If you planned defensive strategies while playing Contra and Mario, got excited to cover your notebooks with brown paper and new labels, decided relationship statuses with instant results of ‘FLAMES’, used your writing board as cricket bats, felt betrayed after using the ink eraser, styled yourself with boomer tattoos, welcome to the ’90s, where we lived life.
We grew up on the cusp of technological innovation, and therefore understand both ends of the spectrum, the one of walkmans, cassettes and video game chips, and the other after the advent of iPods, kindles and play stations. We feel nostalgic of our much simpler childhood where we took pleasure in reading the infinite circumference of our playground, running as if our feet would never hurt, singing ‘Ring a Ring O’ Roses’, and using the phrase ‘A-tishoo! A-tishoo’ as ‘haisha huisha’, just because the former’s existence was never known to us.
We can clearly remember having games like ‘Chor police’, ‘Vish-amrit’, ‘Pitthu’ which have almost become obsolete to the extent of having been replaced by virtual conversations and maintaining a flawless public façade on social media.
Such a quick transformation! I agree when we talk about memorable events in retrospect, we tend to exaggerate them, but do we not agree that during ’90s, connections were not so fragile, relationships did not have risk elements, and personal involvement was of prime importance.
Since the first day of kindergarten, playing outdoors offered us great happiness which we could never trade for anything extraordinary in this world. For us, Pokemon cards of Charizard and Blastoise could never be exchanged for mobile phones. Spinning the ‘Beyblades’ having deadly powers formed our battleground where every victory was monumental, and every defeat crushing. The force of our passions had lesser intensity and the violence of those metal tops, less brutal. We carried the art of our life in the briefcase full of sketches, crayons and pencils, wrestling with different shades to colour the invisible. We did not have access to cameras except special occasions, but our slam books effused fragrance of memories. Those were the times when we opened computers just to paint and feel proud of it. Those were the days when the canvas had pointed mountains, half visible sun, a narrow path leading to the threshold of a small isolated hut, and birds drawn with the alphabet ‘r’. Yes, Always. Hey, childhood. I see you. When I see you, I find the right socket to make the connections glow and come alive.
We should be thankful that our childhood was filled with imagination, catching butterflies and rolling in the sand, rather than waiting for ‘likes’ placing our faces in front of our computer screens like a robot, searching for friends online.
Yes, we do not mind being a robot, when as a kid, with our mouths wide open, we talked into the fan to hear our voices distorted, triggering strange sounds. It was special. It was bigger than a scientific enquiry. Sometimes we close our eyes and see the place where we experienced joy, with hundreds of stardust moments sprinkled on our eyelids, basking in its ethereality, and then comes the epiphanic moment dawning upon us, “C’est La Vie”. Such is life.