While growing up in a small town in India, I always had a strong attraction towards skyscrapers; towards cities that never slept and the people there who worked there tirelessly to achieve their dreams and ambitions. The “Bollywood movies” that showed all these things influenced me a lot. They made it look so glamorous. I liked the small world that I lived in, but I definitely wanted to experience something greater.
I am a 90’s kid. Every 90’s kid will understand it when I say that we were the last ones to have a “non-tech” childhood. I hate to sound like the grandmothers who say, “In our times it was different…“. But yes, it really was. The World Wide Web wasn’t popularized until the late 90s.
You can imagine the curiosity and hype with which we were introduced to the internet. I remember my school started a computer course when I was in the 2nd grade. One day, our teacher told us that we would be getting an entire hour on the computer.
My little computer course book was so basic that the first line in that book said,
“What is a computer? A smart electronic machine that can process lots of information.”
I imagined a robotic structure and I got very excited because I thought I was going to see something like ‘Vicki’ from ‘Small Wonder’. The 90s kids might remember her.
Growing up in Sangli
We had just three or four schools in Sangli. They all had a very informal, desi atmosphere. I studied in an English medium school and my teachers were like second moms to me. I realize now that they used to teach us with so much naivety; in whatever broken English they knew. Although I was comfortable with reading and writing in English, I had to work on my speaking proficiency since I barely had any exposure to good spoken English.
There were other interesting aspects of growing up in a small town too. There was less traffic so you could reach from one end of the city to other in just 15 minutes. Your parents did not panic if you drove the bicycle on the “main road”.
On the flip side, you had to think before you wore short skirts because you did not want to stand out or get stares from people who treated you like an alien. There were limited sports facilities, dance facilities or even good libraries. Also, there wasn’t any of the fierce competition that we face in the real world.
I had a very protected and loving childhood thanks to my parents. For the memories that I have there, Sangli will always hold a special place in my heart. Growing up, now, I rarely feel like visiting it again, but it’s still on my list of happy places.
It’s the place where my mom and dad met for the first time and began their beautiful journey. It’s the place where I was born; it’s also the place where I met my cute baby brother. The sweet memories of his birth still make me smile.