July 24, 2018
Do any of you miss those carefree good old days of childhood when we could play all day, go to bed without any stress and live life without any worries? I miss my childhood days so much, I wish I could sit in a time machine and go back in time to relieve those glorious days. Sometimes I even regret growing up. Though every phase of life has its own charm and importance for me my childhood days are the best days of my life.
Coming home with scraped knees and sweaty clothes full of mud and getting scolded by parents - when I think about it now I cannot help but smile. Those were the days when all I had to do was attend school and do a little bit of home work. I did not have to go through the ordeal of tuitions. I was literally thrown out of the house to go play outside. Once I was out, I never used to get tired playing and my parents had to forcibly take me home after dark.
I was not an easy child to my parents. While playing I always wanted my way even when playing with older boys. Small fights, arguments, not so harmful abuses and crying If I did not have my way, was the norm and finally my parents were forced to come to pacify me when I resorted to cry. The memory of those days is still vivid in my mind. Sometimes when I pass by some small towns and villages and see people play, I envy them. How I wish I could join them. I remember those endless visits to parks, museums, carnivals, circus events and the regular joy rides with parents as if they happened just yesterday. During my childhood days there used to be an annual fair at Mangala Stadium and I must say I made the best use of that. I was fortunate enough to experience the thrills of riding on horses, camels, elephants, donkeys and I used to pester my dad every day to take me to more of such rides. My dad wanted me to learn swimming and used to take me to Mangala Swimming Pool near Mangala Stadium. I was not too inclined to swim those early days and somehow used to manipulate my father to take me to the fair promising him that I would swim the next day. This went on as long as the fair was there.
I remember playing with the simplest of toys such as the chaiyya chaiyya phone, crazy balls; pokemon and yu-gi-yoh cards, building blocks and some kitchen vessels also and I was so happy playing with these. I was not after fancy toys or high-tech gadgets. In my case a plastic or rubber ball could keep me occupied the whole day. I used to play with the ball even inside the four walls of our small apartment and remember breaking countless wall clocks and some clay articles. After that I never saw any timepieces or wall clocks in our apartment.
Cycling was also a big part of our childhood. I still remember my first cycle, a tri-cycle, a blue one and everyone including my parents used to ride it at home as part of keeping me entertained. That tricycle was quite sturdy and withstood double and triple rides (sitting on the lap) and also the weight of people of all ages. I used to make my parent ride and used to stand on it. As I grew little older I was given a new cycle which was quite attractive and modern and when I went riding on the streets it attracted eyeballs. Going to unknown places with my trusty cycles and coming back with bruises was so common back in those days. The memories and the thrill of playing football, cricket, volleyball, kho-kho in the rain is something which I cherish even today. I had joined cricket coaching at a young age and remember losing my milk teeth while playing cricket at Nehru Maidan. I also remember getting hit by a hard ball on my forehead and getting a cut which required stitches. This happened during the first day of cricket coaching in the newly started camp at Balmatta.
The best part of my childhood undoubtedly was cartoons. Hells yeah, cartoons back then were really the best. Cartoons such as Tom and Jerry which taught me life is not always fair, Scooby doo which made me overcome fear of ghosts, Popeye beating up Bluto and encouraging me eat my vegetables (spinach), Swat cats, Top cat and many more for which I would make my parents wake me up sometimes at midnight. How I wish today’s younger generation is exposed to these amazing cartoons. Sadly, the standard of cartoons these days is poor and I feel even a first grader can do a better job. I wish we could write a petition to ‘Cartoon Network’ to bring the old cartoons back. My generation was hooked to the ‘idiot box’ just like how today’s kids are hooked to smart phones and tablets. As I am writing this a tear swells up in my eye and I partake in quite a lot of nostalgia.
Speaking of nostalgia, 90s songs bring back some funny and great memories. Dancing away to some fabulous hits such as tip tip barsa paani, dil toh pagal hai I remember my parents telling me it was a joy to watch me dance to these songs. The English songs in my opinion were the greatest during the 90s. Bands such as Westlife, Boyzone, Aqua, Venga boys and their catchy songs are great to listen even today. The 90s was a golden age I tell ya!
Where did we spend most of our time when we were kids? Of course it was in school. School back then was so amazing, I used to dread holidays. I was a notorious kid and always got into trouble for one or the other reason. Back then fighting among ourselves was so common. I have had many victories but also tasted quite a few defeats. Even though we fought a lot, we were always friends with one another. There was no enmity between any of us and we were like a family. We never ratted out on our fellow mates no matter what happened. I still hang out with my high school mates whenever I get the chance and we laugh away thinking about the good old days. The way we used to trouble the teachers, the endless pranks in classrooms, asking funny questions with the teacher, dancing in class during lunch time, ragging our fellow mates (harmless), getting beaten up by the teachers - oh how I wish I could relive my school days again.
I had recently paid a visit to my school and met some of my teachers who were quite happy seeing me. After reminiscing a bit about my mischief back in the days, I asked them about the kids in school now. I was saddened to hear that the kids nowadays are just a shadow of what we were. Silly politics, jealousy, backstabbing, and complaining to the teacher for each and every silly thing is quite common nowadays. I am told there are no pranks these days, very few mischievous kids and everybody is into studying 24/7. Though I agree studying is very essential in the modern world, kids should be encouraged to do other activities as well since everything adds to the all-round development of a child and not just studies.
I do not want to sound like a grumpy old timer, but kids nowadays especially those in cities do not know the fun we had going outside. They would rather enjoy being surrounded by walls on all sides, their eyes fixated on a screen with their hands tapping the screen the entire day. Most of them do not experience getting bruised and having a few silly fights, which I feel is quite needed for one to toughen up. ‘Generation Z millennials’, is the term used for kids born after the year 2000. They are so emotionally weak since they do not socialize much at an early stage. They cannot handle pressure or tough situations and give up quite easily. The beatings I received in my school days back then made me tougher and my friends and I can wither almost anything that is thrown at me. Back then our parents were quit liberal,
giving focus to our all-round growth and not just pressurizing on studies unlike today’s so called ‘helicopter parents’.
Life has changed drastically now with the advent of technology. The kids nowadays will not experience the joys and the lifestyle we had back then, just like the how our parents’ childhood was completely different from ours. Yes technology is making our life easier, but at what cost? We need to make sure that the childhood of kids nowadays is not wholly spent touching away at screens of their gadgets. They need to get out more, experience at least a part of what we had experienced when we were in this phase of life.