90s nostalgia and the Annapurna mess
Nostalgia is nothing but yearning for an idealised past. I am a 90’s kid. I idealise 90s and get nostalgic, whenever I watch or hear anything that came out of that time period. I am sure I am not the only one sharing that sentiment. If you spent your school days in the 90s, this nostalgia should also come naturally to you. More so, if you studied in a boarding school.
Why does anything to do with 90s exude so much nostalgia amongst people born in the late 70s, 80s and the early 90s? What was so special about those years? Do people who were born after 2000, get the same sense of euphoria from the 2000s and 2010s, as people from my generation do from the 90s? I honestly don’t know the science behind it and have no propensity to have a scientific explanation. I think, I have generalised that all people from my generation are crazy about the 90s. Yes, there are few who have no such special feelings for the 90s. For them, it was just a passing phase of their lives. But people are generally nostalgic about the 90s. Especially, folks from my school: a residential school comfortably perched amidst a bustling capital city.
I spent a good five years of my school life at this school. I was a diminutive young lad of 10 years when I stepped inside the gates. I was still a diminutive young lad, albeit of 15 years of age, when I graduated from the school after the CBSE board exam of 1999. But when I look back, I think I grew from within, I matured from within. The diminutive lad was now an affable, assertive and ambitious student who was ready to face whatever uncertainties and difficulties the outside world hurled at him. The lad had no intention of looking back what he left behind. He did take memories with him, that he dumped in the recycle bin of his brain, in order to focus on an impending career. Twenty years thence, I wish I could again go back in time and relive those years. Thanks to ‘nostalgia’.
A major portion of this nostalgia is invoked by the Bollywood music of the 90s. The fact that I have musical ears has also contributed to it. The current generation that gets on-demand entertainment on their palmtops for instant gratification, will never understand the emotions behind 90s music. There was no internet back then. Cable tv was a luxury. Walkman or any personal electronic entertainment system was banned in our school and if found could be confiscated (did happen with me). For me and my friends at the school, Doordarshan was the only source of entertainment in the hostels. That too, for a very limited specified time slot. I instantly get reminded of the weekly once shows that we so eagerly and anxiously waited for back then: Superhit Muqabla, All the best, Rangoli, Chitrahar to name a few. These musical sojourns provided reprieve from the hardships of the school life.
But more than these TV shows there was this one thing that I like to believe, sowed the seeds of nostalgia in my brain. The Bollywood songs that were played during lunch time at the Annapurna mess still reverberate in my ears. Those few minutes provided me my daily dose of music. My biggest source of dopamine. There was no pick list to choose from. One senior had full authority over what songs could be played. May be, his peers had some influence. But for juniors like me, our ears were purely at the receiving ends. Any song was good as long as it was in Hindi. If competitive exams had questions on 90s Bollywood music, I am sure most of my school mates would have got 99 percentile.
When you compare the music and movies of the 90s with that of today, you cannot but accept the fact that 90s content and quality was mediocre and ridiculous to a great extent. Though, more melodious and mellifluous. One could say in hindsight, they were ‘ridiculously’ good. For good many years of 90s, Annapurna indulged us in gluttony and melodious 90s music.
Oh, I am truly getting nostalgic now. I have travelled back in time. The year is 1998. It is lunch time, and Annapurna mess is buzzing with students. I am standing in front of my dining table awaiting the Games captain to whistle and say the prayer. Ready to devour the famed jackfruit curry and lend my ears for some soulful melodious songs. There is delirium at one of the tables. Seems, mass punishment is in the offing. Who cares anyways? Let me indulge myself.
I don’t mind staying back after lunch. Bring it on senior!