I’ve taken up Itchy’s tag and am taking a totally self indulgent trip down memory lane. The seventies were a special decade in terms of world events and things happening in India …. but there are way too many things, so I cant keep it down to just 7 things …
1 The outer world : War in Bangladesh … can clearly remember the blackouts and the sirens; The nuclear blast at Pokhran – we felt so proud and powerful!! The assasination of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the frantic pleas that preceeded that ghastly event, I can also remember our school taking us to another school to watch the “Man Landing on the Moon” film clip and showing us a glass jar in which moon-dust was displayed … I was such a small kid then. The assasination of Mujibur Rehman, the first President of Bangladesh …. so many memories
2. Music & Movies : Beatles of course …. and more Beatles with a bit of Don Mclean and Neil Diamond thrown in. If you really wanted to impress people that you were hip, then you listened to Leonard Cohen. By the late seventies we got introduced to Simon-Garfunkel, Clapton, Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd and the likes – and have still got the taste for that. Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar were the music in those times, Rajesh Khanna was on the wane and Amitabh Bacchan was on the rise …, Mumtaz and Sharmila Tagore were okay … but Praveen Babi and Zeenat Aman were the babes. Could not watch a lot of English movies – I was allowed to go watch them only with my brother – and only got to see the Trinity movies or Westerns sigh!!!
3. Inner Life We were bullshitters par excellence in those days and pondered a lot on the meaning of life. “Get out of the rat race, expand your conciousness and tune in to the universe” was the mantra. The world was full of young people seeking alternatives to simple material gain … and a lot of those alternatives being marijuana and hash !!! It was really the time of rebellion and rejection of establishment and money was such a dirty word heh! Ahhh never mind, the parents insisted that we get a good education and a whole lot of us are gainfully employed and responsible citizens now. The hippie in me really surfaces when I listen to this song “While my guitar gently weeps”
4. Clothes Outasize kurtas clinched on the waist with huge belts, jeans, kohlapuri chappals and a jhola was the uniform of the era, shoulder length hair that was combed under pressure of elders and then carefully mussed up, preferably under a fan to achieve the proper look!! Lipstick was not acceptable … and if used, it had to be brown.
5. Phoren meant phoren …. there it was – perfumes, creams, shimmery fabrics, good chocolates and even chicklets were impossible to get for any amount of money, which made the clear social distinction between the phoren-returned and other desis. Those that had gone abroad or had close relatives coming in from abroad looked down upon the others …..
6. T.V. While we were doing our thing and rebelling, the world around us kept taking quiet conventional revolutions. That is until TV became a big thing – from the yesteryears 3 hours in the evening and Krishi Darshan types, more entertainment was telecast like HUM LOG and then gasp Lalitaji hit the TV screen without any warning … I wonder if any one remembers her and the hugely popular serial Rajni? I was fascinated – being the hippie no longer held any appeal – I wanted to be Rajni or Lalitaji taking the world by its collar and demanding that I be given quality service.
That marked for me the end of youth and the beginning of adult life ……..