Wednesday, May 26, 2010

On simpler times

This past Friday, as C and I sat down to eat at our second restaurant for the evening, we started to talk about simpler times when we were children and small things used to be special. We were spoiling ourselves by grabbing dinner at different places - falafel for me and dosas for him - and I couldn't help remembering how, when I was growing up, eating out was a luxury, reserved for special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries or if your cousins were visiting for the Summer. You dressed up. And told your friends about it. It wasn't just getting dinner, you know?

There are many such things that I can think of. Like the only one hour in the week when you could watch cartoons on TV was Sundays, from 11 am to noon. My brother and I would wake up early, and wait with bated breath for the cartoons to begin. And we weren't the only ones. All of our friends would come over to our place and we would gather around the TV, riveted as He-man battled Skeletor, and Donald and Mickey did their tricks. On all other days, we would laugh and play in the park after school because there really wasn't much else to do. No internet. No cartoon network. You could only dream of a world where you could lie on a couch and watch cartoons all day.

Movies and songs were another luxury. Friday nights were reserved for Chitrahar on Doordarshan (Bollywood songs). My mom and aunt would rush us through dinner and clean up at what can only be described as lightning speed so that all of us could sit down and watch the only programme on TV that was entertainment for the whole family. In winters, I would bundle up in my mother's green shawl and snuggle next to her or my grandmother, as we collectively immersed ourselves in Bollywood numbers. My brother would invariably fall asleep and my dad would carry him to his bed. It is strange how some of the most lucid memories of my time with my family come from such seemingly banal occasions. But what seems ordinary now, used to be special then.

Thing is, it's amazing how far the world has come in terms of making what-used-to-be-luxuries, so easily available. Doubtlessly, my generation has seen the biggest leap. But I cannot help but wonder, if without moderation, things have a way of slowly losing their charm. Do we now have more things that we enjoy less? I don't know..

P.S.:I'm really sleepy, so please excuse any typos.


  1. Such a good point...never thought of that. I think most people recognize the more you have access to something you love, the less special it is...but I don't think many (including myself) recognize how our generation has basically made everything so easily available, like you said.

  2. Nice flow...with a concise but thought provoking ending line...
    "Do we now have more things that we enjoy less?"
    quite SATC style too, no? :)

  3. Yeah, very true! I also remember the family get together time we used to have whenever the power goes off. You've wrote a very good post on how I miss those simpler times!

  4. I don't think we have more things that enjoy less. I think the situations are reversed. Now going out to bask in the sun.. or to go out and play is considered special - we can't stop talking for the whole week for the upcoming trip to the beach. you know ?

  5. I think now we have more things readily available to us but less time to enjoy them since life's been too busy and hectic for most of us; like earlier on, we had more leisure time and had more things to do but there used to be a curfew imposed by parents or elders :) and now this curfew is being imposed by the demands of our career and because of this, v actually enjoy things more now. I think leisure is rather becoming a luxury.

    Btw I love reading ur posts, keep them coming.

  6. see your line already invoked so many thoughts!!
    I think it's just human intellect, which always enjoys what's not-so-mundane...things like sleeping in balcony/terrace on summer nights...and getting oil massage in hair (which all was so readily available back then but never found it special!)...
    and hey, what we enjoy today will also change tomorrow!

  7. Hey, I enjoyed dosas when I was a kid. I enjoy them now too
    - C

  8. Thanks guys for your comments.
    @Peace - Thanks for your comment (and for agreeing with me :D). I do think the problem is one of abundance.
    @Mansi - That SATC bit is so true! I think that for a second there, I may have channelled my inner Carrie ;)
    @Anonymous - Yes, powercuts were always welcome (for those who don't know, they were very common in India, back in the day). In today's world it would be akin to taking away TV, internet, laptop, ipod, iphone and forcing people to spend quality time together :)
    @Tanz - I see your point about 'reversal'. I think Mansi's also making a similar point. And like she said, maybe we didn't notice some of the special things that we did have back then. It's just that I still think that the special things used to be more effortless though. Or maybe it's just me.
    @Naureen - Good point about time. I can totally relate to it.
    @C - Is that a hint?

  9. Wow!! Replied to ur scrap in orkut and came across ur blog. Very impressed by this post. :) You are very right. We're living in a times where man is trying to play God in almost every aspect and living in a delusion that technology and money can fetch happiness.. Is it really so? Our childhood days were technologically backward but I always had something to die for.. like summer holidays, going to grandmothers place, cricket world cup, good quality television serials, playing hide and seek when power goes off...Today all of those simple things are like 'luxuries' for me.

    May be its human nature..As i read somewhere..

    "We want it hot when its cold,
    We want it cold when its hot,
    Always wanting what its not". :)

    Too much of anything sometimes makes us forget about its worth. Remember that scene in the movie "Castaway" when Tom Hanks comes back home after spending gruelling lonely life in an island where he learns to make fire all by himself after numerous attempts, struggles for food etc? After he returns home he throws a party and i love the scene where he indulges in himself by a flame lighter which switches on/off by a click of the button.

    Anyways, this is turning out to be a blogpost rather than a comment. Nice work. Keep it coming.. :)