09 July 2009


A friend passed this on to me through email, and it documents very well my growing up. My personal additions are in italics and are edited to suit me. I do not know who the original author of this write up is but I did not write this from scratch.

According to today's regulators and bureaucrats, those of us who were kids in the 60's, 70's and early 80's probably should not have survived, because our baby cots (beds ) were covered with brightly colored lead-based paint (there was no other paint available and parents put fingers in our mouth and made us throw up, if and when we picked up chipped paint and put them in our mouth.)

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, or latches on doors or cabinets and it was fine to Play with matchboxes!! (Not really. with parents constantly yelling at us we were told to keep away. They would try to hide, but we would find where they hid them and grabbed them again. And mostly the matches were kept out of our reach.

When we rode our bikes, there were no helmets ( i never saw one growing up, nor did my parents know about it, otherwise for sure it would be on our head ).

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or airbags - riding in the passenger seat was a treat. I grew up without a car. we walked everywhere or took public transport when required. Rides in cabs and autorickshaws were a luxury.

We drank water from the garden hose ( straight from the pipe or a glass ) and not from a bottle and it tasted the same.

We ate chips, bread and laddoos and drank sugarcane juice with lots of ice in it, ( refrigerator came much later in my life ) but we were never overweight because we were always outside playing. ( on the terrace of our apartment building during summer ) and the playground was filled with those playing cricket! )

We shared one drink with four friends, from one bottle or glass and no one actually died from this. ( My parents reprimanded us for this, if the info slipped from our mouth) In summer if we go home before dark our parents would ask us to come in, so we took turns going to each other houses to get cold water filled in recycled bottles ( i did not know what bottled water was until i read it in the only 'glazed sunday newspaper of the times of india before actually seeing it much later). summer was for drinking rasna, which was completely different then what is shown on the website.

We would spend hours riding cycles (during noon in the hot sun) without support wheels and then went top speed down the road, only to find out we were not still so confident on the bike!!! ( and once even hit a standing truck. And the shopkeeper on the corner betrayed me by telling it to my parents! By then the scars on my leg and elbow were healed. I tried to lie, but was not successful, because the shopkeeper was backed up by another parent who saw me washing the wounds in their bathroom and gave me a bandaid.)

After running into stinging bees / thorns, bush a few times, we learned to solve the problem. ( and tried to hide the scratches/wounds on our knees so as not to hear another lecture from our parents, bribed the siblings to keep quiet and nursed each others wounds in hushed tones, only to be found out in horror. Those scratches were far less painful than the lectures)

We would leave home in the afternoon and could play all evening, as long as we were back before it got dark. (Not in my house. We were only let out to play at 5,o clock in the evening. My parents/someoneelse's checked on us periodically. the people who stayed in the next lane and would not give a smile otherwise, would come and complain to the parents when we played pranks.)

No one was able to reach us and no one minded. We did not have Play stations or X-Boxes, no video games at all. (TV came much later in our house, precisely when i was 12 years old. I couldn't sit patiently for a 3 hour movie and turned off the tv after 20 minutes)

We had only one channel on TV, no videotape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, NO landlines either (by the time we had a landline i left home in 6 months) no computers, no DVDs, no Internet chat rooms. We had friends - we went outside and found them.

We played with marbles on the main street without footwear and sometimes that road really hurt! We fell out of trees, got cut and broke bones ( not to forget being grounded for a week) but there were no law suits.

We had full on fistfights but no prosecution followed from other parents.

We played pittoo(seven tiles) ( i loved it. we called this lagori) , hide-n-seek, langdi, hopskotch and were actually afraid of the owners catching us.

We walked to friends' homes. We also, believe it or not, WALKED to school; we did not rely on mummy Or daddy to drive us to school, which was just round the corner.

We made up games with sticks and pebbles. We rode bikes in packs of 2 and wore the same flipflops all summer!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke a law was unheard of...They actually sided with the law.

..May be after 30 years I will look back and will look back on this blog and the imprints left by other bloggers. Because of them I have known only more..


Vinod_Sharma said...

Wow! Took me back to the times when I grew up. Things were just like the two of you have described, with minor modifications.

Life was so simple then. So few choices to make, even for the adults. It was either an Ambassador car or Fiat, a Vespa(Bajaj) scooter or Lambretta, desi ghee or Dalda, Coke or Fanta or the Bante wala drink! Indoors, you played Ludo or Snakes and Ladders, if you were not the card playing kind...ah those days! No wonder no one went to a shrink ever!

manju said...

Great post! Brought back many such memories of my own.

Near the town in Raigad dist. where we lived, there was a river where all the neighbourhood children used to swim during the monsoon months.

I remember cutting my feet on sharp rocks and avoiding river snakes (I don't know whether they were actually poisonous or not)!

Nothing can beat the fun we had then. And ALL the kids learnt to swim, the older ones teaching the younger ones. No classes needed! :)

Kislay said...

I grew up in the 90's , and most of the things have been experienced by me as well . I also miss the great TV shows we had then . Hum Log . Byomkesh Bakshi . Tehkikat . The good old days .

Anrosh said...

byomkesh bakshi and tehkikat would not have been on doordarshan. my television viewing was minimal during the 90's because my access to a tv was minimal.

Anrosh said...

manju, you are so right -- no classes needed. my parents learnt the same way you did.

i once went to the river with my grandfather to learn swimming and the fish poked me . that's it. swimming class over. and i learnt it here in the swimming pool. the greatest way to destress is jump in a large water body --

kochuthresiamma p .j said...

those were the days! guess we are what we are 'cos we could enjoy childhood without remote control, and didnt breathe in supersterilised atmosphere

Solilo said...

Anrosh, I received this mail last year or so. :)

How time flies and how somethings become important..amazes me.

Bix said...

Interesting that you had no footwear. My father came from Ireland; he also lived a good portion of his childhood without footwear.

Anrosh said...

vinod, no wonder any one to went to the shrink to have a conversation with and pay 260 dollars a visit !

solilo - is that so ?

bix, we had foot wear, but it was comfortable to run/play without them. asphalt is bad and hot so are concrete roads, which takes the temperature.
i like the feel of grass on my feet but again the thought of a beer bottle chip or dog poop makes me cautious to keep footwear now.
my granfather didn't wear footwear until he was taking public transport. they were mud roads and going around the fields didn't require him to. and our means were were humble - so footwear was a luxury too for my grandparents, my parents a necessity and for us a need and a "want" too!

Destination Infinity said...

The point that the parents sided with the law and didn't bail us out is somehow very valid in current circumstances.

We have played every single game imaginable in our small ground (even Golf, with their rules intact) and played more games indoor. The lack of TV programmes and computer games was actually luck in disguise!

Destination Infinity

Ordinary Guy said...

classic one.,.......... but I suppose the kids in present day india also live almost the same way :P :P :P

pink dogwood said...

wow - how did we ever make ??? :)

Chrysalis said...

Love the post. Brings back such memories. And yes I get weird looks from parents when my son rides his bike without a helmet.

Rasna and pitto, no phones,minimal TV....heavenly. I wish I could raise my kids this way.

Indyeah said...

LOVED this post:))your additions too:)))
this has made me nostalgic:)))

so many memories:)

I am forwarding this to my friends:)))
((Hugs)) for a lovely post:)

Mavin said...

Hi Anrosh,

Let me add my two bit..

Hiring bicycles by the hour and learning how to ride them.

Boarding bus no. 83 to go to Shivaji Park swimming pool. (83 busfare was 25p and 84EXP was 35p)

Gola wala and jeera-goli or chana-singh were favourites with us kids

Playing cricket and scampering to hide when a whacking shot shattered a glass pane.

Crossing into the other compound by jumping over the wall.

TV and telephones were strangers and Brittania bread cost 60p.

Chaya Geet on Thursday and Sunday picture were popular but playing was even more.

A movie was a privilege

Local circulating library was the place to roost. Enid Blyton and Archie comics and Hardy Boys were vacation past times.

Vacations were always to Pune or some other place and buying "batata wada" at Karjat was a must.

So many more memories.....Remember that ghazal by Jagjit and Chitra Singh about childhood.

rocksea said...

Our parents and we were in a quick transition period from a natural world to a hi-fi world. This period saw a huge development in science and technology that the recent generation is caught up in between...

Finding a balance is still possible to some extent, depends on how the parents bring up the children.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Very valid point. The more we learn about the drawbacks of this and the health hazards of that, the more paranoid we become. Sometimes I feel that the researchers and the media feed on public paranoia. Health issues are partly physical, and partly psychological. In earlier times, nobody was bothered so we all skipped along fine. Now we read and obsess too much, so we are maybe getting neurotic.

Anrosh said...

mavin, i have to put this all on the post -- you brought back many more memories - britannina bread was 91 paise... but that is years down.. the last i remember it was 7.rs. how much is it now?

hot hot chana sengh - do we still get now --- talk about protein for cheap.

golawalas, bor, hava mithai - after school.

hiring bicycles for 4 anas for half an hour --- i think i will have to put this all down on paper. it is a different era.

each generation has its own. looking back always feels good and looking ahead more so.

rock sea - welcome.

chrysalis - kids will always think that their times are the best - now that is a good thing.

indyeah -- i'll have to rewrite this when i have some good time to spare.

ordinary guy -- really? the kids in india still live this way?

sucharita -- you are right about obsessing. welcome.

pink dogwood :)

DI -- you got that right.

thank you all for dropping by - it is always a pleasure

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