Sunday, February 15, 2009

Those top 10 nostalgic moments

In this fast-paced world, I am sure every one of us, at various instances in our lives, would want to go back to our good old days, to relive those great moments of a care-free life! Though studying in a CBSE school meant you had to be on top of your books, there still was a lot of time for the joys of TV in the form of DD1 and DD2, the various comic books, special once-in-a-blue-moon restaurant visits, and the two and half months of summer vacation for planning out immense amount of activities and games! The following ten items stand out for me in terms of their experience...
  1. DD1 & DD2 along with Mile Sur Mera, Ek Chidiya, 'Sorry for the interruption' and 'Over to Delhi' - The World this week by Prannoy Roy and SportsMag by Harsha Bhogle were much sought after on DD1: the former captured everyone's hearts in his calm and crystal-clear way of giving a snapshot of the world events for the past week while the latter had a superfast way of speaking English which made everyone sit up and get puzzled on who this newbie was! On DD2, Superhit Muqabla was fun to watch even if the top 10 song list never changed week after week. Of course, Mile Sur Mera starting with Bhimsen Joshi and the animated Ek Chidiya were ever popular. On the other extreme were the painful view of "Sorry for the interruption" or "Over to Delhi" just when you didn't want them!
  2. 5 digit telephone numbers - 77438 was our house phone number. And I still remember all of my friends' numbers - since it was so easy remembering a 5 digit number! Nowadays, with the 10 digit cell phone numbers, I don't even remember my own number from a couple of years back! Even though those telephone instruments used to hurt the finger, specially if most of the numbers required a 270 degree motion of the dial, it gave you the satisfaction of talking to people instead of sending them SMS and scraps!
  3. Home-made 'bakshanam' (sweets / savories) - That basically stands for uppu / vella seedai, murukku, thengozhal, ribbon, pakoda, thattai which were regularly done for many of the special occasions by my grandmas. No Grand Sweets, no Surya sweets then, to get packaged items. They were all done at home and could be consumed hot off the stove! Just the process of seeing them make it told us that there was a big occasion at home. And the festive spirit was invoked and enjoyed.
  4. 'Big Fun' Bubblegum - This was a very guy thingie but collection of runs and wickets that came along with the bubblegum was such a big activity then. Exchange of those player profiles and getting those rare ones from the older guys was worth more than anything else in life! The more soiled the chits were, the greater their value! This was over and above the competition on the size of the bubble that one could blow using the bubblegum.
  5. Hiring a cycle - At Re.1 per hour, it was a big deal then. Still, the joyous feeling going through the same roads over and over again along with friends despite the hot burning sun was sublime! Sometimes races turned ugly when one of the lot would fall down and hurt themselves. That would never deter us though from regrouping and utilizing the full value of the Re.1 spent!
  6. Heman toys / Trade Games / Crazy Ball / Glow worm - Collection of Heman toys and stickers was a much sought after activity. G I Joe was another character that was popular! Long-winding trade games that went on for hours during summer holidays were widely anticipated events. To ensure we continued over multiple days, we even wrote down the exact status in our notebooks! The crazy ball that bounces in various angles and a glow worm that used to shine in the night were popular too, the latter specially amongst girls. Last but not the least, 3 - 5 hours of cricket (underarm / overarm / bowling etc.) were a standard feature every day, be it holidays or otherwise!
  7. Tinkle / Tintin Comics - Those were the days of no internet and no Cartoon Network. So, Tinkle comics and Amar Chitra Katha ruled the roost. Phantom and Mandrake were also extremely popular amongst the boys. The good / bad ring and the charm of Xanadu are still not lost on me! Tintin and Asterix, borrowed for Rs. 2 from the lending library were even greater fun on account of their highly engaging stories. To this date, it is pretty expensive to own a Tintin or an Asterix comic book! The "Famous Five" and "Secret 7" were reserved for the only-English speaking dudes!
  8. Writing with an 'ink' pen - Class 5 exposed us to an ink pen. Initially, stained fingers and shirts were painful to look at. But these signified the coming of age of us as students. We would look down on Class 4 students as if they were very junior compared to us. Ball-point pens were typically frowned upon by teachers. In this current computer age, it is sad that even writing with anything has become a such a rarity!
  9. Camlin or Natraj Geometry box - Owning a Camlin or a Natraj geometry box, that too a fully-loaded one with Steadler pencils, a white eraser, a sharpener and all the geometry instruments shining without any rust, was a moment of pride. No one ever knew when a divider would ever be used but the compass and protracter were absolute necessities. It is another thing that Camlin was Aishwarya Rai's first ad shoot when she was in school!
  10. Distributing chocolates on birthdays - This is probably an activity that continues to this day in schools, but dressing up in something outside of uniforms and distributing chocolates was a much anticipated activity, not just for the one whose birthday it was, but for the other children in school as well. The type of chocolate - whether it was an Eclairs, or a 'Try Me', or a 'Melody' typically signified social standing and willingness to incur expenditure on birthdays. Cadbury's 5 Rs. 'Dairy Milk' chocolates were reserved for the rich kids.
Well, writing about these does make me feel a lot younger when I visualize m. But it also makes me think I have grown so much older now since it looks like ages back when I was in school! It still is any day worth it just to think of these! We, or even our next generation, may never get to experience the same, but if only we could have a way to revisit the past, it would be fun!

Any more such moments, do add them in the comments...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Top 10 indications of the recession in your office

  1. Your office toilet has extremely thin or hardly any tissue paper.
  2. On your salary slip, the denomination is in “Paise”. And just to keep you in check now and then, the salary slip is pink in color.
  3. People start disappearing from your office and you are told that they have taken a long sabbatical for various reasons.
  4. Those remaining are asked to share seating space and computers to improve teamwork and bonding.
  5. When their seating time is over, they double up as office boys and security.
  6. Conference rooms are let out on rent
  7. The smell in your office is different. It is the effect of a combo of no air-conditioning, absence of air-spray in the office and absence of deo sprays at your colleagues’ homes.
  8. Food items in the canteen are served in ice-cream bowls, coffee is limited to 1 per person and resembles a tequila shot in size.
  9. Office cabs look similar to those stunt vehicles where 20 are packed inside one Maruti car.
  10. To escape the rot, you log into the top job sites and you are greeted with a perennial message “Site under maintenance”, while the business newspapers start carrying obituary and crossword puzzles instead of the jobs supplement.
Any more such signs, please feel free to add in the comments section!
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