It was the end of yet another hectic day at work, when I reached home and lied down to enjoy some music of my choice.
As I closed my eyes, I was transformed back in time. A different age, the age of the Radio, the age with no Television, no modern gizmos like the Internet or the Cell phone. I was back in the age of simplicity, and the age of innocence. It was me, the little boy once again, in the late seventies, growing up in a decent middle class neighborhood of Bikaner, a desert town in Rajasthan.
My Father being in the Army, was away, most of the time. I, the elder among two brothers, was growing up under the watchful eyes of my Mother, who was a Lecturer in the Anatomy Department of the local Medical college.
Life was just like a bed of roses. It was school during day and the only other thing that mattered was Cricket. Being part of the colony’s cricket team was the single most important thing in life. With my interest in the opposite sex still a few years away, I was totally dedicated to the intricacies of the game. My cricketing Heroes were the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Vivian Richards & Clive Lloyd.
With great efforts I had persuaded my mother to buy me a headphone, a modified telephone earpiece, with a couple of wires coming out of it, and which would receive the local MW radio frequency with great clarity. That was my way of listening to the Cricket commentary and enjoying every run scored by Mr. Gavaskar. And, that was used mostly in school. We were a group of four boys who would listen to the commentary taking turns, during the lunch breaks, me of course listening to it for the maximum time.
It was the time when my Father gifted me my very first watch, a squarish gold colored timepiece. I was naturally thrilled. It was also the time when listening to radio over dinner was a family ritual. “Hawa Mahal” on “Vividh Bharti” at 9.15 pm, was a ‘must listen’ every night. In addition, me and my brother were fond of listening to “Modi Ke Matwale Raahi”, the exploits of “Balwan Singh” & “Lalit Singh”, over AIR Bombay, though that station was a little difficult to catch.
I used to get a pocket money of Rs 5/- every month. It was used mostly to buy Ice cream at School, the available varieties being for Paise 5, 10, 20 & 30. It was also used to buy comics, Phantom & Mandrake being my favorites.
My School had a library, which had a good collection of Books. That is where I read “Gullivers Travels”, “Robinson Crusoe”, “Swiss Family Robinson” and many other classics.
My School had a lot of Neem trees, which I used to climb for fun, along with my other classmates, though at great risk, as it was forbidden to do so. But we liked that and actually enjoyed breaking the rules.
Me and my brother, both had bicycles to go to school, which was about 3 km away from home. And home was near the railway line going towards Delhi and I was very fond of going near them and waving at the passengers of the trains. The trains all had steam engines, spewing black smoke as they thundered on those meter gauge tracks. Watching a diesel engine was a rare sight.
Suddenly I heard a distant voice. It was my wife calling me for dinner, and I was brought back to the present, my cell phone beside me, along with the TV remote.
In a flash it was all gone. The steam engine trains, the home of my parents, the cricket ground, the bicycles, my school and my innocence. In the struggle of life, I had left all that behind.
Everything has changed. I am here at Pune, my Father no more, Mother staying with Brother, now a Doctor, at Chandigarh. What has not changed is that touch of nostalgia, which I still carry around, with all those cherished memories, of a time, that will never come back again.