By Rohini Mohan
1980 – 1990; my wonder years. No rat race, no decisions to make, no fires to put out. Oh it was fun growing up in the 80s. So many defining moments in history that we were a part of. The Berlin wall, Rajiv Gandhi, Reagonomics, Ravi Shastri of the ‘Chapatti Shot’ fame with his six 6’s in the over and the Audi, Boris & Steffi, Paul Simon’s Graceland.
Waking up at my grandparents’ place at some ungodly morning hour to the sound of the opening music on All India Radio, the smell of filter coffee and Bournvita tickling the nostrils. Meeting a friend at the Elliot’s beach in Besant Nagar and just sitting on the sand, taking in the hot muggy Madras coastal air. College Culturals – quiz and debate and JAM , IIT’s Mardi Gras, BITS Pilani’s Oasis.
Mahabharat and Hum Log, Buniyaad and Siddharth Basu’s Quiz Time, they all live on in the recesses of my memory. The Lifebuoy soap ad, the Liril ad, “I think I’m just right for Amul chocolate”.. who can forget those? Radio was a big part of my childhood. Many many years of listening to oldie goldie Hindi songs especially requested from Jhumri Talaiyya (if that place even exists). I would then wait with bated breath for Wednesday so I could see the visuals on Chitrahaar – so satisfying. Why Rafi singing Deewana Hua Baadal always gives me such a happy feeling of comfort and security is something I cannot put my finger on exactly…
Noisy and raucous family get togethers with uncles and aunts and cousins from far away towns. Presents in mysterious shaped packages and strange smelling but totally delicious treats from America. And oh the interminable train journeys – the raspy voice of those vendors at 5.00 am in Katpadi junction yelling ‘Chaaia, Chaaia – Kaapi’ when all you wanted to do was pull the covers over your head and catch a few more minutes sleep.
Diwali with the all the over-eating, buying new clothes once a year, bursting fire-crackers with not an ounce of regard for the million safety hazards. The gay abandon of our monsoon weddings, trips to temples in the boonies, rushing to the latest Bollywood release on Friday (I don’t believe it was even called Bollywood back then).
Friendships forged, crushes and falling in love, college admissions, Paradise lost and then regained.
My Enid Blyton collection, my Billy Joel and Beatles cassettes, the first time I saw The Sound of Music, Sholay, My Fair Lady.
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…
I laughed easy, I slept easy. I was resilient. It was a beautiful childhood.