When I think back of growing up in the 80s, oh it feels nice. It was threshold, cross-over and iconoclastic. There are few things that can match growing up in the 80s.
What a zing. Thanks to the 80s, the “child within” is not only alive and kicking, but sometimes neatly elbows out the adult outside. When the culture of the 80s hits you, you will always find a whole ten years to call your own. Your own piece o' real estate on the date line.
Back to the Future and the DeLorean. A failed car. A fantastic movie. Michael J Fox’s skateboard-ing and Christopher Lloyd’s every-thing. Its as clear as day. “Where we are going, we don’t need roads.”
TV had Chitrahaar first, and then Chitrahaar twice and then Chitrahaar-Chitrahaar-Rangoli. We complained about ads taking away song-time. And yet we watched those ads with blithe pleasure. We knew the days of old songs and new songs. I say this wistfully at a time when a collective conscience today just zombies through the million movie promos playing all day on TV.
Other white goods
Videocon’s semi-automatic washing machine. In true Henry Ford style, you could have it in any color you wanted, as long as it was green. It was semi-automatic. I can tell you what that means. Five times change water use bucket lift it wring clothes like crazy keep switching them between plastic depression A and B oh hell today its Mum’s washing day something’s gotta give. Old genie granted mom three wishes, one got taken by semi-automatic. She has a brand new one though. Twinkle in her eye.
Some of my friends had that ATARI video game, and it took them fifteen minutes to get to “All Systems Go”. Veritable “Houston we have a problem” waiting to happen. Wires, hitherto hangin’ loose, would rear heads from ugly corners behind the TV. Then be randomly put into little ports behind the TV till the color of the screen became blue/green/chik-chik-khirr. Depends on your blue screen of death. Then the Super Mario with its ping-pong ball sound effects. Whatever that guy did, he signed it off with a ping-pong sound from hell. Jump. Eat. Hop. Double hop. Ping. Pong. Ping. Pong. What’s the deal?
They had magazines called Showtime, Stardust, Cine Blitz and Movie then (only Stardust exists these days perhaps in the same form?). To my credit, I only read those when going from place A to place B on train. And then, I memorized them – I did – I mugged them up. So I could terrorize my friends later on in life. It is not with false concern that they wonder how, oh how, I knew Kamal Sadanah's social security number.
I also read this youth magazine called Target. It had one page of funny cartoons by Ajit, among other things. Great stuff. Amar Chitra Katha and Indrajaal comics were delivered by Newspaper-Man (at great peril to life and limb, courtesy my dog) every week. My beats per minute go up when I see Amar Chitra Katha. I have never seen a new Indrajaal in stores; swimming images of Phantom, Diana, Bahadur, Bela, Kerry Drake, Mandrake, Narda call out. Someday, perhaps.
So what is a great value proposition?
Your newspaper man delivering comic books every Sunday. Crisp, ink-meets-paper smell of freshly baked comic. Wow.
80s music, 80s music, 80s music. What can I say? We were there!!!! I heard Baltimora's Tarzan Boy and that sealed it. It was love at first aural. I must have been six. My brother would record 40 songs on a single cassette and we would listen to the whole reel over and over again. Some songs we could n't wait for the reel to get over, so we would rewind, listen raptly, rewind, listen raptly. You get the picture. My brother even had songs such as "Eat it" and "Girls just-a wanna have lunch", a foodie's take on these two infinitely popular songs back then in the Golden 80s. There was of course Karma Chameleon and Brother Louise. Both ripped off into Hindi songs, needless to say. 80s brought alive din-chak, din-chak, din-chak. Hallelujah Synthesizers. Everything was just so freakin "groovy". I will never have an identity crisis in my life, I got the 80s to groove to.
On a lonely rainy day, when there was just me and my radio. And to the beat of the music, I was generally being loopy. My belief is radio is to culture what 80s are to the radio. Extraordinarily, made for each other. At that very instant, the heavens bounty welded into this radio machine. It played "Take on me" by A-ha. I heard it after nearly 10 years on the radio. And what a subtext it had. It was vivid, but certain. In my mind, I choreographed my life's music video to the tune of "Take on me" that day.
Kitschy poetry – a tribute to the 1980s
The 80s to me - a ten-year combustion
Sizzling, sparking and scorching this chemical reaction
Inane lyrics, bad hair, We-are-the-world, WHAM
This was the magic age, the original Kazam
Electronic disco came, changed everything
Brings us back to the 80s zing
Back to the Future's Johnny B Goode
For the gang, all this well understood
The time that gave us David Bowie, Sixteen Candles and Faith, the song
Billy Idol and U2 and Nazia Hassan, it just cant go wrong
Living in the 80s legitimizes my bad poetry
I was listening to “Mickey” in 1983
We stand all in a row, may think apart
The roots unmistakable, 1980s in our heart
Way back in the 80s, people walked like Egyptians. Tough act to follow.
[Back to the Future]