Childhood Memories of the '80s and '90s India

Childhood in India
This article is completely dedicated to those who have childhood memories of 80s and 90s just like me.

School and Games- School time was superb with friends, studies wasn’t the first priority at all! However, we studied together and got appreciated together with friends but punished as well if any of our friend scored higher than us! We weren't forced with tons of books and bunches of syllabus, as we hardly had 6 subjects till 6th grade. Today we have 6 subjects in Kindergarten!

Studies used to emerge only one month before the exams and we had only 2 exams in a year! No unit tests or projects harmed our life! Education was at its best during that time, which allowed children to spend some dedicated time on studies and rest all the time in playing and exploring the childhood. Not as today, where kids have no option rather than spending all the time on studies and break time with mobile and games.

Childhood in IndiaWe never wasted our time on video games, iPad, smart phones etc., They never existed in that epoch and frankly, we do not regret that because playing street childhood games like 

  • Kanche (Marbles), 
  • Bhawnra, 
  • Langdi, 
  • Kho Kho etc., 

was more overwhelming than sitting at one place and staring small piece of technology to play.

We never collected the Pokemon, Benten or other stickers or photos. We used to collect the photos of movie stars of that period and played photo-games with friends. We collected stamps and old coins which don't exist today.

Childhood Holidays were spent at granny’s place with extreme pampering by Nani (Maternal Grand ma) and strict rules of Mamas(Maternal uncles). Eating mangoes and getting daily dose of scolding by elders for our mischief was the only target in holidays.

Swimming in wells, lakes and rivers were happiest moments than today’s club house swimming pool classes. Climbing the trees to steal mangoes from gardens and running before the Maali (caretaker of the garden) was biggest adventure. We never had summer classes or summer camps! Holidays were strictly meant for playing and getting tan under the sun!!

Our parents never bought us brand new bicycles even after begging hundreds of times, we used waste tires of bicycles and ran along with it by hitting it with a stick. And if we wanted bicycle ride, we rented it.

Childhood in IndiaWe played for hours in mud and ate food without washing our hands we never surrendered to any antibacterial soap! We never had option of bottled water! We drunk water from running tap or bore-well and wells and never fell sick. Immunity wasn’t based on any Chawanprash or health drinks or supplements!

Our doors were never closed, they were open till night! Today buildings are bigger but houses are smaller with closed doors! We hardly know about our neighbours. We are scared of everything ranging from germs to terrorists!

Technology - It was an era when the television and telephone were the only new technology for millions of people. If anybody had any of the above, that person and his family was treated like VIP in the locality. The whole area had only one telephone number and one television. Phones rang more for the neighbours than the people present in the house.

Later materialized the refrigerator in rich homes of the locality! Those refrigerators preserved all the Childhood in Indiavarieties of food items from entire colony except its owner! For us fridge was best time pass to observe when the light gets off while closing it! We always check on light inside the fridge by opening and closing its door to until we get scolding from elders of the house!

Tape recorder was another best thing to listen music after radio in childhood. We used to download the songs by recording cassettes! It was our task to record funny talks after listening to the songs. At times, we wasted good cassettes by recording our voice! Winding the cassette reel with pencil was an important job!

Tv Shows in India in 80s and 90s
Ramayan’ and ‘Mahabharat’ were the epic TV serials which created the record of highest TRP till today in the entire Asia. Many people bought televisions only for these two serials. Every Sunday tornado of people rushed out of the houses which had televisions, those houses resembled as a mini theater during telecast of these epic serials, cricket match and Chitrahaar (music number show). 

Until late 90s, all we had was one channel, DD National and one more channel Metro for limited time. In the name of cartoon we had only few options, on Sundays ‘He-man’, ‘The Jungle Book’. In 90’s Disney hour daily with two shows ‘Duck tales’ and ‘Tales Spin’.

Popular detective show Karamchand played by Pankaj kapur, who solved cases by eating carrots. Byomkesh Bakshi was another well-liked detective show, later came Tehkikaat by Vijay Anand was mesmerizing!

Some shows took the heart away of every Indian like – 

  • Malgudi Days, 
  • Nukkad, 
  • Dekh bhai Dekh, 
  • Mr.Yogi, 
  • Fauji, 
  • Wagle ki Duniya, 
  • Yeh jo hai Zindagi etc., 

Television anthems like DD National's ‘Mile sur mera tumhara’ song and ‘Light of Freedom’ clipping were heart warming. Best thing for kids was a cartoon song ‘Ek chidiya’ based on unity (still mesmerise me), we loved it because we hardly had any options of cartoons those days.

There was no funda of commercial breaks, ads used to run for 10 minutes before commencing the show.

The best commercials were -
  • ‘Hum bas itna chahtein hain ki aap baratiyon ka swagat Pan parag se kijiye!’ Pan parag ad
  • 'Nirma...Nirma...'
  • ‘Raju tumhare daant to motiyon jaise chamak rahe hain’ Dabur lal dant manjan ad,
  • ‘Jab main chota baccha tha…’ Bajaj lights ad,
  • Lijjat Papad- the rabbits
  • Vicks ki goli
  • ‘Bhai Sahaab…’ addressing by lady in an ad of Surf excel,
  • I am a Complan boy and girl’ (Shahid Kapur and Ayisha Takia played the Complan boy and girl that time),
  • Kuch khaas hai…Cadbury chocolate ad,
  • Humara Bajaj of Bajaj two wheelers
  • Jalebi ad of Dhaara
  • Fevicol ka jodh hai tootega nahi Fevicol ad
  • Onida television ad, its green monster still bear in mind!
Famous TV Ads of 80s and 90s

There were countless wonderful ads which not only sold the products but touched the hearts of people, so that they are remembered even after 30 years. Today we hardly remember any ads or products. We even forget what we are actually watching in the commercial break!

In 90s cable connection introduced with Zee TV, loved the shows like 

  • Antakshari 
  • Hum Paanch. 

Today we have around 300+ channels and hardly have anything good to watch!

It was the age of music evolution as well! In south AR Rehman stepped his banging numbers and in North especially from Punjab the farmers stopped family tradition of farming and created history with super hit music albums with the popular 90s Indian pop songs by 

  • Gurdas Maan, 
  • Sunita Rao
  • Shweta Shetty’s
  • Ila Arun
  • Sukhbir, 
  • Daler Mehndi etc., 
  • Pankaj Udhaas 

Pankaj Udhaas, explored new way of displaying his Gazals. Apart from all men the most loved woman Alisha became popular overnight with her song ‘Made in India’ and made ways for Sunita Rao’s Pari hoon main, Shweta Shetty’s Khidki pe, Ila Arun’s Ghumyo etc.,

Apart from all Desi shows we also had option to watch Hindi dubbed English 90s Indian TV shows- 

  • Small wonder, 
  • Bewitched, 
  • Gennie in the bottle. 
Small Wonder TV Shows in 90s

Music went loud when Britney Spears ‘Oh Baby’, Blue- One love , Back street boys and Ricky Martin songs made their appearance on television in late 90s.

However, after all these options our television timing was limited for just an hour or two and play time was unlimited.

I call all above true childhood happiness. Although, some part of it is still taking breath in small towns and villages, but it’s completely vanished in big towns.

I proudly say that we are the last generation of spending the childhood naturally without getting affected by technology. We can operate all the new gen technology and have the memory of wonderful childhood days.

If I missed something that you have in your mind then please do share.

Post a Comment


  1. Truly, What were those days? Our Kids will never know that fun. Yes ofcourse the definition of child fun has changed over the last 10 years

  2. This really intrigued me, because it's not every day that you get an intimate glimpse at life in another hemisphere.

  3. Very beautiful article, I enjoyed reading this.

  4. borrowing old books at half of the price from the seniors in the month of December after annual exam was an important job.Unlike present day book list and even purchasing dictionary ..every year.

  5. Yes its really awesome days of those childhood days.that wll never come again.and our children are not supposed to enjoy like never forget those days


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