Good old days…

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Jun 2018 12:34:53


By biraj dixit

Good old days…The number of time that I used these words, I wonder how much of myself have I left in the past. There is a little of me always peeping from the good old days; a little of me still wandering in its bylanes, a little that still wishes to go back, if only for a while.
Nostalgia is not a bad thing to have at all. It can very well act as the continuity boy, ensuring that the new scene in your life carries glimpses of the old allowing your film to be a beautifully flowing fabric rather than a knot of disjointed threads. It is a good thing to keep revisiting your past. But very often, I admit, I also take others along. Some do honestly appreciate our travel, for they then comfortably travel into their own territories taking me along and our admiration and entertainment is mutual. Some others are happy to be let inside from the front door but soon enough jump into the mental abyss of absentia. Some others, however, feel particularly edgy. For them, it is like being shown the entire house with fine details when they have specifically asked for the washroom! Not everyone has the heart to be and let others be nostalgic.

Very recently, the results of board exams were announced. And that I guess is a time for everybody to be nostalgic. Those who had scored meritorious positions naturally loved to revisit ‘those days’, recalling the pride in mother’s eyes and the smiles on father’s face and the overflowing sentiment that one day the child would become a truly successful man. Then, there were people whose mark-sheets had given a virtual nervous breakdown to their families. They now recall those days with easy laughter. ‘Marks maketh no man,’ they now proclaim. And then there was a huge middle order whose score generated neither heartbreaks nor pride but left memories nevertheless, which they peppered well enough for them to be served to society. As schools counted the number of their near-perfect meritorious students (90 percent and above), the citizens nostaligised, “those good old days without tuitions” and futurised “what will become of the nation of such tutored perfection?” and trivialised “Ten years down the line, will these marks matter!” and humanised, “My son scored a 89.92 percent marks!” In short, the board exams, with all its innumerable imperfections, again became a perfect time for cultivating memories so that nostalgia got a lot of food for thought.

Just imagine that if one board exam can generate so much of nostalgia, how much can entire schooling do! Everybody, without exception, can recall school days and memories therein, which had almost absolutely nothing to do with education. Creaky staircases, drawings on the blackboard, names scribbled on back benches, long march to Principal’s office, so many memories of those most lovely years can send generations into nostalgia. “Get out from my class,” is still a dear memory for so many. Many would recall teacher’s compliments on their efforts to prove Darwin wrong, “You morons, monkeys are smarter than you.” Some do recall with pride how they never allowed Shakespeare’s famous lines ‘All the world’s a stage’ to exclude their classrooms. Schools and colleges are those wonderful hotspots of life that create most lovely and ever-lasting memories. No wonder, nostalgia often finds its ways into these oft-frequented territories.

For some time now, my daughter has been my sufferer – nay – companion as I travel down memory lane. She, too, finds some part of it pretty interesting. The other day I just recalled days when there was just one channel on television and how there were no fights as there was no remote control. “Which channel,” she asked. “Doordarshan,” I said. “No wonder, there were no fights,” she said coldly. Her reaction so enraged me. For, Doordarshan is indeed one of the things that I get so nostalgic about. “It used to be a very interesting channel with some very brilliant shows that had story and a line of thought, unlike your shows today,” I retorted. “Hmmm…” was her rejoinder. But she has long given up on her mother’s meaning of interesting. It includes no ‘Cheap Thrills.’

I have now realised that it is not particularly safe for you to travel down memory lane with your children. For, these days, kids form opinions. My daughter looks particularly pleased that she is born in safer times when her memory bank will not include walking up to or pedaling for some inconceivable kilometers to go to school. Home work will remain just homework and will not include chores at home. She will have fond memories of cell phones, computers, internet, and many television channels to surf from not just one, by God’s grace. No cheap thrills for her!
Nostalgia – that dreamy-eyed past can so many times be an eye-opener for the present. So, I keep visiting good old days. They are good for sure. They offer ‘disjointed memories’ cutting away ‘rough edges of the past’. And they are old and wise and still tucked deep in heart. And so, occasional visits to them are more than called for. But one must be careful while bringing other along. The wisest thing though would be to travel alone. For, more than recollecting, nostalgia is about the feeling, isn’t it? l