I sit back in front of my laptop, surfing through many websites stacked in equal number of tabs. In a different room my mother is busy catching up with her favorite serial, on a large screen LED. She's watching the episode which aired yesterday while we were out shopping in the neighbourhood mall. My sister is revising her lessons through the e-tutorials available on her tablet. Dad called up to inform he's on his way home. The Bluetooth in his car helped him call hands-free. Everyone in our home has a mobile phone.
The afternoon sun shines through the glass window of my room. I put on my headphones and put my iPod on shuffle. A faint memory strikes me, in the form of a familiar tone. A lot of emotions churn and turn in my heart. Mind travels back in time.
"Tanha Dil..Tanha Safar..."
A distant radio plays this soulful, nostalgia-laden song by Shaan. Music videos are slowly starting this new trend. DD One and DD metro are the only options on the TV screen. But there's some really interesting and innovative programming nonetheless.
Mahabharat ruled the small screen. Hum Log, Swabhimaan, Shanti, Shaktimaan, Alif Laila had the nascent television audience glued to their screens. The interesting content kept coming with new private channels being launched in the later 90s. Movies were no longer restricted to Sundays. And new set of programming was introduced. Star Plus broadcasted the dubbed Hindi version of the hit American sitcom, ‘Small Wonder’. Sony had ‘Boogie Woogie’, ‘Disney Hour’. Ekta Kapoor was rising.
Meanwhile, Govinda-David Dhawan, Karishma Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit ruled the big screen. Most of the theatres existed as standalone screens playing just one movie at a time, sometimes for weeks and weeks. Then multiplexes dawned. Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aamir Khan crossed the superstardom threshold and we welcomed the new millennium with them ruling the screens.
The 90s was about people. I had friends with whom I went out to play in the evening. The game-station was a recent invention with 8-bit Contra and Mario being played turn by turn. Internet wasn’t heard of. Mobile phones were rare and a ‘status symbol’. Incoming calls were charged for. Letters were exchanged. An application for a landline connection came with a waiting period. That was a generation where people preferred to wait. Fast food outlets were starting.
Most of the brands were trying to gain some ground during that time. With media becoming popular and the reach getting wider, some interesting advertisements were seen across the medium. ‘Humara Bajaj’, ‘Rasna’, and ‘Dhaara’ had some of the most iconic jingles. The ad campaign of Amul and ‘Nirma’ have stayed similar till date and we relish them in the hordes of brand and commercials crowding every medium available now.
The Indian roads were comparatively empty, with only Maruti 800, Ambassadors, Contessas and Fiat Padminis burning the road. Okay, slowly crunching the tarmac. But, they were cool. The cars didn’t have Air Conditioners or power windows. But a cassette player option was available. Casettes were popular among the masses with the collection stacked in almost all the homes, in beautiful holders. Mix-tapes were the ideal gift for a friend.
The music of the 90s, is a genre in its own. It was popular, it was successful, it was melodious. Alisha Chinai’s ‘Made in India’, Jassi’s ‘Dil le gayi Kudi Gujarat di’, and Sukhbir’s ‘Taare gin-gin raat..’ was heard everywhere. Indi-pop was loved as much as the Bollywood songs. But somehow the audience has changed, the tracks have changed…
“Mujhe Apni Bana le..Caller Tune..”
I wake up from my day-dream. Lowering the volume on my iPod, I look out of my room. It is nearly evening. How fast did the time go! How fast did the time go