THOSE WERE THE DAYS MY FRIEND

Where shall I begin? Let’s begin at the beginning. The first things a child falls in love with are toys and games. In my case, dolls too.

Lovely Couple, aren’t they?

I loved my Barbie, and my brother loved his G.I. Joe. I must have married my Barbie to his He-Man every summer. Sadly, it always ended in an instant divorce because I wanted my doll back.

He even used to mimic their catch phrases. It was scary.

Then came the Hot wheels car we used to get free with packets of Maggie. It couldn’t get any better than this. I still remember my brother forcing me to play with his WWF cards till I fell in love with Undertaker and Hulk Hogan. He used to have a bag to keep all his beautiful array of stickers. I remember stealing a whole strip of his Mickey Mouse sticker set and getting bashed by him later.

I miss that stationary box I had. It contained all my cool stationery. My most prized possession was a glass pen with a peacock head. There were sharpeners, erasers, and key chains in cute and lovely shapes. I guarded that box better than the government guards their gold reserve. I have beaten a younger cousin over that box.

I loved buying the Masks of Lord Ram At Diwali and my bro loved the Sword.
He used to cheat when he was Mr X
Imagine we used to be so happy after having four kids in the game. Sampoorna Parivaar!!!

Playing Solitaire, Free-cell and all the games Savio mentioned in my Papa’s PC, breaking my score repeatedly. And the summer vacations with days full of Scotland Yard and Game Of Life with my brother. I remember hanging with my brother on the gate from evening 5 PM in the wait for the ice cream truck and vendors who sold Tikkis, Matra and Mot—looking out for the balloon peddler who would bring fake cameras, sunglasses and magic eggs, begging my Baba(Grandfather) for money to buy goodies.

I used to play Snakes with Papa’s Nokia till my fingers went numb, and I pleaded with everyone not to kill me in a game of Ludo. Making the team with my father to play a card game called Hearts was like swearing allegiance to my Lord Commander.

The Aloo Parantha never tasted so good ever again after school, when I used to hide somewhere in my classroom and eat it, saving it from my friends’ loot. It was such a privileged feeling when you had a huge Milton water bottle. A classmate would ask, “Please ek sip de de (Please let me borrow some water)”, it was a thug life moment when I said with some fake arrogance, “Nahi Mera khatam ho jayega (No, mine would get finished)”, but when my best friend was thirsty, I would go all like, “Mere paas water bottle paani doon? (I have water bottle, you want some?)”

Exchanging movie postcards and posters with a friend and arguing with them about SRK looks hotter in which one. It was less of an exchange and more of smuggling under the keen eyes of teachers. Sharing a book was like sharing a sacred bond. And that feeling on top of the world when you had 20rs with you to treat your friend to a Coke in the lunch break.

Today we have blogs to write our hearts out, but in the 90s I used to have a diary with a lock shaped like a heart that used to hold all my thoughts and secrets. And the last page of the notebook was our very own Twitter. From trying different signatures to signing huge cheques and giving autographs when I got famous and writing taboo stuff was like surfing the net in incognito mode.

I miss so much from the ’90s. Now that I am writing, nostalgia is hitting me harder. How many of you remember that song, “Mile sur mera tumhara“? It was such a feel-good song about the unity through the diversity of India.

And the advertisements, I used to watch TV for the ads. They were comforting, a sense of familiarity through continuity. I loved the ads for Bajaj, Titan, Nirma, Liril and Amul, and many other products like Pan Parag and Vicco Turmeric. Seriously, do you remember that Dhara advertisement, “Ghar mein to mummy ne Jalebi banayi hai“? Sitting with the whole family and watching them was a different experience altogether.

I was so bad at understanding English movies back then. My cousin watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S and tried to be as cool as her and couldn’t get a single word. But I turned my energy to all the remix songs starting from ‘Kaliyon ka Chaman’ to Bombay Vikings, Bally Sagoo and ‘Kaanta Laga’. A moment of silence for that version of me.

My grandfather was in TOI, so we used to have so many magazines at home. From Filmfare and Femina to Champak and Sarita. I loved flipping the pages while lying on my parents’ bed. The most coveted day was when Mom cleaned her Godrej Almirah. Oh, it was like a treasure trove opening. All the precious things and keepsakes were in there. I can still see my mother telling me to go elsewhere and play, but I would sit there and touch everything.

And every Diwali, the house used to get painted. Oh, the fun! The furniture would shift, the bed boxes would be opened, the food would be cooked on a makeshift table, and nothing was out of our reach. What an adventure it used to be.

In winters, my mother, in fact, all mothers, would sit together in the sun and knit colourful sweaters for us. I used to say, “Mujhe bhi do naa (I too wanna do this).” and she would give me the ball of wool and tell me to feed her the line.

One day, out of sheer nostalgia, I bought a handful of Eclairs, Coffee Bite, Mango Bite, Pan Pasand, Poppins, Gems, Melody and Kissme, but trust me, they missed the taste of adventure. The taste of childhood.

I now sit and think, maybe we don’t miss the worldly things. We miss ourselves. Our childhood and the people in it. We miss the innocence and simple-mindedness. We miss the beautiful ignorance. I still pine for Papa’s smile when he used to give me the new Barbie doll’s dress and my Mom’s sparkling eyes when she showed me her coveted jewels and my Grandpa’s lap while he attended a call with that old phone with a dial on it and a lock hanging by the side. I crave my granny’s love when she gave the money to buy goodies, and my brother’s affection when we played together.

12 thoughts on “THOSE WERE THE DAYS MY FRIEND

  1. Sakhi, I have no enough words to comment here. This whole post of yours is purely an emotion – you are the WINNER in my eyes for the week.
    What a day today! – I got to hear the pretty girls voice sing 4 lines of a song AND I get to read this wonderful piece of writing, I must have made God extremely happy today that he gave me two things to make this day Extraaa Special 🙂
    I wish I could celebrate chocolates cigarettes with you – just for this.

    And now to actually comment (I might not have enough words to write but write I will…how can I not)

    P.s: This might be long, but from my heart to yours. (Shhhh-nobody else read ok)

    HE MAN…omg! I have the POWER, he was a legend. I needed a sword like that, I could do with one now too…hehehe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yeA7a0uS3A okay, im not gonna comment about Barbie… I thought she was cute too, but then later I found the walking ones cuter, so I let go :p

    …and must I say thankyou, seeing my name there, thanks dear 🙂 appreciated 🙂

    Ludo – wow! you too? We officially have 4 people who have openly declared they like Ludo, Chiradeep, Deena, you and myself. We have got to play Ludo (online toh bhi chalega) – you and me partners okay? :p

    I had a diary too to write stuff, but I didn’t have much to write like I do now. Apparently I used to write letters to my family members, one of which was found the other day by my dad in his cupboard, it basically said “I like mummy more than you” – well atleast I was being honest, mean but still cute :p you’ll have to admit :p
    Signing my signature on the everyday newspapers was my favorite activity, it made me feel important for some reason… lol but idk, maybe I wanted to imitate my teacher seeing her sign on books and all.

    Not sure Sakhi, if you forgot the autograph and scrap books we made, I personally didn’t make one but signed many of my friends… i wish to see some of them to see the crap I wrote back then, surely I’ve not followed even one of those dreams/ambitions.
    Coming to the music: Chadhti Jawani, I can’t even imagine the thrill of watching that song (I need not explain – boys will be boys) tu tu hai wahi (I’ll have to admit I actually tried that number to no such success)

    Melody chocolate, Gems, Mango bite – I’ve bought them all recently, but as you said – they taste nothing like the 90’s…
    there are so many me-too’s in this post Sakhi, I can go on… but I’m sure you get it! If I started rolling the ball of the 90’s at the start of the week, you ended it on the perfectttt note.

    Thankyou for this day Sakhi, you’ve filled it with the right portions of happiness, joy and everything nice 🙂 voice & next

    And yipeeeee, Am I officially the first comment to this post?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. How does one reply to such a beautiful comment Sav. I can’t tell you how happy, how grateful and how complete I feel knowing that my article touched one heart and that is yours. I heard you too for the first time yesterday, was such a pleasure, wish you would have said more. But nonetheless, we will have more of you soon enough. I think almighty definitely is kinder to me when I meet people like you. It proves he is still minting good, jolly, easy and loving people. As for Ludo, I would love to play with us four someday for sure, in fact soon enough. I hope our team will beat Charlie’s team.

      And I loved your thing about letters. How fun it is to find a piece of your childhood and read those words again, see our own handwriting again. Only a child can confess “I love Mommy more than you” to his father, once grown up, our words are adulterated by inhibitions, fear of judgement and taking care of everyone’s feelings. And yes, we do love signing things, don’t we? Such an adult thing to do. I hate signing stuff now. A think I thought would be fun.

      I remember those scrapbooks yaar, they were such a fever bach then. Each one had one and just like you, I didn’t have mine but I filled others. I wonder what we must have written in them. Can’t seem to bring it back. But our dreams, aspirations and desires were so innocent, so naive back then, they were much more fun for sure. We could be astronauts, we could be pilots, we could be ice cream vendors. I remember wanting to open a restaurant called, “Stone!” I don’t know why?

      Don’t ask me about the remix albums man, it is such an embarrassing phase of my life. HAHAHAAA. We used to have a channel, a local channel, where we could call and play our favourite songs on the channel. I used to call a 100 times over just to hear one song called THOYA THOYA, just because I had a crush on the model in that video. And there was this one song by Abhishek Bachchan, “Ek main aur ek tu hai, aur hawa mein jaadu hai”, hahahaha, damnit.

      All the memories are rushing back to me like an ocean trying to overwhelm me. The ’90s was an era to reckon with. Kids today are fortunate, they have so much at their disposal, but we were no less fortunate, we have tasted, smelled, and lived a couple of decades that beautiful, magical time when nothing was easy but everything was simple.

      I am truly truly humbled by your words Savio. May God keep you happy always and healthy always. A hug from me to you Mon Ami. I will save this comment and keep it with me and show it to my kids in future.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You do understand that such a sweet comment needs yet another comment to reply it right?😂😂 we might break the Candles record for the longest comments ever 🙌🏼
        U know it’s never to late to start that restaurant ‘Stone’…and I’ll be ‘a stone’s throw away-an ice cream place maybe, dine at yours and cool it down at mine😁 sounds a cool venture no?

        Words are all I have sometimes, may it flow to the right ears, to the keen eye and to the big heart ( i think i just described you) 😁

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow in ine article you reminded me of so many things of my childhood that I had somehow forgotten.. I could even feel the taste of Swad or pan pasand on my tongue just by looking at those pics. Great writing .

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you so much Kuljeet Di. I am so glad you liked the read. It makes the effort of a writer worth every word. I ams so thrilled to have brought you back a bit of your yesteryears. Love you.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Jaane kahaan gaye wo din. Jaane kahaan gaye wo log. I feel so nostalgic since I suggested this topic to Charlie
      . And every article written this week made me take a walk down memory lane and caress a few of my memories. Thank you to every writer who wrote this week. All the memories, all the nuances, all the things shared were special and spectacular.

      Liked by 1 person

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