The last century could be termed as the most exciting in terms of the development that had happened throughout the world, the most prominent ones being the aero plane (which killed distances), the telephone (which brought people together), the television (which brought entertainment to our homes), the computer (which propelled innovation), the internet (which connected not only computers but ideas worldwide) and the mobile phone (which revolutionised not only communication but poor people’s lives).
But this piece is not on what we were able to achieve through persistence, innovation and genius but how those achievements have almost furtively changed the way we live our lives, directly or indirectly and made some things which were an important part of our childhood disappear from our lives, namely:
The tin school bag: A symbol of my first introduction to school which I carried with so much pride. It made me love the sunshine which bounced off its shiny surface and squinted my eyes.
The black and white TV and Doordarshan: An important part of my early days, both have become extinct for me as a species. Once upon a time they were my only means of entertainment when I came back home after playing. The solid state picture tube which took an eternity to pop the picture up (the process was called warming up) and the staple diet of one film and one song program per week are both a part of my familylore.
The Kulfiwallah: The loud resonant voice which announced the arrival of the kulfiwallah and made me run out of the house bare-feet with a twenty five paisa coin (extinct too) for a small kulfi died more than ten years ago. Now he can be sporadically found, in a renewed slightly corporatized avatar in the mall (a promotion or a demotion?).
The landline phone/The STD Booth: Both are dying very fast. I use the landline phone only for answering unsolicited calls aimed at selling me a product I do not want to buy. I fear the worst and feel it will lose even the ornamental value that it carries in our house once the baton of running the house passes to the next generation.
The other endangered species on the verge of extinction are:
- The writing pad
- The wrist watch /the alarm clock
- The CRT monitor
- The pen
- The playground
The sad part is that all of them made had a role to play in what I am today and I have stopped missing them already, not even caring to remember them on their anniversaries – the day when they entered my life.
* There would be many more things which could figure in this list but I put the only ones that I can recall easily. See, I suffer a memory loss even when I try to remember the other things that were at one time so very important for me.