1. Getting a brand-new geometry box was the only good thing about the end of the summer.
And that’s also when Nataraj suddenly became everyone’s best friend.
2. This is how you decided whether someone deserved your friendship, love, affection, marriage, enmity, or sisterhood.
3. There were a lot of top-notch beverages competing for your attention…
But, after a long day of school, nothing was more refreshing than a chilled glass of this:
4. You didn’t have Halloween, but all the “fancy dress” parties more than made up for it.
5. This was the No. 1 use of doorways in your house:
6. Everyone had an ugly, metal Godrej almirah somewhere in their house.
7. This dude was terrifying, and you genuinely had nightmares about him. Thanks, Onida.
But this girl — so relevant, so witty — was (and is) your role model.
8. Lunch =
9. You could recognize these smells anywhere, anytime.
And you’ll never forget what the solution to a “kamar dard” is:
10. You became a pro at painting and repainting these stylish Batas every few weeks.
12. You caused your middle finger some serious harm trying to get good at this:
13. And you knew the first line of every song, from all your bus antakshari sessions.
14. When everyone had a badminton phase, the coolest kids had Yonex racquets.
15. For most of your childhood, you thought this phrase legitimately meant something.
Same with this bizarre approach to population control:
Or into one of these:
17. Your birthday = a reason to wear your nicest outfit to school and hand out candy to everyone.
18. This was the most delicious thing that anyone could possibly cook in two minutes:
Seriously, every time you saw this happen on TV, you needed it to happen for you in real life.
20. Power cuts were a glorious time when you were exempt from doing homework and had no choice but to go outside and play in the dark.
21. As difficult as these were to get open, they were always worth it:
22. At some point, you were chased around the house by your mother trying to put oil in your hair.
23. Thanks to your various school uniforms, you know words like “culottes” and “pinafores.”
Unless you had one of these stiff-dupatta uniforms.
Either way, “color dress” or “free dress” days were the best days.
24. You learned patience by waiting for your sparklers to light on Diwali.
(That patience came in handy while reloading this questionable toy.)
26. There was one of these somewhere in the city, and you got to go there when you needed special books.
27. This godsend, masquerading as a digestive pill, was the most delicious thing you would ever eat.
And this more serious, legit digestive cure would keep your breath foul for days.
29. These were the most superior “soft drinks.”
30. These men were in your living room more often than most of your family was.
31. There was nothing in the world as mouth-meltingly soft as a Marie Biscuit dipped in hot chai.
And getting the biscuit to your mouth before it broke off and fell in the chai was the greatest challenge of your childhood.
32. Amar Chitra Katha’s Birbal was the smartest person you’d ever heard of.
33. Whenever a relative came back from a trip abroad, you invariably were gifted some of these:
35. Everyone became an expert boat-maker during the monsoon.
37. Every Indian girl secretly tried these on from her mom’s stash.
38. And every Indian boy regularly “borrowed” some of this from his dad:
39. One hour of your school week was dedicated to social service or “Socially Useful Productive Work.”
And several hours of the school week were devoted to “book cricket.”
41. This cigarette-shaped candy, as problematic as it is in hindsight, made you feel cool as hell:
And the first tattoo you ever got was courtesy of these guys:
42. Before you knew what the word “ambassador” meant, this is all it was:
And your family’s first car was probably one of these:
43. After school activities = snacks, tuitions, classes, homework, and then finally playing outside with colony friends.
44. You could finish a box of these in one sitting:
And you would regularly beg your parents to buy you these:
45. When some well-meaning relative bought you a laser pointer, you used it to terrorize your neighbors for weeks.
47. You will never forget the tune of the “washing powder Nirma” song.
And “aaya naya ujala, chaar bundhon vaala.”