Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Simple things in life

Simplicity is certainly the norm of life, and sometimes, when you look back in time, you just wonder how in the world, the world has changed drastically over a period of time. There are so many people with whom I can easily share this view How I wish I can go back in time. Life was simple, with all the little things having the greatest of significance and extravaganza was limited to just over the top luxuries, luxuries which do not even qualify as basic necessities in today's ever changing world. Life was all about doing the simple things in a simple way to get simple results and more importantly getting satisfied in a simple way. Simple, isn't it?

Pratap and I go a long way in sharing some of the good and bad times together. Today, at lunch time, we had a brief conversation over phone, and invariably, the talks centered on Bangalore and the simplicity of the early nineties. He told me Praveen, I want to go back to Bangalore and experience the thrill of life as Bangalore was during our growing up process. My father wants the Bangalore of the sixties, but I know I can't wish for something which I have not seen. Atleast I want the way it was when we grew up. I don't have to say that similar sentiments are echoed by another passionate Bangalorean Prasad, with whom telephonic conversations have never been complete without a reference to our beloved city. All of us have the fear of getting alienated within the confines of our region, thanks to the rapidity of the changes.

Class I to IV
Let's just revisit the good old years. My school had two shifts, the morning shift was from 7:30 in the morning till 12:30 in the afternoon for the primary classes, while the high school students had to attend from 12:30 in the afternoon till 5:30 in the evening. Being a nocturnal creature, even then, getting up at 6:30 in the morning to get ready for school was the worst nightmare for me. I used to conjure different kinds of tricks to get that extra minute's sleep that never went well with my mother. She literally used to pull me out of the bed and push me to the bathroom forcing me to do my morning ablutions. There were no two ways about it. I had to take a bath and then go to school. This has inculcated within me a strong practice to never leave the house without a shower in the morning. The whole process of getting ready to go to school would be complete within fifteen minutes (to all my friends who have wondered how in the world I get ready so fast today!!!). The seven or ten minute walk from home to school with fellow toddlers, all of us carrying books as if on a space mission, were the best moments of my life. The discussions that were carried out were the simplest topics having a touch of high importance and confidentiality. Psst...Psst...There is a haunted house behind the school. Whoever goes in never comes out alive. Why do you think the black magic man was there in that house yesterday? Every word of the high profile talk was lapped up in absolute concentration.

Enter school, and the early morning jitters is not exactly washed away. In spite of having all the fascinating discussions, the desk serves as an ideal place to cushion your head with the minimum of fuss. All that changes, when you see your neighbor all smiling. What happened? Did you buy something new? Obviously, that smile can mean that he has got something new. Out from the bag, he flashes out a beautiful pencil box made of plastic, with a two layered holder. There is a small gathering to admire his new acquisition. He proudly explains the various features of the box, as to how cleverly the box is designed so as to hold the extra pencils and rubbers (that's how I call them even though people attribute a completely different meaning to it today) apart from the usual set of two. It is always better to carry extra pencils. You always need them what with the amount of classwork and homework to be done, he says. The other guys just stand there and wonder, "What a brilliant guy he is!! He has thought so much about it!!!" If anyone in the group comes up with a counter argument, our friend here is quick to point out the advantages and convince everyone around that he is not a fool to buy the pencil box without considering all that. Now, he is virtually idolized. If he ever buys anything new on the day of the test or exam, there is no point in flaunting his new found possession as you see, his classmates are in a state of tension. They are more worried about the test score than about his new pencil box, and rightly so! One more important aspect of pencil box skips my mind; if the box had a magnet, the guy would turn hero!

Homeworks and classwork were always a fun part of studies. If ever you completed your homework on time, and realized that the person next to you has not got his homework note book, the excitement levels in the gang builds up slowly. Hey...you know what, he has not done his home work...Conveying the news has never been faster. In the middle of all this, favoritism also stems. Why do you think he got one mark more than me? Miss(that's how we used to address our teachers in school) is partial towards him. It was always interesting to know what the other fellow wrote in his test papers. As he sensed that you were looking in his direction, he would give out a stare that can give a complex even to the teachers. He used to be as protective of his paper as a lioness is to her cub.

Class V to VII
Discussions used to be on mature lines, well that's what we thought then. More stress on sports and extracurricular activities was laid upon. Did you see the match yesterday? Sachin Tendulkar was brilliant. On an equal footing some other day, He should be dropped man. He is a waste. You also understood the importance of being competitive. I have to outscore him in the exams. Apart from that, little things used to add up to a lot of excitement. My dad took me to this newly built restaurant yesterday. It was too good. Enid Blyton became a part of your daily life. A group of Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew fans formed the sidelines. Your eyes used to light up on seeing the bhel puri gaadi wala. But, restraint from home prevented you from taking that plunge of buying outside stuff. Hygiene was top priority. This was the time when you started picking up the big words, but scared to use them in the open. Miss! He is using bad waards!!!

Class VIII to X
Now, a high school student with big ambitions. You want to play the fun and at the same, you don't want to take it too far. Come on, you will be facing board exams in two years is the mantra of parents and teachers alike. Two years is as good as eternity for a high school student. You silently laughed at their forewarnings and at the same time, irritation and frustration slowly crept it. This was the time when you started seeing the girls in the next class with a slightly different feeling and for obvious reasons, you could never tell it out. It would be a scandal, you thought. But, you never let go of the chance to mock at a fellow student looking at girls. You have firmly secured a grip on the most often used terms in school. C'mon you are a big boy now!!! The juniors look upon you as a demigod and you were always ready with your advice. The evening walk back from school now comprised of a whole range of topics. Girls, movies, books, marks, exams, preparations and what not filled your mind, and who better to share all these things with than a good friend.

So, as we were heading back from lunch to office today, Chetan and I were discussing the good effects of school life, and it was just a great way of rekindling the happiness of good old times. Simple happiness filled us big time and today I cannot imagine the prospect of sitting in a class without the irritating ringtone of a mobile phone. MMS services are being used at an all time high with forgettable pictures. Today, not many would like to walk to school. Cars and personal chauffeurs play vital roles in a kid's life. It is time we forget this madness and bask in the glory of those days!

PS: With due respect to my fellow blogger friends, I will be removing the blogrolling page element. Google Reader more than serves my purpose, and I realised that I am hardly clicking on the links from my page. Thanks!!!!


  1. I believe human brain has this inbuilt feature such that it *mostly* remembers all the good things which have occurred in the past. No wonder we like late 80s and early 90s and our parents like 60s.

    u see all worry free stuff occur during this period.


  2. We all have so many childhood memories that can not be forgotten.
    Nicely put there by you, reminds me of my beautiful days. :-)


  3. GK, once again a terrific write up. I always long to have that old Bangalore back.....but just reading thru ur description sure brings back those memories.....But what I felt happy about is the fact that you can still talk abt this and share ideas with friends whom u have known for long....that is one priceless possession!!!....Personally, I am glad to have met you in Boston.....like minded people are always fun to talk to!!!These are as the title suggests " Simple things" but the most valuable ones too!!!

  4. Prasad,
    It is just that inspite of all the technological development, somewhere in the corner of our mind, we have this feeling that we are not ready for it. So, we like things when they are kept simple. Now, now, now, Prasad, the "we" is highly relative. What say?

    Thank you very much. Childhood memories are moments to be cherished!!! :-)

    Yes, Madan. I am glad to have met some like minded people throughout my life. There was one more addition to the list of such people when you came to Boston last month :-) I am glad you liked it!!!!

  5. Suchitra,
    That should have been in VII class :-) Because, from VIII it was co-ed right :-)

  6. praveen,

    very good post, that drove me down my memory lane in Bangalore, my home, my school. what a great time it used to be.

    talking about cell phone usage, the karnataka govt has banned cell phones in schools, and even teachers are not supposed to carry within the premises. i dont know to what extent this will get implemented, however, it definitely adds to the relief of parents who have young school going children.

    although i visited a lot of places, within India and abroad, i think namma Bengaluru is the best place to live.

    - from a fellow bangalorean,

  7. Chiroti,
    Yep, Bangalore is definitely the best, and that too for a person who has lived in Bangalore all life, nothing can get better. It is not the question of the govt. banning cell phones, but the fact is, life is changing at such a fast pace that I feel left behind with the current generation. For kids today, simple things do not matter anymore.