed so hard getting those dance moves right, which would be flaunted at the upcoming Residents Association event, as if getting a single move wrong was quite literally the biggest shame in your life.
Remember those Sundays where you would pretend to be sick or tired or asleep to avert the disaster otherwise known as Catechism sessions. You finally show up on the exam day pretending like a ‘Chief Guest’ of sorts (Hey everyone! I’m still alive n’ kickin; everywhere else but here :D), just to make sure you pass and move to the next grade.
Remember the days when a visit to the cinemas with family was mandatory, every single occasion a new film was released, just to have a rollicking time even if it involved wading through huge crowds, people stamping on your feet, not getting your-kind-of-popcorn or snack and eventually sleeping through the entire second half of the movie.
Remember those days when ‘combined study’ sessions involved all your friends getting together at your place or a friend’s place (depending on whose mom cooked what special dish that day), wiling away all the time playing board / card games to see who was the biggest bad-ass at Monopoly or Ludo, with textbooks left open (as evidence to show study happened) for moths to lay eggs in.
Remember the times when you had like a zillion cats (of various color-combinations) in your backyard battling each other for your petting, cuddles and fish-y treats. Playing with them was like the greatest diversion from school and exam-related pressures.
Remember the times when going for school-excursions (until grade V or less), usually just a day-trip to the nearby zoo or botanical garden, was like the most-awaited time of the year, with kids begging for permission in their respective homes; the ones who get permission apparently the “cool” ones.
Remember the phase when you had a pen friend who you could contact only via letters. Writing didn’t exactly have to be forced or purposefully encouraged. You would actually take time out of your ‘busy schedule’ to write to your pen-friend and the process of getting your envelope stamped at the post-office, and putting it inside a letter-box were simple joys back then.
.. And shortly afterwards, Internet & Smartphones took over.. 😦