Sometimes it is fun to watch old movies. It is a nostalgia trip and a way of life which no longer exists. Just make sure not to watch it with the kids. There are so many things I have to explain to the boys. The language itself sounds so cliched. I will ignore the over-acting done in those days.
I was watching Masoom, an 80s movie with my son recently. Naseeruddin reaches his office and tells his secretary, ‘Book a trunk call to Nainital’. Hmm.. So many things in this short line. In the free national incoming and outgoing calls generation, I had to explain that, once upon a time, people used to book a ‘trunk call’ for calling an STD. Woops. Then I had to explain about STD calls. He could definitely not fathom why an operator had to dial it for us and then connect the calls and perhaps listen in to the conversation. Anyways, the call gets connected. Both Naseeruddin Shah and Satish Kaushik try to speak at the same time with their voices a pitch higher. My son burst out laughing asking why are they shouting and the confusion in the call as everyone is trying to convey a message hurriedly. Well, those were the times when STD calls cost a bomb. So, they would talk loudly and real fast and hope that the message is conveyed.
Move a few scenes, a postman comes with a Telegram. I held my breath for the question. ‘Mom, what is a telegram?’ I had to explain solemnly, ‘Son, there were many places where the telephone had not reached. In those days, to send an urgent message, people used to send telegrams in very cryptic English as the message was charged per word. Mostly, used to convey deaths, births, travel details.’ Phew.
Another day I was watching ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’. Oh! I like to watch movies and these old movies are so full of memories of plannings and trips made to the nearby theatre to watch a movie. I told my sons, that I loved the movie so much, I watched it twice. And they looked at me, ‘Duh! So?’ Well, nobody went for a movie twice in those days. Also, someone had to go to theatre, stand in a queue and book physical tickets. There was no spur of the moment, ‘Lets go for a movie’ thingie. Nowadays, its a few swipes on the smartphone and we can just go.
Another concept, the boys cannot understand is the hobby of stamp collecting. I used to have a small collection in an old diary which I had converted to stick all the stamps I gathered. My dad worked in an export company and they got letters from all around the world. Sadly, I do not know where I lost the book. Who posts letters anyways? Its all sending of messages on the Whatsapp. Letter writing is a skill which is no longer used to write those long, winding letters to friends telling them about the happenings in our lives. Really, who did that? Write letter, put in envelope, put appropriate stamps and then to go to put it in a post box. I can hear my sons say, ‘Mom, you guys really had all the time in the world for such stuff’ followed by peals of laughter.
So, where is the time of the new generation going. We were affected by those traditional long-winding ways and came up with solutions to make life easier. I wonder if the lives of the new generation is so easy, will they ever come up with something that will change our lives drastically? Like just tapping a hand held device and speaking endlessly to our loved ones.
I remember our parents used to think that our generation is hopeless as we have all the comforts in life including watching TV. And we are feeling the same about the next generation. Eeks.. Now I am sounding like my parents. Have you felt the same?