As a kid growing up in the late 70s and early 80s in India, I never read or heard of “The Lord of the Rings” and definitely not Harry Potter. To add to the misery, if it would seem so for some of the kids of today, I did not have access to Cartoon Network, electronic toys or computer games! In fact, I have never seen Cable Television at my home. My parents first bought a TV in 1986 and those days, the free-to-air channels (which was the only stuff available) were about 3-5 hours every evening.
So, what did I do?
- Playing outdoors was the numero uno activity – cricket, aatya-paatya, soccer, hockey with cricket ball and stumps, french cricket, cycling, gilli-danda, marbles, badminton, running races, walking races, flying kites, hide-and-seek, wrestling (obviously, I never won), tennis with cricket ball, etc.
- Listening to radio – At our home, the radio would remain on from 6:00 am in the morning to 11:00 am at night. I still remember some of the special programs that no one listened to:
- 6:00 am Sanskrit news that started with “Iyam Akashwaani. Samprati waartaaha shruyantam”, i.e., “This is Akashwaani. You are now listening to the news.”
- KL Saigal at 7:00 am and Binaca sangeetmala (I don’t know what time) both on Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation (also called, Ceylon station).
- Reading books – Some samples: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Shyamchi Aai (Marathi), Hindu Mythology, Abridged versions of Shakespeare, Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and so on…
- Reading comics – Phantom, Mandrake, Flash Gordon, Tintin, and sometimes, Asterix.
I used to, literally, use a torch under my blankets to read these comics and the Hardy Boys books, because my parents disliked the “addiction” Fortunately, someone is taking the painful efforts of maintaing a nice website – The comic project. It has scanned versions of several Indrajaal Comics (Phantom, Mandrake, etc.). I really appreciate this effort.
So, I did have a good time – just in a different way