. By T.V. Antony Raj
We were born in 1940s. Most of us were born at home.
Some of my friends and relatives are still alive and kicking.
As babies, our mothers fed us at any time of the day, and when we cried.
We slept not in cribs, but with our mothers on hard beds or on mats spread over the floor.
When we fell ill, the doctor gave us aspirin tablets for fever. Our mothers powdered the tablets added honey and forced us to swallow the bitter-sweet mixture.
We never got checked for any allergies.
There were no locks on doors except the front door; and no locks on cupboards.
We did not have plastic containers since plastic was not invented then, but we had celluloid containers.
There were no child-proof lids on medicine containers.
When we were little children we rode in cars that had no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags.
We rode on rickshaw pulled by a human.
When we grew up and rode our bicycles, we had no helmets to protect our heads.
We had fun drinking water directly from the garden hose.
We shared a single soft drink bottle with several friends, without anyone dying.
We added brown sugar when we drank tea or coffee.
We ate white bread with real butter and natural fruity jam.
We ate lots of chocolates. Even so, no one said that we were overweight.
We played a lot outside in the sun and never applied sunscreen lotions or creams.
On holidays, we played all day. We returned home only after the gas lamps on the streets were lit.
No one could reach us or bother us because there were no mobile phones. Even so, we were all right.
We had the following coins in circulation:
1 pie = 1/12 Anna = 1/192 Rupee
1 pice = 1/4 Anna = 1/64 Rupee (in Tamil we called this coin ஓட்டைக் காலணா / oattai kalana meaning 1/4 Anna with a hole.)
1/2 Anna = 1/32 Rupee
1 Anna = 1/16 rupee
2 Annas = 1/8 rupee
4 Annas = 1/4 rupee
8 Annas = 1/2 Rupee
These were a lot of money at that time.
Telephones were rare and mounted on the wall or placed on desks, they were not mobile. One stood in one spot to talk since an electrical cord connected the phone to the receiver.
We never heard of computers? Since there were no calculating instruments, the word computer was not coined at that time. My first calculating instrument was a Faber-Castell slide rule bought in 1967.
Now, young people ask my wife and me: “How do you still manage to stay together for 48 years?”
Our reply: “We were born in a time when if something broke we would fix it, not throw it away.”