I happened to be at my uncle’s place this weekend. The collector of “antiques” that he is, I happened to chance on an old telephone – the classic heavy black one with numbers and a dial to actually dial out a number!
My 18 month old is obsessed with phones. He waits for me to get back from work, just to climb on to me and pull out my mobile from my pocket when I return home every evening. The joy on his face when he finds it is worth several millions and I’ve stopped worrying about what may happen to let him have his few moment of joy. He’s press a few buttons, make a few unsolicited calls and ask me to take a few pictures – all of which I oblige to.
Considering my son’s passion for phones, I called him over and showed him this phone that we discovered. I was hoping he would entertain us again! Guess what happened? He came by, walked around the phone that was placed on the floor – I think looking at it from different directions, thought for a few seconds and ran away saying phone “illa” – in my native language, which means, this is not a phone!!!! Any amounts of coercion or attempt to draw him to the phone were in vain. I’m so glad Alexander Graham Bell isn’t around to see my little boy say his creation is not in existence!
The world has changed and changed rapidly! Things that used to be in vogue are fast changing their guise.
Looking back at the days when I was growing up, I recall my dad’s favorite – a faver leuba time piece. This needed to be wound every day using a key and would go off with a bell to serve as our morning alarm every day. I still vividly remember how upset my dad was when the clock went past it’s useful life and couldn’t be fixed by one of the local watch repair shops.
The other classic was the old tape recorder – with cassettes and large buttons, I grew up listening to my favorite music, and having to walk up to reverse sides every 30 – 45 minutes, depending on the type of cassette. The other big thing was the transistor. This was a huge box which served its primary purse of being a radio, in addition to being a paperweight on most tables at home. I’d spend hours trying to tune it with its manual dial to even listen to the cricket commentary that made every single ball as eventful as a six. I’d get so annoyed if my little sister changed the direction by a fraction.
If this was indoors, outdoors was so much fun! I was challenged to put the scooter on it’s stand – this was the Lambretta, the heavyweight scooter, which helped the modern day man get his muscle. For the more luxurious, there was the Ambassador, which today my son refuses to acknowledge as a car. The look of disgust on his face when I attempt to convince him that the Ambassador is indeed a car is something I’d rather not live with!
In school, the 286 PC was a big hit – with it’s display in fluorescent green, the PC lab was making waves. The introduction of the 386 with the color monitor triggered a rush for the last seats in class – the boys would fight to sit in the last bench and would start to remove their shoes in a bid to fling their all and run to the PC lab to lay their hands on this darling with color screens. They’d even test a few of our athletic skills along the way! The 5 & ¼ inch floppy drives was a prized possession and so to was the box that held some 10 of these!!
As I look back at my life, I realize how much change I’ve seen. The alarm clock has been digitized, in most cases bummed along with the mobile, the phones get smaller and sleeker – from the touch screens to the storm, this space hasn’t seen the last of it’s innovation as yet. Cassettes are largely obsolete with the advent of CDs as the DVDs and Blue Rays give both of these a run for their money. The radio in it’s smallest form is integrated with the phone, most homes don’t have one, though they are a feature in every modern car. You’d search your whole car to realize that it comes built into the music system! I don’t know when the last time I saw a scooter was, forget the lamby.
Thanks to the government, the Ambassador’s still run – but I don’t know for how long. The PC space is changing at a pace that I can’t even write about. I’d sound silly discussing PC specs here knowing fully well that the latest would be up even before this article hits the net, the memory cards and drives have truly made floppies obsolete! Some change this!!
For the antique collector – it’s catch 22. Do I get all of these and hope to make a fortune someday by claiming to have “antiques”, or do I just acknowledge the fact that this is all junk in this ever changing world? I believe in the latter and am off to clearing my house, much to the displeasure of my parents!
Image Credit: A O Neil
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