As my parents were relocating, I went to my home, early this year, to help them segregate the things that would go with them and the things that needed to be disposed of. For my sons, it became an adventure trip as there were a lot of things that they were seeing or feeling for the first time. 

“In sabka kya karna hai” (What to do with these), My mom asked me, pointing towards a cassette player. When I was in Class X, my dad gifted me a BPL portable Stereo (which had radio and a recorder too), just after finishing my boards. It was now lying in a pool of audio cassettes. 

“Mumma, what’s this? And what are these?” My kids shouted in unison, as they enquired about the cassette player and the pile of cassettes.

I explained them what the cassettes were and demonstrated them how they worked. “I doubt if it still works”, I said as I took one of the cassettes and inserted into the player and pushed in the ‘play’ button. Viola! It worked. This time, it played well, without even cleaning the ‘head’. As an old song was being played, my sons were watching inside the stereo. “Oh! These wheels are moving”, exclaimed my elder son, pointed to the reels of the cassette. I laughed at their amazement and felt lucky too as they experienced a new gadget, which was very different from their Alexa!

My heart was filled with nostalgia as I looked at those cassettes, some belonged to my parents, who used to listen to 60s songs, rest belonged to my brother and me. Some were gifted, some were recorded, yet they were kept safely. After Grade 7 or 8, birthday gifts meant for us were audio cassettes and an Archies card. Ah! Visiting an Archies gallery was like a weekend getaway for us. We used to buy 3-4 cards in advance for the upcoming birthdays of friends and family members.

There was a packet full of cards and letters, along with a few chocolate wrappers. As I showed the inland letters and postcards to my 9-year-old, he was so excited that he wrote a letter to his friend. Though he wanted a postcard, he settled for an envelope one after knowing the fact that postcards aren’t functional anymore.

Chocolate wrappers were my collectibles, I used to keep the special editions ones and gifted ones. Remember the special Perk edition which gave free denim tattoos? I even got them on my pair of jeans! It was fun.

There was one notepad also which had quotes like- “Maggi clubbers are hooked on adventure”, “Maggi clubbers are hooked for fun”. Yes, I was a privileged Maggi clubber. It was easy to get a free membership and free gifts as it required only 5 wrappers of Maggi noodles each. I got various board games, a jumping time-table, a snapping wrist band and a lot more. This notepad is still with me.

Every time I open my treasure trove, I cherish these mementos and recall those golden wonderful years. I am happy that I have a lot to show my kids, rather than just to tell.

Preeta’s Collection