Memories are sometimes what we make of them, they may not true in the exact passing of events, they mostly are what we remember of some circumstances which we have encountered seen with the eyes of an adult. However, true those events were, our perceptions of them change with time and the passing years add to the romance of what were just mundane or at best normal day to day existence.
Having said this, I will try to be as true as I can to the snippets of the last half a century.
When I see the teeming traffic on the road on the road below my balcony, my thoughts go back to the days when we actually came here. The roads were so quiet, there were fewer cars, the only noisy times were when there on the immersion days in the days of the Ganapati festival,and boy that was noise. Closed windows and doors were no shield against the joyous celebratory upsurge of sound. One could not then help but participate in it by watching from the safe confines of the fourth floor. The point I was making was of the increase in traffic which is apparent everywhere now. Much earlier as a smaller child in Chandigarh, cycle rickshaws were the norm (as they are even now) they took us to and from school, cars were very few. Ours was one of them. I have some very fond memories of going to the lake in the night after dinner, our family and one other, elders sitting on the grass while we ran around and played until we were tired out. There used to be no other people there, very rarely perhaps another family or two. Quiet calm waters and plain grass waiting for the feet of running children, well lit in the dark. Last year I revisited Chandigarh again, the change hit me in the face almost like a slap.There was activity commerce, food stalls ,crowds where once was a haven of peace.
As children the main agenda is play, next comes study, it is the opposite for parents. Our holidays were the main highlights of the year, the long summer vacations and the shorter winter/Christmas holidays.I longed for them with a longing that was lasted long. The short car trip to Delhi or the long train journey to Allahabad were awaited with so much joy almost as if those were the only times which had any relevance at all. As a child I saw very few movies and those that were seen were the ones which were recommended by Mom and Dad or one or two which the school took us to. 'Tora Tora Tora' 'Ashirwad' 'Ab Dilli Door Nahin' and some other war movies spring up instantly. Dad of course always took us for the 'good' movies and Mom for the fun ones, something which remained until we started going out with friends to see what we wanted to. Films remained my second love, reading always had the gold medal. So we saw movies like 'Garam Hawa' 'Ashad Ka Ek Din' and much later 'Ankur' interspersed with 'Mary Poppins','Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' and 'Aradhana'. There were many war movies too, but for the life of me, although some scenes replay before my eyes, the names elude me.This could due the distaste I have for violence and thereby war.
I look at children nowadays and wonder sometimes if they have fun at all, knowing full well that the concept of fun changes with changing times. So if I consider lying on my special branch of the mango tree to read a book or swinging higher and higher on the swing trying reach the sky or throwing snowball at my brother in Kufri
or running through Mamu's house chasing six other kids or flying a rather small kite which my elder cousin bought for me or just holding the spool while they flew theirs,my idea of fun,a child nowadays would think of these ideas as strange and alien. I see children going to various classes....dancing,singing, gymnastics for an hour or two a week and this seems to be fun for them.The only time I indulged in these was in school, now there is serious training for cricket, we played hockey in school as part of the sports in school. Nobody thought in terms of training, our coaching was in school and we were happy with what we had. Children must be happy nowadays too but the reasons which give them are different now. We played with abandon fought and laughed with such too. One thing my mother taught me from when I was very young was to fight my own fights. Once when I came crying to her to tell her about some fight with some other child, she wisely told me, both of you are the ones fighting, you will have to sort it out. It was so disappointing to not get her support, but it was just this which was made me face situations head on and not turn to anyone for support. I see today many Moms arguing with other Moms on behalf of their children and I remember Amma's wisdom.
Times have changed and with them concepts, some remain but many change which is good because in a static climate the ice of ideas would be never melt, ideas would cease to flow.
This has been a personal snippet, I will try and write about how times have changed in the other contexts in my personal view. Later.