A candy floss tale

The Hitavada - - THE OPINION PAGE - By K V BENAJE KU­MAR

THE oc­ca­sion was the birth­day party of our neigh­bour’s son which was ar­ranged on the ground floor of our flat scheme. After the reg­u­lar pleas­antries I moved to­wards the food coun­ters. What caught my at­ten­tion was a counter of­fer­ing ‘Bud­dhi ka Baal’ or candy floss which was a rage dur­ing our school days.

Sadly, the counter did not have many seek­ers but that did not stop me, as I did not want to miss the op­por­tu­nity to delve deep into my me­mory lane and so, I asked for one.

Some­times, I take a walk on our ter­race and I see flights tak­ing off or com­ing to land at the Nag­pur air­port. Even though I have had the op­por­tu­nity to fly many times, I still look at the ris­ing air­craft, go­ing down the me­mory lane back to more than forty years ago.

My fa­ther was posted in a place called Poli­betta in Kodagu district of Kar­nataka. Kodagu or Coorg still does not have a rail con­nec­tion and is ap­proach­able only by road.

In those days hear­ing the sound of an air­craft would have us kids run­ning out of our houses and search­ing the hori­zon to catch a glimpse of the tiny speck of the air­craft in the sky. We would brag and bet about be­ing the first among our group to travel in an air­craft one day. My real fly­ing ex­pe­ri­ences later were nowhere even close to the fun of our child­hood days and that has car­ried with me till date as I keep look­ing at the ris­ing air­craft from our ter­race.

My first train jour­ney was a won­der with the be­he­moth steam en­gine spew­ing smoke and soot which would set­tle on our dresses and in­stead of ir­ri­tat­ing us was some­thing to be cher­ished.

These are mo­ments which the present gen­er­a­tion may never ex­pe­ri­ence. I some­times won­der whether we are the lucky gen­er­a­tion to be born dur­ing the tran­si­tion pe­riod of the laid back days to the present busy sched­ules with all the mod­ern gad­getry.

The sta­tus sym­bols of the early years, the Stately Am­bas­sador cars with its var­i­ous mod­els start­ing from Land mas­ter, con­tin­u­ing it with mod­els of Mark I to Mark 4 with just a tweet in its bumpers or lights dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing the dif­fer­ent mod­els, the Fiat cars with mod­els called Premier Pres­i­dent and Pad­mini which ruled the roads, are hardly vis­i­ble now, and have given way to the sleek new au­to­mo­biles.

Tele­phone was some­thing which was a sta­tus sym­bol of the up­per class. Even though the Tele­com revo­lu­tion later had STD booths dot­ting the en­tire coun­try, we would wait upto 9 pm to make calls at a quar­ter of the reg­u­lar charges, a fa­cil­ity of­fered by BSNL then.

Say­ing all this to kids now would make them gawk at us as if they see us as be­long­ing to the age of the woolly mam­moth.

But the worst part to us is that they do not seem to be both­ered as they are busy with their mod­ern toys and gad­gets which may be­come their fond mem­o­ries on their grow­ing up.

Com­ing out of my me­mory so­journ I tasted the candy floss. As the sug­ary taste en­tered my sys­tem I could not stop my­self from ut­ter­ing those same old words com­monly used by the oldies and which I had been promis­ing my­self not to ever blurt out, which went thus: “Those were the days!”

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