This evening, I heard a privileged teen scream at her mother in the Supermarket. How do I know she was privileged, you ask? Well, for starters she was dressed in what seemed like extremely expensive clothes, she had on high heels (I wonder why she had to wear those to the Supermarket anyway!) and she could barely manage the number of gadgets and gizmos she was balancing in her hands.
She was pretty rude with her mother and continued to whine away about practically everything! All the while her mother stood silently beside. I continued to hope that at any moment she would turn around and give her daughter a telling off or a frosty stare…or just something! But sadly that did not happen.
That got me thinking about my own childhood and the way in which my brother and I were brought up. You see for us, or the friends we had, there were no child proof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, we ate what we were given without any protest and we rode with our dad on his motorbike with wild abandon. Nothing fazed us! As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts. We sat on each other’s laps for God‘s sake and in fact still do when the entire family cousins and aunts and all decide to squeeze into the little space there is. We ate at roadside stalls, drank coconut water on the streets, ate everything that was bad for us from puchkas to bhel puri and yet never fell ill.
We left home as soon as the clock struck four every evening to play with all the neighborhood kids. We had no fancy toys or gadgets and our simple games of catch and hide and seek were able to thrill us like no other game ever will. No one had mobile phones or ipods or ipads in those days and yet we were pretty damn cool!
Our parents earned less, never travelled abroad, except for work and yet they made sure we were alright and oh! how wonderfully a few hundred rupees stretched till our next installment of pocket-money. We had great friends, whose parents we called Uncle and Aunty, not by their names or a cold-hearted Mr. so and so or Mrs. So and so. These people too took care of us, when our parents were away, and without any charge! In fact my brother would have probably gone without food had my neighbor aunty Jenny and her husband uncle Morris not threatened the living day lights out of the five-year old rascal!
The last few years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas. But back then we were still able to experience the bliss of pure, undiluted, childhood. we learned how to use our freedom wisely, we learnt from our failures and our successes, we learnt responsibility and we sure as hell learnt how to respect.
Thank heavens I grew up in a less complicated time. Those sure as hell were the real good ol’ days!