Nutties, Nostalgia & Nineties: 10 Things We Miss About The Indian 90s
If we could go back and live through the simpler times! Every 90s kid would tell you how beautifully simple the era was. Unlike the fast-paced 21st century, the 90s were the right mix of everything. They had great toys, upbeat music, the best of snacks, and, most importantly, outdoor games. A 90s kid would, without doubt, argue that they had the best and real childhood before technology took over and completely ruined it. And guess what? They still miss their hard-earned cassettes and walkman. Wishing for the Golden times to come back, here are some things which would take you to a trip down the memory lane.
Luka-chhupi, Antakshari & The Games Of The 90s
The first thing which comes to mind when anyone hears about the 90s is the plethora of games. While the outside games were various, there was surely no shortage of indoor games. Outdoor games were reserved to be played with our friends.
Games like pitthu, unch-neech, cricket, corner-to-corner, stapu, pakadam-pakadai, and luka-chhupi (hide and seek) were some of the games the kids aced. Also, there was so much time to kill because there were no smartphones and laptops to keep everyone engaged. But the 90s surely had some memorable indoor games. Ludo, snakes and ladders, antakshari, carrom, chinese checkers, monopoly were a few games which we played indoors with our friends, family, and relatives.
Remember, during any festival when everyone got bored, and antakshari was the optimal solution to this boredom. The fast-paced life of the 21st-century had not allowed us to indulge in these games anymore. They remain just in the corner of our minds.
Shaktimaan, Son Pari & Doordarshan & the world of 90s TV soap operas
While our TV timings were always scheduled, we would have done anything for that one hour for watching our favorite shows during the weekdays. It opened a whole new world, and many of us would easily fantasize about the roles we admired from outside our box sets.
Remember Doordarshan (DD)? It was the go-to channel for the majority. Sunday mornings were fixed for us to watch the plethora of shows. Malgudi Days, Chandrakanta, Shaktimaan, Mahabharata, Shreemaan-Shreemati, Fauji (the same soap opera from which Shah Rukh Khan debuted), and many more are still evergreen for us. In the late 90s, other networks joined the television race, channels like Star Plus and Sony were the first amongst to challenge the foundation of our beloved DD. They produced shows like C.I.D., Shaka Laka Boom Boom (Who remembers those flaunt-worthy Shaka Laka Boom Boom pencils?), Sai Baba, Son Pari,, and the list is endless.
Tom & Jerry, Scooby-Doo, & Pokemon & the unending nostalgia of 90s childhood
While the soap operas were memorable, the cartoons were the love of our souls. Those cartoons were filled with wit, fun, adventure, and some great melodies.
Ask anyone from the 90s, and they will sing you the Pokemon melody, rhythm by rhythm. Apart from Pokemon, there were Tom and Jerry, Ritchie Rich (who used yearn for all the money that kid had?), Scooby-Doo (most of us still love the bromance of Shaggy and Scooby), Oswald, Noddy, and more which made our childhood more fun. Now, who wants to just go puddle in nostalgia?
Bade Bade Shehron Mein & the Iconic Drama of Indian Cinema
The 90s movies are an emotion for the people who lived in the era. The single screens went out of business and multiplexes took over. With them, many movies started releasing. Agneepath, Aashiqui, Hum Aapke Hain Koun; Dil Waale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge (“Jaa Simran Jaa, jee le apni Zindagi” will always make the hearts melt); Rageela; and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai were released and created history. And no matter how many times one watches these movies, they will always be excited to watch these movies again.
We were introduced to the Khan trinity during this era, and SRK was officially given the title of ‘King of Romance’. During this time, Indian cinema was dramatic at best and had no dull moments. This era was so iconic and adored that the fangirls (and boys) have not stopped fangirling ever since.
Made In India & the Era of 90s Music
The 90s saw a shift in the Indian music industry. With the emergence of Indian rock music and movies focussing on music like Aashiqui becoming a blockbuster, many songwriters and singers rose to stardom. The whole music scenario changed.
Although classical music and ghazals were growing continuously, the new genres of Indian Rock (Does the name Rock Machine ring any bell?) and Indipop took over. Alisha Chinai with her song Made In India stormed the music industry with a new genre of Indipop (Also, we were introduced to Milind Soman). With that, an offshoot of the version combined with bhangra, bhangra-pop emerged too.
With the production of cassettes (The collection was the pride but tape fixing was real messy.) and VHS tapes, later joined by music CDs (which was a novelty in those times.) music became a popular hobby. The growth was also since music grew on television too. Music channels like DD Metro and MTV (We were introduced to the legend Michael Jackson) and programs like Antakshari and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa helped a lot in popularizing music. The 90s were the most trendsetting era in the Indian music industry.
The 90s & the Comics Adventure
The 90s were not only the era of cool stuff but also some nerd stuff. The comics provided the ‘nerdgasm’ and satisfied the curious, adventurous minds until the next issue of the favorite comics were published. The adventures of Chacha Chaudhary and Sabu, the shenanigans of Archie, and heroics of Phantom kept everyone on their toes.
Apart from character-specific comics, some had stories in abundance. Champak and Tinkle were everyone’s favorites and were great travel partners. Adding to the list, Panchatantra, Amar Chitra Katha and Chandamama had a unique storytelling style which matched the skills of the grandparents. Each story had a moral and was captivating in every sense. It’s time to look out for the old comics which by now had turned into sepia-tint.
Parle G, G for Gustatory Pleasure of the 90s Snacks
The 90s memories are filled with sweet and sour candies and fruit juices. The sweet Phantom Cigarettes were helpful for the kids who wanted to look cool without smoking, and they were not even harmful to their health, well, except the teeth. Pan Pasand, Poppins, Kismi, Cadbury’s Nutties, Buddhi ke Baal (cotton candy) were prominent snacks of the era; and several other candies were worthy of inclusion, which gave at least one trip to the dentist.
Remember the times, when the parents used to stop the kids from spending money on chewing gum although, they still sneaked and ate? Cream rolls and cream sandwiches were the go-to snacks with Frooti in the mix. And what doesn’t refresh the minds like Rooh Afza? The summer memories are filled with chuski and Banta, while in the winters a cup of tea with Parle G was a ritual. And Hajmola was an all-season necessity after every meal. And that ritual is still a prominent one in many houses.
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Classroom Shenanigans, Cool Stationery & the Coolest Memories of the 90s
From school games to cool stationery, the 90s school life was filled with things that kept us busy from 8 AM to 2 PM. When the teacher changed classes during the intermission period of five minutes, the pens would come off the boxes only to be fought in the glorious battle dubbed as pen fight. The various games that were invented as classroom shenanigans had been passed down as a legacy.
Apart from pen fights, red hands, thumb fight, raja-mantri-chor-sipahi (king-minister-thief-soldier), and name-place-animal-things top the list of coolest classroom games. Aside from the games, the stationery made the 90s the coolest than any era. The colorful name stickers (Everyone got confused from which one to use.), the artist kits by camel (Those watercolors and sketch pens set the status quo high, it felt so special to have them.), geometry box (Freebies like stencil and gum made them special.), Camel gum (Remember the little plastic blue boxes?), and the ink pens which got replaced by the superior and hassle-free Reynolds ballpoint pens. No school life is complete without a school bag. Those big canvas bags were more sturdy and had more space than the branded bags of these days. Wish that we could have that all back!
Landlines, Cameras & Walkman
Remember talking to your friend for hours on the fat, adorable landlines until scolded? Those landlines were the only means of the fastest communication until the internet and smartphones were invented. And the color variant used to come only in dull colors of mahogany, black, dark blue, and off white color. The cord landlines were soon replaced by the cool cordless landline phones.
Although WhatsApp and texts are more convenient, they are no fun in comparison to good ole landlines. In the era of DSLR and SLR, it is a little difficult to imagine the generation where the reel camera was used.
The most famous throughout the 90s was the Yashica reel camera. One needed to be careful to use it as there were a limited number of pictures it could click at a time. So, there was mostly no space for candids. Sony’s Walkman was a boon to the music enthusiast, it was effortlessly carried as one didn’t need to care about creating noise as it came with a pair of headphones. One could easily listen to their favorite cassettes anywhere, anytime. An endless collection of cassettes made Walkman worth buying.
Barbie Sets, Brick Game & Toys of the 90s
Toys had always been an integral part of childhood, but the nineties were a little special. Owning the toys was a totally different experience for the kids. With cool Hot Wheels and G. I. Joe, and mini house set, brings back the sweet memories which are still priceless. Trump cards and Pokemon cards were other things that became very cool in a short amount of time. In the name of gaming consoles, the kids had the Brick Game. They were the hand-held gaming consoles that were played on throughout summer vacations. Also, remember the Barbie Sets? They were the guilty pleasure of everyone (yes, even boys). While the kids nowadays are dependent upon gadgets, the 90s kids had real fun.
Hope that this would have refreshed the memories! Now, you can really lookout to the storeroom for your treasured comics collection and re-read them in this quarantine again.
Edited by Annanya Chaturvedi