By Yogambika Kumaraguru

We are living in an age where fresh lemons are used in finger bowls and artificially flavoured ones are relished as a welcome drink!  If only we could set the clock back to our simple lifestyle of yore.

The Telephone ring revives memories of the traditional instrument where one would use all the finger power to dial around a telephone contact they wished to connect with.  We had only one family in our street who owned a telephone. And for all obvious reasons, it was a contact number for the entire street. But the bonding was so cordial that the telephone family didn’t mind helping out the neighbourhood. More vivid memories on the so called “trunk call”. The longer the distance the louder the voice of the one attending the call. It is indeed a hilarious scene when you think of it today as click of a button you connect with anyone across the world by audio or video call and interact real time .

Of the TV.  One house having owning one television was a rare thing in contrast to these days where every room of the house is accompanied by a flat screen. But trust me, the infinite joy of gathering together in front of a TV and sharing views of the programme enhanced the family bonding so much. If you wanted to watch tamil movie songs you had to wait for Friday for “oliyum oliyum” and “Chitrahaar” for hindi songs every Wednesday . Even though we have several options to listen to music these days, yet the joy of hearing your favourite number on a radio is unparalleled.

Power cuts were a common thing but no one cribbed. The candle lit dinners/the moon light dinners on  terraces with the lady of the house serving food to family members in their palms made it so extra special filled with love.

Mobile phones and internet are no doubt a blessing helping us to shrink distances . Yet these gadgets had made the distance farther  in relationship amidst families. It is not an exaggeration to say that only during the time of floods in Chennai when there was no connectivity to these gadgets  did people actually venture out to even know who lived in their neighbourhood or spend quality time with family members.

Letter writing was another wonderful aspect of the yester years. Even though we have several courier companies these days, nothing can beat the wide connectivity to the nook and corner of the remotest of villages in the country that a post office had.  I loved the times of waiting for my result at the academic year end and handing over chocolates/money to the post men celebrating my promotion to the next class. The personal connect with the postmen remains a treasured memory.

One family owning one two wheeler was a luxury then. And these days each family member own a two wheeler and well to do families own a car each for themselves. But how much of fuel was saved in those days and so is the traffic.

Coming to speak of food, preparation has become super easy these days. Whilst those days, one had to use the grinding stones for batter or chutneys or making a blend of anything . But people never visited gyms nor was there a need for one.  Despite all the simplicity of evolving times in cooking ,the irony is people throng every restaurant that there is no breathing space also on weekends.

Another thing that comes to my mind is plastic evolution. The “manjapai”(yellow cloth bag) was an all purpose bag and used and reused for years by my ancestors . So also the steel utensils and banana leaves for serving food saved so much of plastic or paper that is used today.  Whilst the plastic containers and wrapping have made it convenient yet little did we realize the environment hazards, the baggage that came along with it.

Oh how I wish for what the Carpenters sang “Yesterday Once More”…