Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Wonder Years

As yet another year is drawing to an end; I was talking to my friends about childhood memories. We talked about the things we did, the kids we hung out with, the trouble we got into (some more than others), and the games we played.

And, over the past few days, it got me feeling just a bit nostalgic, remembering the good times, the great times, as I grew up. And, it also got me thinking how some things were just simpler then, and that sometimes the progress we seem to have made has been just for the sake of moving forward when we had some pretty awesome things back in my day (yes, I realize I am old with that phrase) that stand up over the course of history. 

It is amazing where we have gone with video games over the past 30 years or so. Today, you have gaming consoles that react based on your own movements and actions. You also have incredible graphics and storylines, things that were not able to be done on such a level all those years ago. And my personal favourite, Haptic Feedback :) It rocks!

However, some of them just lack the simple nature to hold your interest and entertain you. And, for the amount of money being put into some of them, it is astounding that such aspects would be overlooked.

I remember getting out of school and heading to the playground to play with my friends, choosing sides for some cricket, a little football, or maybe basketball. I remember the sound and pattern of a car alarm when you hit someone’s car by accident, scurrying away, leaving your ball behind, and waiting it out until they either turned it off or it ran its course. At that age, your ball was worth losing if it meant not getting in trouble. I remember getting yelled at for playing in front of some people’s houses, because our sixers were over their second windows, and we kept coming up just a bit short. I remember waiting for it to get darker,or for the power cuts, so we could organize a game of Eye-spy, making sure to specify the rule of no hiding in houses or on the roof, or else someone would try hiding on the sun-shade(you’d be surprised just how dumb some kids can be at that age).

I also remember the sound of the ice cream vendor - in my case, it was Kwality, before it was Kwality-Walls, and getting a choco-bar, or a cone, or a Rainbow ice-cream that was guaranteed to make a multi-coloured mess on your face. My personal favourite remains to this day, an ice-cream sandwich. For 5 bucks we used to get a decent slab of vanilla ice-cream between 2 chocolate flavoured biscuits. It was yumm!!!

My friend reminisced that he played some strange mix of Jurassic Park and Hide-and-seek, where he played a raptor with T-Rex vision, from his description. And, unfortunately, as we grow older, we lose some of that creativity and imagination, because, to keep it up as an adult would mean a trip to the psych ward with some padded walls. However, we can keep it alive in our minds, reminiscing about those times. 

I am sure there are plenty of theme songs, be it from cartoons you watched on Saturday morning or afterschool during the week. Even as I take a stroll through Landmark, Central, or Odyssey every once in awhile, there are just too many options. How many Batman figures does one really need? You’ve got Batman, Batman with the Kung-Fu grip, glow-in-the-dark Batman, Batman with the removable mask and cape so he’s really Bruce Wayne etc. There are too many special lines that it makes it nearly impossible for a kid to maintain any type of collection. As a kid, I had G.I. Joe figures. I also had He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Later, there would be Power Rangers, which I thought were kinda lame, and Pogs, which I thought were pointless. I also never got Pokemon or Magic: The Gathering, but they were struck way too late for me anyway, when I just didn’t see anything new measuring up to the toys of my youth. I am sure the toys of today can do all kinds of things that my toys couldn’t. And while that is pretty cool as far as technological advances are concerned, it limits your imagination. I don’t want my action figures’ weapons to make noises. I want to make those noises myself. I don’t want them to have action poses or movements. I want to position them to do those very things myself. There is something lost in the ability of those toys to do everything for you. 

Remain young at heart, because as we get older, we are in jeopardy of losing the ability to be a kid at times. Life toughens you. Stress, work, bills, etc. all play a factor in having to be a grown-up and killing away some of your childlike qualities. So, every once in awhile, bust out with Monopoly/Business or Snakes & Ladders to keep it alive. There’s nothing wrong with taking out some of your old toys and staging massive battles or fights among the different sides. For the ladies, feel free to host tea parties for your Barbie dolls or your massive amounts of stuffed animals. Anyone visiting at the time might think you’re a bit crazy, but at least you’ll be having some fun for yourself, remembering those good times, when life was so much simpler, and sometimes just easier. 

And have a Happy New Year!


kunal said...

hey u reminded me of my childhood..

very well wrtten and happy new year

everything burns... said...

awww... :) i cud say the same as kunal...u reminded me of my childhood...well other than the video games...girls r nt too fond of those... but still... it ws very beautifully written
ps: happy new yr!!!!

Rohan said...

I had a collection of 21 guns when i was young. I remember laying them out in a line every sunday and checking them out and beaming over them. though i nvr turned out to be the violent kind.

I had an awesome collection of hot wheels as well.

life is different now. the world has moved. and we have aged. :(

good post bro.