Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fairy tale like yesteryears...

Long long ago, what may  now sound almost like a Fairy tale, was a time when ignorance was bliss. When we were blissfully unaware of the dangers that lurked outside the safe environs of our homes. And it cost us nothing. A precious childhood safeguarded not only by our family, but also by our genuinely friendly and well-wishing neighbours and community at large.

I remember vividly those days, when my sis and I, just in Class III and II respectively, could walk up to School about a kilometer away, without having to worry about rash drivers mowing down pedestrians, or eve teasers, or kidnappers or perverts. Not that there weren't any back then, but at least they were not there in the back of our minds, for us to look over our shoulders after every few steps, and our parents to unduly worry about us.

Back then, our parents were next only to God, whom we revered, respected and loved unconditionally. We didn't dare to raise our voice in their presence, and their wish was our command. The unwritten rules, we followed in letter and spirit. The values were deeply ingrained in us, without them having to reiterate it to us. There were no lavish gifts or pocket monies, not even a birthday present or dress some times. But still, we were very happy. The littlest of things and gestures brought us great cheer.

And school, it was like our second home. Where teachers not just taught the world, but meant the world to us. They groomed and moulded us, chided yet guided us. And friends, well they were just as naive and innocent as we were. No expectations, no comparisons, no unhealthy competitions, no bragging, no strutting...but they were always there, cheering and encouraging us no matter what. The group-study sessions, the pajama party stay-overs, the endless board games (snakes & ladder, scrabble, ludo, Chinese checkers, chess, cards, caroms, monopoly...), with plenty of time for outdoor play as well (gilli-danda, marbles, skipping rope, hide & seek, dog & the bone, knock knock who's the more serious shuttle badminton & basketball), the climbing up of trees & walls (boy or girl didn't matter)...the times without computers, internet, google, mobile phones, ipads and all those gadgets & apps that at times seem like a boon, almost indispensable, but thinking of the better times without it, makes me wonder, if boon or bane!

Neighbours were just like extended family, very much part of our lives, our milestones, our special occasions and festivals. Christian, Hindu, Muslim....didn't matter. While we shared cakes, wine and cookies for Christmas, we got laddus, jalebis, murukku...for Diwali, and sweet (&) meat snacks for Eid. They watched out for us, and played an important role in our upbringing. There was always that element of love, trust and care, we could blindly trust.

Oh, and how can I forget those push carts with bells ringing "ice cream, kulfi", "cotton candy", "soan papdi", "burfi"...We could lick it up to the end, without fear of germs or falling prey to dysentery. And when "summer vacations" didn't really mean a trip to the US, Europe, Singapore-Malaysia or even Thailand. They were a time to visit our hometown (in Kerala) - a grand get-together of grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and all relatives (known & unknown) from different parts of the world / country. When our uncles would cut out cricket bats from coconut palm and make handmade rubber balls. and the match would begin sometime in the evening until sundown. We would pick cocoa, cashew and coffee seeds from the plantations and watch our grandmom sort the fruit from the seeds, roast the nuts, even as we steal our share. And it would seem like we were born to eat. After morning tea, came breakfast, then a 11 o'clock snack, then lunch, then evening tea & snacks, then dinner....burp! And all homemade stuff, mind you!! Our grandfather was a real sport, he would go about organising games - from caroms, to chess, to cards and what not!

I could go on and on, of that 'golden era' where joy was not measured in the size of house or brand of car you owned, neither did Guccis or Armanis matter, nor the foreign vacations or school fees you could afford (yeah, now that's also a point of comparison - the higher the fees, the better they think their status). It was your family, the get-togethers, connecting with people face to face (and not just on facebook) and little things like your mom baking a special cake for your birthday and singing the birthday song for you as soon as you woke up, your sister sharing an extra piece of chocolate with you, your dad taking you on a scooter ride...and such else that  mattered.

As I write this, it gives me great pleasure to revisit those times made of golden memories that money can't buy. At the same time, feel sorry for my children and to the generations following for being stripped off the innocent pleasures of childhood! God save the world...


Ellen said...

Never too late to create wonderful memories for your children. Then when they're old and gray they too will remember those lovely memories of home, family, and you. Armed with those lovely memories they too will do the same for their children. And the tradition goes forward down to the next generation and the next. A precious legacy.

Blessings to you and your family.

Insignia said...

You've opened flood gates of nostalgia. Those days; life was so simple. We didnt have choices of toys; a broken car could give so much joy. No malls, no choice of toothpaste or soaps, new dresses came once in a year and birthdays were sufficient with 25 ps Parry;s chocolate...Aah those were the days.

When consumption took us over; we lost it all

Bikram said...

Those were the good days indeed RGB. and your article has just taken me back to those good old days..

Thank you so much


Tara said...

True !! You made me relive my childhood days !

RGB said...

Rightly said. Thanks for your insight.

Really sad when you give it a thought! I think we were a blessed generation, we got to see both sides of the world - the best of both!

@ Bikram & Tara,
Glad I could bring back the sweet memories of the yesteryears :)