All of us, I believe, have a mixed bag of memories; some good ones and others that make you cringe many years later. To say that one has only good memories, whilst suppressing the not so good ones is quite dangerous, to say the least. On the other hand, focusing only on unpleasant events that have occurred is a recipe for cynicism.
Like everyone else, I too have my share of good and bad memories. But in this post and the others in this seven day Write Tribe Festival of Words, I am planning to take a trip down memory lane and write about my growing up in Bandra in the sixties and seventies, when it was still a suburb on the outskirts of Bombay, as Mumbai was then know.
I am aware that writing about the ‘good old days’ may irritate some readers, who believe that there was never anything good about the old days; rather the best days are ahead of us and we must make the best of them. But I maintain that what happened during those days shaped me and a whole generation, enabling us to cope with a rapidly changing world.
Honestly, growing up in the sixties and seventies wasn’t always a bed of roses. I remember that when we first moved to Bandra, the road outside our apartment block was not tarred or paved. And during the monsoons it was a nightmare to walk on these roads, which were slippery as hell.
And walk you did, because owning a car was a luxury. Either you were very rich or you had a very ‘good’ job and the company gave you a car. Today the same road so full of cars, many of which are double parked, that it is still a nightmare walking on that same road.
There were other ‘discomforts’ like rationing of food grains and sugar. More often than not, when you went to the ration shop, you were told that there were not stocks available. And when stocks arrived, neighbors informed you and you left whatever you were doing to go and stand in a long serpentine line outside the ‘ration’ shop awaiting your turn. And quite often, when you ran out of rice or wheat or sugar you went to the ration shop around the closing time, when your entitlement of the ration was sold to you at a premium by an unscrupulous shop owner.
But these discomforts taught one lessons in frugality and prioritizing choices, depending on your hierarchy of needs. If you went to buy a pair of shoes, you bought one pair and returned home, even if you liked two pairs. Why? Because the second pair was not budgeted for by your dad and also because you had to pay for the shoes in cash and your dad may not have carried with him.
Today, with the advent of credit cards, one can buy all the pairs one likes. And if you cannot settle the credit card bill next month, so what? The bank is only happy to rollover the payments. Of course, at an interest rate of three percent a month.
In the next six posts that form part of the Write Tribe Festival of Words, I intend to recollect not only pleasant memories of my growing up days; rather what I also gained from some of the not so pleasant occurrences.
I am taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words 8th – 14th December 2013.
Pic credit: Wikimedia