Change is the only thing constant in this world. As a kid growing up in the eighties and nineties, certain aspirational objects have become obsolete today. My daughter would never get to see any of these and would not even hear about them unless I tell her stories of my childhood. Perhaps, there should be a museum which can take the children of today back to eighties and nineties to offer them a glimpse of the world then. Few things that are now obsolete, yet offer good story telling material for my daughter are:
Today, typing on our laptops, tablets and smart phones is a child's play literally, that it may be difficult to imagine life without them. Even my two and a half year old daughter is used to surfing my smart phone. However, not so long back, typing was a matter of skill (people would boost of typing speed of 50-60) and typewriters were prevalent. I distinctly remember that we used to visit my dad's office to get a chance to type on his typewriter. Imagine a life with no spell checks, no chance for editing / deleting any character. You had to get-it first-time-right always. Alas, today probably no one manufactures them in India.
It would be difficult for a kid today to imagine television having only two colors – black and white. I distinctly remember that as a kid, my sister and I were overjoyed when the first black and white television made its appearance in our house, sometime in the mid-eighties. There was only 1 channel – DD 1, which means no scope of channel surfing (I remember how excited we were in Kolkata when DD 2, the second channel, started). I am not sure if kids would be interested in black-and-white cartoons today.
I was in my early teens when computer education was introduced in our school. All of us used to be in awe of the giant machine (in contrast to the sleek laptops we see today) with heavy black and white monitors. It was a proud moment for us to be able to tell friends and relatives – yes, I have seen and worked on a computer. In fact, even till the late nineties floppy disks used to a standard medium of data storage. College projects would be stored on them. And yes, they were unpredictable, so we would make two-three copies just to ensure that the work is not lost due to few corrupt disks.
I had a proud collection of hundred plus audio cassettes of Hindi, Bengali and English songs. During those days, CDs had just entered the Indian market but used to be exorbitantly high priced. Today CDs are common (and now DVDs and Blu Ray), not to miss the low-cost storage on pen drives/ hard drives etc.
Pagers had their brief glory in mid-nineties and was mainly used by professionals in sales and servicing. It could not become as popular as mobile phones and slowly died their natural death. But, in those days it was a matter of pride to own a pager.
This used to be extremely critical during those days when a cricket match would be on. If you had one, people would ask you about the score every hundred meters. Smart phones have made them obsolete, as we don't need a pocket radio to know the score.
Till there's a museum for such things, we could possible create a little story book with personal pictures or, sourced from the internet, unearthing these memories which we could cherish with our children even as our hairs grey. In the process, we could be creating new memories as parents.