Recently, during Life without computer my granddaughter (Annie Nayanika; we call her Nonee) asked me what toys I used and what kind of games I played during my childhood. That was an interesting question and my mind went back decades.
By and large the playthings were made from locally available materials. Country crafts and carts with wheels made from wood by native carpenters were the favorites. But only a few in the village could afford even those. Many used balls and other toys made from coconut fronds.
Balls were also made of dried latex strips from wild rubber trees which were common in the place. Sometimes the children played with dry odollum fruits, well aware that they were poisonous.
We were economically better off than the others in the village and used to get imported mechanical toys.
Most of the games we used to play did not require any special equipment. Being in a rural area there were so many other means of passing time as well. Fishing for one. Or canoing n the ponds and canals. Chasing butterflies. Catching dragonflies, tying a string to their tails and making them lift stones. And so on.
Nonee was fascinated with all these. When I told her that we had no electricity or telephone till I was about 25 years old, she could not believe it. What shocked her most was that people could live without TV.
How we got power connection is an interesting story. Two top officials of the Electricity Department (this was before Electricity Board was constituted) came home with an uncle. The elder children were introduced to them - first me, then my directly younger brother Mathew.
Uncle told the officials that Mathew was leaving for the
One of the officials immediately stated that it would be a shame to the country if Mathew had to tell the Americans that he came from a village which had no electricity. To cut a long story short, power was switched on in our house the night before Mathew was to leave.
Nonee was impressed. Then I exposed myself to a child’s logic by saying that even before electricity came, we had a radio powered by a car battery. Her immediate question was why we did not use the same method to watch TV. I explained to her that TV came to
Frankly, I cannot imagine how we managed without electricity till the late 1950s.