Back in the 90s, my village in Rajasthan had no electricity. The sun down meant the shimmering glow of the lanterns. The village women used to cook meals on the chula. Some how, despite the smoke, those meals were delicious. Sitting under a starlit sky, in the absence of the distracting television, our only past time was to watch the stars and the moon. In the day we amused ourselves by building little houses in the mud and planting small gardens around them, Life was about eating dinner with the family, talking and sharing jokes. Life was also about Sunday television serials like Mahabharata or He-man. Life was about VCRs and watching movies on the big screen. Toys included rotund dolls that could open and shut their blue eyes, real steel tiny kitchen sets where we made ‘vegetables’ stolen from the kitchen. We stole mangoes and pomegranates from the neighbours. The mangoes were put in rice to ripen and then eaten with salt. Orange bar was 1.50 INR, a far cry from the 10 INR and juicier. Fun flips were a rage in school.
When some one went abroad, we waited anxiously for that first letter which ran into pages of lengthy descriptions. The paper was important too since it was that ‘foreign’ paper which was crispy and crinkled. When the person returned, we got ‘foreign’ toothpaste, ‘foreign’ chocolates, ‘foreign’ shampoos and everything else that could be bought ‘foreign’.
I remember watching series like Remington Steele, The Relic Hunter and Angel (the Vampire) on Star when we subscribed to our first cable connection. I wanted a body like Angel and the Relic Hunter and I wanted a brain like Remington Steele.
We remembered phone numbers, addresses and names. We could add and subtract numbers without a calculator and we remembered the spellings since we did not have Microsoft Word to prompt us. We spent nights reading books by Robin Cook and Sidney Sheldon from cover to cover. Train journeys were interesting because we could taste other people’s cooking and we could read to our heart’s content in the tiny night light.
Life had its own challenges then and wasn’t perfect but it was simple…..
What do you think?