Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


I grew up in a time when things, by which I mean life, wasn't as convenient, fast, high-tech and crazy as today. It was more like sedate, slow and hard but to compensate for all that, it was beautiful. It was nice. Everything had it's own pace, and we moved along enjoying life and the simple pleasures it brought.

When I was a kid, I enjoyed, played with and got to know the world around me. The games we played were real - be it a backyard game of cricket, a simple hide-and-seek or kite flying when it was the season. They were fun, challenging and taught us a thing or two about life. Backyard cricket isn't as easy as you'd think; to not shatter neighbor's windows which is essential in ensuring future cricket, rules had to be imposed saying anyone who hits it to a wall on either side of the wicket will be out. Even when playing on the road it was the same; on one side there was the river and on the other there were bushes - hit it straight or be gone was the order of the day. We became so good at hitting it straight, our straight drives would have put Sachin Tendulkar into shame. It was challenging yet fun. So was hide-and-seek though it wasn't the normal hide-and-seek you'd think of. The unfortunate souls who get caught will be tied to the nearest tree, and will have to remain be tied until a team-mate comes to the rescue. Often, though, when we were called back for lunch or tea, we'd go back leaving the tied be tied - intentionally or just because we forgot. Yet screaming for help was no option since our pride was at stake - sometimes we'd stay tied for hours trying to cut ourselves loose. If you managed that, you get the hero status and something to boast about for the whole eternity. Which is about two weeks. Otherwise, usually the mother of the one who's tied will come untie him while cursing us, and a good old ass whipping for the poor dude will follow making the whole thing hilarious. Kite flying was fun too; the whole process of making one is an art of it's own and you had to know little tips and whatnot to be a master of the art. But finishing one, making it fly, keeping it there, it was all wonderful memories. We knew the world around us; we had time, we had space. Wonder how many kids today know how to fly one let alone make. Forget kites, many fifteen year olds today don't know how to hold a bat and the only places that remain today the kids can play hide-and-seek are the two bedrooms in their houses.

Then, when we were a bit older, still the world was different. Cell phones were only heard of - even home phones were the exception, not the norm. Telephone was expensive and it was for emergency, not for casual chit chat. It was funny that you had to wait until there were certain number of applicants in an area to get a land line even. Otherwise it was too costly for SLT to provide a phone connection. So it wasn't easy, but we were still... OK. No last minute cancellations of appointments - if you said you would come, you would come. Only the 'important' people owned a cell-phone, for which the popular term was Celltell, and as kids or young ones you were not trusted to even touch them. Rich and poshy uncles and aunts would flash their half a kilo bricks in parties and family gatherings showing off their 'class'. We would watch in awe. It was also a good time to have a girlfriend; you didn't have a few thousands of rupees worth monthly mobile bill to worry of, no late night texting, and you'd have to wait with patience to see your princess the next week. Inconvenient, but romantic. Anticipation is a wonderful thing.

We weren't caught up in the rat race that is education. Until I finished my Ordinary Levels, I only attended two tuition classes and that too was not because it was necessary - just for fun, rather. School education was quite enough and that left us with ample time to sit back and enjoy our lives. To do other things - hang out with friends, play, go fishing or go after a chick you fancy. Moms didn't want us to get better grades than our neighbor's son, when we were still in grade five. Saturdays and Sundays were actually free, believe it or not. School holidays were that; holidays. As opposed to 9 to 5 tuition classes you have on holidays today. Sad, what it has come to.

Everything wasn't at your fingertips as today, but it was OK. Information was hard to come by, so it made whatever you get worth it. If you wanted to know Vivian Richards' Test average, you had to look for it. Maybe in old newspapers, sports magazines or as a last resort you could consult the next door neighbor cricket crazy uncle. He will most probably tell you the stat, but along with dozen stories like how he listened to it on the radio when Sobers made that epic 365. If you wanted to know the meaning of scaturient, acromonogrammatic, necromorphous, dolichofacial or unguinous, you had to look it up a dictionary. Or an encyclopedia which consisted of about forty volumes that weigh 72 kilograms in total, which could only be found in a library. Learning was slow, but you remembered what you learnt. Mail were actually something you sent using postal services and you needed stamps. You had to go to the theatre, or to the nearest video rental shop to rent a VHS if you wanted to watch a movie. And you had to rewind it to the beginning too, before watching. Being pals with the dude in the best video rental shop in town came with many advantages. You are the dude friends come to, then, when they want to know about the latest movie released four months ago. Music was something you listened to on radio, and you had a collection of only the favorite songs recorded on cassette tapes, each of which had 16 songs maximum. Friends were people actually you knew, and 'poking' every one of them would come with serious consequences. We learned to appreciate what we had. In short, life wasn't easy but it was wonderful, relaxing and..... humane.

And then came computers.



  1. Your post hurt in a ..."how awful that the past is over" kind of way...everything is just so rushed in the present way of the world,and you are so right-we are seriously missing out on relishing life...and sometimes, I'm really worried my kids living in this crazily hi-tech,pampered,hectic city, never will know that one can chill by doing simply nothing and still feel completely at peace and happy...sigh!Nice post!



  2. I did not mean to add so many Indy's at the end...lol!

  3. brings back a lot of memories. Hawasata Tin kaduwe nedda?

  4. wow.. this post is so nice... i guess you had a wonderful childhood...i liked the hide and seek part.. really funny :D.. oh,only two classes for O/L??, i attended five tuition classes for my ordinary level.. poor me:(
    i wish i could born with you.. LOL :)


  5. awesome post, did you ever play that variation of hide and seek where you had to leave a tin full of rocks and go looking for the others, n if they came n rang the tin you were fucked.

    also i hate these kids - boys - in sl who cant play cricket. ffs you are sri lankan dont embarrass me.

    ps- the rise of the machines isnt too far away man..all this will be a distant memory then

  6. @Indy
    Uh... sorry didn't mean to hurt you, or anybody else, but I hear you! Sometimes we get caught up in the things so much we actually forget to life our lives.

    @Crystal Flame
    Ha! That I forgot! Yeah, we did all those things... and some more.

    Thanks! Well yeah, I didn't have a childhood having everything a child would dream of, but sure as hell I did have a wonderful one. It was rich with other things, experiencecs, what not. I sure did enjoyed it.

    Thanks bro. Yeah, that hide-and-seek too, and so much more. But don't tell me that you meant it literraly when you said "you were fucked". ;)
    By the way, I too agree about pansy kids these day - I still am the best when I play cricket with all my younger cousins and such, and that says a lot!

  7. I must disagree.

    Computers or no computers, kids will always be kids,
    and they will find someway of having fun.
    I am sure that kids nowadays are enjoying their lives as much as we did.
    It is only the fact that we just can't understand HOW.

    Our grandfathers didn't have the radio,
    and they must have thought that our fathers lives got easier because of the radio.
    Our parents didn't have the TV while growing up,
    and would have thought that the TV would rob our childhoods from us.
    Aren't we doing the same?

    Not only technology, I guess it goes for everything else.
    Although we didn't go to tuition classes,
    I think ours were special cases rather than being the norm of our generation.
    I was the only kid who didn't go to a single tuition class during O Levels.
    But everyone else in my class went to at least one.
    In contrast, our parents didn't go to a tuition class even for the ALs.

    Allow me to quote Stephen King from his novel, Bag of Bones.

    a summer afternoon in the year of . . . 1898? Perhaps 1902? 1907?
    Doesn't matter. This is a period when all time seems the same, as if time had stopped.
    This is a time the old-timers remember as a kind of golden age.
    It is the Land of Ago, the Kingdom of When-I-Was-a-Boy.
    The sun washes everything with the fine gold light of endless late July;
    the lake is as blue as a dream, netted with a billion sparks of reflected light.
    And The Street! It is as smoothly grassed as a lawn and as broad as a boulevard.


  8. Solomon, good to have you back after... err... well, say a long time.

    Perhaps the last line prompted you to write this all?

    Anyway, my point wasn't exactly that computers took away fun from kids these days, because for all you know 'fun' too is relative. I bet for someone who was born deaf, a silent world is perfectly normal. Hope you get the point. So what I was trying to say is that, sometimes I just feel that maybe the old ways were... beautiful? I almost typed 'better', but thought better of it. Yes the kids love their computer games, blu-rays and iPods. This is entirely subjective, and so I just am missing the old ways - sometimes. In this generation's eyes it's not important to get to know the world around them as much as we did, but in my eyes, I think it's a must. Again, subjective.

    Completely agree about going around in cycles. When I was a teenager I almost always laughed about my dad's and other old fellas' constant reminders of the 'good old days'. Perhaps now it's my turn.

  9. Good to be back.

    Not only the last line. Actually since I spent my first 20 years without owning a computer, I can say that the last line may have a point. But who knows! Post hoc ergo propter hoc?

    It is just that I am not sure if today's teenagers really do not know how to hold a bat.
    Also, I am not sure if we weren't really caught up in the rat race called education. I believe that this rat race kinda started with our generation. We had 5 year scholarship , O Level and A Level classes. Maybe not as much as now, but I know there were some tuition classes back in the late 1980s. There was criticism about the year 5 scholarship exam being too competitive than a 10 year old could handle, even when I was sitting for it(was it 1995? I seem to forget).

    Anyway, I can agree with the fact that we had fun during our childhoods. Just wanted to point out that the kids these days may be having fun in their own way. Who knows, while we were playing cricket at the age of 13, oblivious of the fact that there are a species called females in this world, 13 year olds these days are happily having sex.


  10. Perhaps, perhaps. I too spent about 24 without owning one, and I did't die.

    Oh and trust me, a LOT of teenagers today don't know how to hold a bat, at least compared to 'those' days. By all means, well not so, in my eyes, many of them are pansies. As I see it, they've spent too much time in front of computers they are not good with... being practical with the world, let's say. But again, that doesn't mean they don't have fun.

    I'm sure I wasn't caught up in that much of a rat race, at least until I was in the A/L class. But even then I had a nice and relaxing time compared to today though I admit it had something to do with two understanding parents as well.

    LOL about 13 year old's sex. Perhaps, yes. But then there are 14 year old mothers, who, along with their child are fed by their parents. Pity.

  11. Lovely post man... I agree that the more we get used to computers, the more 'virtual' our life's going to become, and this isn't really healthy, at least from a physical point of view...

  12. So what are you, Chavie? One of them or one of us?

  13. I'm a hybrid. When I was little we didn't have computers and stuff, so all the neighbourhood kids and I played cricket, made treehouses (on the ground though, none of the trees around here are suitable for a treehouse sadly) and flew kites. Then when I was around 14 - 15, things began changing and I've lost contact with the neighbourhood kids now. But whenever the cousins meetup we play our game of cricket from dawn till long after the sun goes down and it's too dark to see the ball! lol :D

  14. lovely post Sach - took me back to my own childhood and playing cricket with my father on my term-breaks from boarding school - how time flies...

  15. We only remember the nice stuff from the past. My kids are better off than I was. My life is much better than my mother's and grandmother's. My kids don't play like I did but they are more confident and better informed than I was. They do love TV and the computer. Confess Sach you enjoy internet and mobiles and TV as much as any kid of today. BTV we are going out for Japanese food tonight with some Japanese academics.

  16. Messy Mama, the following sentence of yours just about sums up my whole post.

    My kids don't play like I did but they are more confident and better informed than I was.

    Indeed! That's exactly what I wanted to say; they have everything at their fingertips yet their ways of experiencing the world is different from mine. I wasn't going to say today isn't better than yesterday, just that it's different. I wasn't implying we should get rid of all mobiles and internet and computers and go back to stone age. Not at all, we are too much attached to them to get rid of them, and they are useful too; for instance I wouldn't be talking about the past like this if it wasn't for internet in the first place! So yeah, they all are pretty much essentials today, but all the same I do miss the old ways of life when it was more sedate. And I'd be surprised if you say that most of us are not caught up in this educational and corporate rat race today. Most of us are so much caught up in it, we forget what it is actaully to live, to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. That's what I wanted to say.

    And if I am to confess, it'll go like this; yes I do enjoy internet, I don't enjoy mobile but it is useful, and I can totally live without TV, no problem.

    Oh and do enjoy your dinner, I'm sure it's gonna be wonderful. Try some Tuna Sashimi if it's there - that's my favorite. Some Gyosa wouldn't hurt either.

  17. You said it bro, “Anticipation is a wonderful thing.” Amen to that!

    Well, mangoes never came in sili-sili bags, they came down with a throw of a rock or a stick. And of course we could run better than today’s kids, thanks to the said mango tree being in someone else’s garden.

    Life was beautiful then.

  18. LOL at the mango tree thing! And "thambili" plucked from someone else' garden always tastes better no?

  19. We loved the Sashimi including my younger daughter who hates cooked fish. The tuna was the favourite with the Japanese.
    Ok I confess... I feel sorry for my kids having to study so much.

  20. niceeeee...kinda jelous because i got to experience half of it...before as Chavie says we were swallowed buy the new age...:(..but brings back memories of chin-choru-bath and eating sticky waraka...lol...with koholla-stained hands!!!:D

  21. @Messy Mama
    Glad you enjoyed it!

    @Penny Says
    Argh, you reminded me of Waraka!