Recently, my five-year-old pointed at a picture of a rotary dial telephone and asked me what it was. It got me thinking about the things that appeared in my lifetime, became ubiquitous and then disappeared. So here is a list that is in no way definitive, but just fun to put together.
The telephone: In the 80s, getting a telephone in India was a major project. You applied for one and waited till hell froze over. I remember staying in a rented house where the owners had a telephone installed. But it was locked. In those days, once you got a telephone, you never let go.
The floppy disk: I remember walking into college with two five-and-quarter floppy disks. In those days, that was all you needed. One disk for your operating system, spreadsheet software, BASIC and dBase. The second floppy to store your files on.
Colored shoe laces: These things were the rage when I was in school. Thankfully the style never came back.
Game and Watches: For those who don’t know, this was where Nintendo started. All of us had one and then they were nowhere to be seen. Titles like Turtle’s Bridge and Mario Bros, were total timepass games.
Jhankaar Beats: A trend in the 90s. Every Hindi movie OST would also have a Jhankaar Beats version. I never understood it then, and I was glad when it disappeared.
Doordarshan’s Metro channel: Long before the advent of cable television, the Metro channel was the big thing. It had, arguably, better programming that the mother channel. The start-up tune of DD still gives me pleasant feelings.
Then there are the things that were part and parcel of life well before I was born but died out in my time, like the post box (do you know where your nearest post box is?), the Ambassador and Fiat cars.
Life goes on.