RK Rishikesh Sinha
India of 80s was probably the last peaceful India where people led a simple and sober lifestyle away from the rat-race of today. Your neighborhood was truly yours. Your nearby bazaar or shop was the extension of your life. The area in which you live was your extended family. That was the character of the time — life seemed to be so beautiful in its true meaning. People were happy in small things.
Having a black and white Weston or Tesla television set was a luxury. That was the time in which a passerby could enter anyone’s house to watch serials like Ramayana and Mahabharata. Chitrahaar, an 8.30 pm entertainment programme, was the one and only entertainment dose which seemed to be rationed to the mass (leaving the Sunday reserved for an oldie-goldie film).
Another aspect of that period; children feared death of a national leader since Doordarshan goes to the state of mourning. A house with a television set was easy to detect since the house had antenna.
Sunday was full of fun and frolic. It was the day to catch entertainment programmes in a nearby house and play to the fullest with your neighbourhood friends. Sunday was not less entertaining than any festival. Children spent rest of the week talking about their activities with their friends.
It was very common to find kerosene stoves in homes. It was the same period when kerosene stoves were being replaced by LPG Gas connection.
The Richest had car and telephone
It was easy to recognize richest persons; they had Maruti car and telephone connections. Less rich person had Chetak Bajaj scooter or Rajdut motorcycle. To possess a telephone was the hallmark of power. The telephone was neatly covered and used to occupy a special place in a house.
Still the impact of Mithun Chakraborty in the 80s could be gauged today. Movies like Gangs of Wasseypur starred by Manoj Bajpayee carry the time and impression that Mithun had in that period. He was a hero and icon to imitate. It was the Disco period led by Mithun Chakraborty. The same period brought heartthrob Madhuri Dixit with her song ek, do, teen, char….
Besides television set, it was the period of VCDs, VCRs, PHILIPS taperecoder, radio, and camera. There were video parlours that stocked movies in ones locality. There was another gadget for music lovers — Sony’s Walkman.
Period of re-discovery
It seems awkward today that movies like Sholay (released in 1975) and Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon (1971) were a topic of discussion on entertainment. Praise the technology that rediscovered the old stuff and brought it to homes.
Discussion on money never entered into camaraderie. People abstain talking about money matters. A person was not judged with his bank balance but with his character.
It was the last decade where people enjoyed true freedom of movement. Civilian localites without any type of questioning enter nearby defence establishments. They were seen watching even late night movies in the cinema halls that were under defence area. Today it is impossible. There is a fear environment with gun-trotting soldiers in the gates everywhere across the country.