A Pendrive full of Memories –Rise of Indian Middle Class

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I looked through my Flight’s Window to the panorama below, restless as I had nothing better to do before I landed in Bangalore and resumed my life as I am used to. The Sky was clear from the top and I could see panorama which is not visible from Mumbai Skyline due to ever clinging Smog.I got this feeling of Déjà vu and went back in time, I begin to count the number of times that I’ve sat back like this and reflected upon my childhood. A childhood festooned with memories of my formative years and the beginning of day while preparing for exams. The day use to start with early dawn rendition of “DD News” in deep baritone of news reader of those times.

Our childhood belonged to the pre-reform years of India, It was a time when great changes were about to take place and consumption and instant gratification were not yet the way of life for Indian middle class.It was a time where vacations would mean, time to have pure and simple fun and not a time to enhance your skills by joining all possible vacation courses ,Where Doordarshan’s Sunday morning Cartoons and evening Movies used to be a special event and for the entire week we use to look forward to the Sundays to watch our favorite serials on Black & White TV.

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It was a time where birthday’s would mean friends & family get together at your place with homemade food and not just a birthday treat in a flashy Restaurant or Bar. Soft drinks were once in a while phenomenon and drinking it used to be an event. Something to be enjoyed and to feel good about and not just a mean to quench your thirst.We were used to playing Hide n Seek, Flying Kites, Plucking Guavas from neighbour’s orchard , Cycle Race and Cricket matches and were not hooked to any Mobile Phones, Play Stations or X-Boxes .It was a time of Blackboards and not white boards, fans and not A/Cs, Inter school Sports meet, Annual Functions, Rainy day off, group photographs, selling “NGO” tickets for school. SUPW (Art & Craft) class, School Orchestra, Bunking Library class

Our childhood was about picking up pups from the street, making a shelter for them out of bricks and feeding them biscuits out of whatever pocket money we had. It was a time when we use to get Videos on rent and watched movies entire night on VCR. It was a time when traveling by “Sleeper Cass” on train was of great joy and flights were something that we only saw flying across the clear sky, There was no internet and Personal Computers had Boot Floppy Discs, no home loans, no EMIs ,No Telemarketers, I remember Bajaj & LML Vespa Scooters that we had in an era where less was more and new cloths were a by-annual affair bought during important festivals ,during one of these festivals invariably purchase use to be our School Uniform. Talking of uniform reminds me that the younger siblings would always get the hand me downs of the eldest in the family.

Today the times have changed ,Smart devices ,Internet, Social Media and credit cards have made it a world of consumption and instant gratification. Telegrams have been replaced by smart messaging .We now live in time of rampant commercialization ,things are changing every second, We don’t write letters anymore but SMS our friends and family, Harry Porter has occupied the place once enjoyed by Enid Blyton’s. Truly lot has changed, lot will change for better and for worse but memories remains and come flashing back in time like these when we bring it out from the labyrinth of past for spring cleaning and safekeeping for another time, another day, another flight like this one.

Happy Landing!

Prateek N Kumar