When I was in my pre-teens, a new hotel opened up in my hometown, Ludhiana. (There is a hotel at that place, even today. But, not the same one.) The biggest attraction for me in that new hotel was a lift, which had an outer glass wall over-looking the road. By the way, I had never been in a lift before.
At that time, we used to stay in a joint family. One of my cousins threw a tantrum to try out the lift. And along with our grandmother, packed in a small car, we kids took a ride to the hotel and had multiple joy rides in the magical lift, that took us up and down four floors, multiple times. It is an amazing anecdote for various reasons. One, my grandmother went to that three-star hotel without footwear. Most of the times, she was barefoot. And nobody stopped us from entering the hotel. We rarely used to go out for eating in restaurants, and it was perfectly normal. We kids didn't feel compelled to dine there or spend money in that hotel on anything else. I must tell you, kids get away with a lot of things.
When I look back at that eventful evening, I don't remember when I started taking for granted, technological marvels like these. In 2016, I was in Dubai, and I went up the lift in Burj Khalifa. It took about a minute to go up some freaking 100 plus floors. But I don't remember being as excited as I was in that four-storey hotel in Ludhiana.
Also, we dine out a lot more now. I don't think my 10 year old self would find that easy to digest. (no pun intended)
One of my uncles (my mother's eldest brother) - mamaji - used to stay in Patiala. Once we went there for a visit. There was something called an AC Market in Patiala, which we all wanted to see. Not because we wanted to shop there or there was a line-up of great brands, that we see today in most of the malls. We wanted to go there because, as the name suggests, it had centralised Air Conditioning, a rarity about 20 years ago, in small towns. And for us kids, it had a moving staircase - an escalator. Again something I witnessed there for the first time. And, totally freaked out riding them. It may now sound funny, but I find escalators pretty standard, boring and slow.
So let me list down some amazing things that my ten year old self would find miraculous today.
1. Home Delivery - When I moved to Mumbai in 2005, I was surprised with the range of things we can get home delivered, even alcohol. I think this is the pinnacle of our advancement as a civilization, considering we started off as hunter-gatherers. This doesn't only reflect our technology usage but also our enterprise and change in social structures. With apps, ruling the roost, in last 10 years, even Home Delivery has undergone a massive change. Now you don't even need to call.
2. Cash Less - Sometimes I don't use cash for days on stretch. Everything is either already paid for or you have cards. In fact, if you throw a stone around, there are chances you will hit a payment wallet instead of a leather one. When I was 10 years old, at that time also I didn't use cash for days on stretch. But that was because I didn't have any. Parents were my debit and credit cards rolled into one.
3. Entertainment - We are constantly hooked to a screen nowadays. The excitement of waiting for a Sunday to watch our favorite cartoon or Ramayana is long forgotten. This instant gratification is all pervasive. Not only in entertainment, but our smart phones have replaced most of the things, I used to do elsewhere as a 10 year old. I feel it most in terms of satiating my curiosity. We just search on google if we need an answer. I am sure people will have smaller memories 100 years from now. Evolution.
4. Multiplexes - I spend lot of my free time at movies. And my 10 year old self would not even recognize the way we watch movies now. Multiplexes have sanitized the movie watching experience over the years. Single screens have a nostalgic value for me. I still remember the tickets bought in black and time spent in queues. You can read more about my experiences with single screens here.
5. Gully Cricket - I heard they take few thousand bucks to play equivalent of Gully Cricket at indoor turfs these days. That is a sad state of affairs. We used to play for hours in our street. Friendships formed and characters were built. I wish such social spaces hadn't shrunk. And kids shouldn't be spending more time at tuition. Save the childhoods.
This list is endless. You can add more such items in the comments section.
But technology and innovation are not the only things bringing in change. Few things else do too.
When I was 10 years old, I never thought that my career would bring me to Chennai of all places in India. My 10 year old self would have never agreed to stay away from my mom ever. Lust of money is overpowering it seems.
I always wanted to be an academic (a scientist) and settle abroad as a kid. When I was 22, I was all set to achieve this goal. But then to woo someone special and due to my youthful stupidity (cocktail of raging hormones, recklessness and an immature love) I took up a sales job and my career path was set. Today, I have a satisfying career. But there are times, when I think, what my life would have been?
---My last year's challenge post from letter A was about being away from your roots. Read it here.
My theme for this year's #AtoZchallenge is all about writing stories, anecdotes and observations from my life in form of easy to read listicles. You can read the theme reveal post here.