Wednesday, October 23, 2013


A few months back, my good friend Kali, a senior executive in a PSU, forwarded the below piece written by his friend Ramesh from Bangalore. I missed reading it then and when I was cleaning the mail box, I stumbled on it and was on to nostalgia after reading it. I was given permission by Ramesh  to blog the same and I thank him for it.

I am sure the Gen X will be nostalgic after reading it.


This is a must Read if you grew up in India.This is about a generation of kids who eventually grew up tough and learned to make it on their own with no government subsidies, no unemployment benefits, no medical plans, no job openings to apply for, even if you had an education, no savings and for the most part, no inheritance from our parents. Most families lived from day to day and had no savings.
How true and so well articulated! To Us, the wonderful kids who were born in India and survived the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's.......... !!* First, we survived being born to mothers, some whose husbands smoked and/ordrank while they carried us. They took aspirin, ate whatever food was put on the table, and didn't get tested for diabetes or any other disease! They were mothers who did not check their blood pressure every few minutes. Then after that trauma, our baby cribs and bassinets were covered with bright colored lead-based paints. We were put in prams and sent out with Ayahs' to meet other children with their ayahs whilst our parents were busy.

We had no child proof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes we had no helmets, not to mention the risks we took hitchhiking or going out on our own.

As children, if we would ride in cars there were no seat belts or airbags. We sat on each others laps for God's sake. Riding in the back of a Station Wagon on a warm day was always a special treat. If it was on a two scooter, mother on the pillion along with two elder kids and one or more on the front platform was not uncommon. We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this! We would share a bhuta or dosa; dip a chapatti into someone else's plate of curry without batting an eyelid. We ate jam sandwiches or pickle on bread and butter, raw mangoes with salt and chillies that set our teeth on edge, and drank orange squash with sugar and water in it. We ate at roadside stalls, drank water from tender coconuts, ate everything that was bad for us from bhajias (battered and fried vegetables) and samosas but we weren't overweight because WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING! We would leave home in the morning and play all day during the holidays, we were never ever bored, and we were allowed freedom all day as long as we were back when the streetlights came on, or when our parents told us to do so. No one was able to reach us all day by mobile phone or phone...... BUT we were OKAY!

We would spend hours making paper kites, building things out of scraps with old pram wheels or cycle rims, inventing our own games, having pound parties, playing traditional games called hide and seek, kick the can, 'gilli danda', 'seven tiles' and rounders, ride old cycles and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. Our parents earned less, never travelled abroad. Religion was never an issue, everyone trusted and loved each other, and came to each other's aid when needed. We never heard of or claimed our inheritance, whilst our parents were alive. We did not look for inheritance after they died too. They made sure we were alright. Never heard of pocket money!

We swam with an inflated tube which we got from somebody who was replacing their car tyres. We ran barefoot without thinking about it, if we got cut we used iodine on it which made us jump. Our parents ran after us, to give us castor oil, once a month!! We did not wash our hands ten times a day. And we were OK. We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no I-Pods, no Internet or Internet chat rooms, no TV,.... full stop! Listening to music was a gather around! We did not have parents who said things like 'what would you like for breakfast, lunch or dinner'. We ate what was put in front of us and
best of all, there was never any leftovers. We polished the lot!!!

WE HAD FRIENDS, great friends, whose parents we called Uncle and Aunty, and we went outside and found them! They too took care of us, when our parents were away, and without any charge! We fell out of trees numerous times, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no compensation claims from these accidents. We never visited the Dentist! We ate fruit lying on the ground that we shook down from the tree above. And we never washed the fruit. We had a bath using a bucket and mug and used Lifebuoy soap. We did not know what Shampoos & Conditioners meant. We made up games with sticks and tennis balls. We rode cycles
everywhere and someone sat on the carrier or across the bar to school or the pictures, not cinema, or you walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them, and their parents, never let us go without a meal or something....

Not everyone made it into the teams we wanted to. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! This generation of ours has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever! The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO DEAL WITH IT ALL!

Please pass this on to others who have had the luck and good fortune to grow up as kids in India, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives, ostensibly for our own good, that changed what was good into bad and what was bad into worse.......

Those were the GOLDEN DAYS my friends of our yester years. !!........ 


Anonymous said...

Hi, Very truly said. Too much protective bringing up of children has actually been negative impact. And too much TV and video games have made kids potato couches.

Suresh said...

Awesome truth