365 Day Journaling — Day #196 — Childhood Television
And the shows we used to watch…
Growing up, we didn't have as many channels as there are today. There was no Netflix or any other streaming services. Even computers and the internet had not penetrated into our homes.
For many years we just had one single national channel. The programming was fixed. We had our favourite shows and other activities were adjusted around that. Like on Wednesday nights, there was a musical show where all the new songs were shown. That was a must at our home. Saturday a movie was shown and we would read the newspaper just to see which movie is going to be telecasted that week.
Sundays were for kids. We had cartoons like Tale Spin. Then there was a live-action superhero show called Shaktiman. Anyone growing up in the 90s in India must have watched this show. It became so popular that many kids started imitating what they saw on the show. The show producers took this responsibility seriously and updated their content. They also added segments to teach good values to kids at an impressionable age. This was very thoughtful and today I am realizing how big a thing it was. Realising that your voice is heard by every kid in the country, it is important to check the message you are transmitting.
There was another sci-fi show called Captain Vyom. It was the first time we were able to see really cool graphics on our old CRT television. The costumes, dialogues and storyline were way ahead of its time (at least in India).
Then after a few years, as I was in my later half of school years, more channels were introduced. I remember that the two channels were showing cartoons every evening from 5 PM to 6 PM. This just meant that we had to finish our homework before that in order to watch the cartoons.
By now my brother also had his likes and dislikes and he was very vocal about those. Somehow, we never had a similar taste back then. If I wanted to watch cartoons on one channel, he would want to watch the other channels. My parents were tired of sorting out daily fights. They could not understand why were we fighting since we both were still watching cartoons. For them, every animated show was the same.
Ultimately, my parents managed to negotiate a peace treaty between us and we agreed to watch shows we both liked (or learnt to like). These were mostly X-Man, Spiderman, Robocop, Ducktales mostly. Occasionally it would convert to Dexter’s laboratory or even Power Puff Girls.
As I was in the last two years of school, even more, channels were introduced and this time Cartoon Network finally reached our hometown. My brother instantly got hooked to Pokemon. But by this time, I was more interested in live-action shows. I never really grew out of animation phase but I was still choosy about the shows I watched. I hated shows like Shin Shan. There were some Australian live-action shows like ‘Noah and Saskia’ and ‘Sleepover club’ which became my new favourites.
After finishing school and then undergrad and post-grad college and finally starting jobs, I got another chance to live with my brother for a few years. This time, we were actively searching for our childhood shows online and watching them together. Our parents would have been really relieved seeing us being so civilised while watching cartoons and not chasing each other all over the house like we used to.
But these shows and characters and the time spent with my little brother were really special for me. Looking back I just feel nostalgic and realise how much happiness waiting for a show to start used to bring us. Now, we are running behind happiness not realizing that happiness is hidden away in little things we simply overlook.