To everyone born after the 2000s
When I was a kid my day began with watching Pokemon and yours probably begins with checking your facebook notifications. I would brush my teeth for 20 minutes just so I could stand in front of the bathroom mirror in my comfortable pajamas and day-dream about being a Powerpuff Girl. You might be using the latest toothpaste which solves 103 problems of your mouth but you don’t even have 3 seconds to rub it on your teeth. Then my father would give me a bucket of hot water and he would put in his hand in first to check if it was the right temperature. You might be having an electric water heater and all. Maybe that’s why your father doesn’t know what time you wake up in the morning. I would quietly bath for half an hour enjoying the warm water on my skin. You stand under the cold shower only for 5 minutes, in my terms that’s not bathing.
I would come out and put on my school uniform, a tacky dark blue pinaform that could give anyone an eye-sore. You might be wearing one of those designer uniforms that we see today only in unrealistic movies about school life. (Spoilers: Real life teachers are NEVER as hot as the ones on screen). I would tie my long black wavy hair in two plaits, even after folding them in half they still used to come lower than my shoulder. The girls in your class probably come to school with feathers in their unnatural red hair (don’t even get me started with the make-up). I would wear an anklet too, because I liked it. Not because I wanted to impress some guy with it. In my days women used to love themselves. In your times all women might be suffering from inferiority complexes and other mental disorders that I didn’t even know existed.
I would pack my Hannah Montana bag with heavy books, you might just be carrying your Ipad to school. I would come out in the living room where my mother would be standing near the dining table. She would give me a warm glass of milk and an infectious smile. She would put my breakfast in a small plate in the shape of an apple while I made faces and drank the milk. When was the last time you saw your mother Jude? A week ago? I’m sure her company will go bankrupt if she misses a single business trip. My mother sit down asking me whether I had put everything in my bag. I would ravish the hot food and ask for more. Does your mother even know how to cook?
Everytime I finished eating I had an unhygenic habit of rubbing my hands on my skirt instead of washing them. But on those rare occasions when I remembered to wash them I would find her standing behind me. “Very good”, she said, her voice still rings in my ear. How is your mother’s voice Jude? Do you atleast get to hear it on your flashy iphone?
I would walk to school with my best friend. In those days there was a concept of ‘best friend’. It didn’t matter if they wore H&M or not. Now you probably choose your friends based on the cars they arrive in at school. On the way we would exchange Barbie stickers and the temporary tattoos we got free with bubblegum. You guys probably exchange cigarettes. We talked about what we had for breakfast and what we brought for lunch. You guys might be talking about unmentionable subjects.
Our classroom was noisy and crowded, filled with wooden benches which had names scribbled on them with a geometric compass, flooded with colorful charts of maps and stories. Your classroom might be black, white and grey covered on all sides with touchscreen televisions. The teacher would enter class and we would all stand out of respect and greet her. You might be referring to your teachers using just their first names or something worse. We used to study for exams, we used to work hard because we wanted to get into a good college. Jude, you don’t study because you know your father can throw a wad of cash and get you into Harvard.
In the evening I would get back home and my elder brother would help me with my homework. Jude, did your sister return from the party she went to last night? After a while Dad would come back from work and we would all sit together and have dinner. When was the last time your entire family had dinner together? Dad would ask me and my brother about school and we would give honest replies. Do you keep secrets from your parents Jude? You shouldn’t. We only went to restaurants on special occasions, my mother’s food was better than the mouth-watering delicacies served in any hotel in Mumbai. How does your servant’s food taste Jude? You to have an eating disorder?
After dinner mom would wash the dishes, broom the living room and my dad and brother would lay down the mattresses. Then all four of us would lie down next to each other, me next to mom and talk about everything under the sun. Sometimes my father would compliment my mother, but in those days I was too young to notice. Do your parents even talk to each other Jude? The talk would go on and on until I drifted into sleep. Then my father would sense that I had stopped talking and motion everyone to stay quiet. My mom would lovingly move her fingers in my hair, gently pull me closer and kiss my forehead. I would put my arms around her belly and slip away in a world of dreams. Do you have dreams Jude? Do you dream of making your parents proud?
-Someone from the 90’s.