The older you get the more memories you gather, but the things which you have grown up with, hold a very special place in your heart. Recall Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement speech, he left cricket lovers of my generation teary-eyed in a way no other player of the game ever will. For us, the master blaster defined cricket, even though we are sure there will be players building upon this legacy. That is the power of nostalgia.

For people who were born before the turn of the millennium, life was different. If you are a Rahul who was growing up then, you have definitely been told “Rahul ho gaya, paani chala jayega.”

 How life has Changed

We are a generation who had to remove our shoes while entering the school’s computer lab and shared personal computers and now our handheld devices are an extension of our selves.  

 Sportstars we loved

We remember the rivalry between Steffi Graf and Monica Seles and spent many afternoons and evenings expressing our anger and discussing what would have happened had Seles been not stabbed on-court that fateful day. We didn’t know then that in our lifetimes, we will see how powerful hashtags can be and how they can unite people across geographies and create a worldwide movement.

 That spat during the World Cup game between Aamir Sohail and Venkatesh Prasad is etched in our memories. And we can never forget Sourav Ganguly taking off his jersey at Lord’s balcony after the NatWest win.

We didn’t know then that in our lifetimes, we will see how powerful hashtags can be and how they can unite people across geographies and create a worldwide movement.

 At Birthday Parties

We played WWF trump cards and never shared our Phantom Cigarettes. We distributed Mango Bite to our classmates on birthday and Uncle Chips and Rasna was always part of our birthday party meals.  

 We Read

We borrowed physical books from the libraries and had annual subscriptions of Chandamama. We borrowed Hardy Boys, Junior Highs, Chicken Soup For the Soul, Ruskin Bond and Roald Dahl. As sophomores when we read The DaVinci Code, many of us considered symbology was a cool career option. For a long time, our favourite twins were the detectives Thompson and Thomson, we were yet to meet Fred and George Weasley.

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 We Watched

We have watched umpteen reruns of Home Alone, Jurassic Park and Titanic. Notting Hill remains the best romantic movie we have ever watched. A lot of us would have given an arm and leg to go visit The Travel Book Company and meet the handsome William Thacker in this quaint little London neighbourhood. Alas, international holidays with family was still not a trend then.

Cartoon shows were aired only on Sunday mornings till cable TV walked into our lives and offered us Cartoon Network. Sitcoms were a weekly phenomenon for us, and F.R.I.E.N.D.S taught us how hanging out at cafes is cool.

 Bollywood for us

We celebrated Bollywood by having dedicated fanclubs for Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan and secretly cheered when the other’s movie bombed at the box office. Dil Chahta Hai stood as the benchmark for friendship and when in love everyone wanted to be Raj and Simran.

We collected audio cassettes and CDs and took pride in our libraries. We also welcomed Saavn with open arms.

A lot of us would have given an arm and leg to go visit The Travel Book Company and meet the handsome William Thacker in this quaint little London neighbourhood. Alas, international holidays with family was still not a trend then.

 Love for us

We collected posters, stickers and postcards of our favourite stars, secretly maintained a diary and asked our friends to fill our slam books. Love was defined by the big heart on the door of Archies Gallery just before Valentine’s Day. We crushed on classmates and gave them “blank calls” on landline phones. To talk about sex was a taboo, live-ins were not discussed.

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 Gourmet was not part of our vocabulary

We went to India Gate for ice-creams post dinners. The Hot Chocolate Fudge at Nirula’s is what we loved till Aloo Tikki Burger took over our fancy.

Rajiv Chowk came up in front of our eyes, and Select City Mall took away the glory from PVR Saket. We remember how Y2K never did any damages to our computers and recently taught our parents how to use WhatsApp. We were all glued to our television sets on September 9, 2001, watching the twin towers collapse, even though a lot of us didn’t understand then how intrinsically it will change our lives forever. We are a generation which understands the damages we have caused to our environment and probably the last one to be able to do something about it. So let us be conscious of our privileges and use them in making this world a better place.

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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