Today, we have more smartphones and tablets than the number of members in a family. We sit on our couches or slouch on our beds, busy connecting with people from around the world.
But the world was not like this at all, when I was growing up. All social networking was done face to face.
We had neighbours. We grew up with them, till we went to college, got jobs, married and moved out.
We played for hours on the street, till the street lights came on. We played riotous games, and sometimes spent entire evenings looking for a missing tennis ball.
We formed numerous clubs, drawing inspiration from Enid Blyton books, and many other childrens’ movies. We put up stalls, and all kinds of shows for our parents.
We attended exhibitions of butterflies and other insects put up by the neighbourhood boys. We went into the neighbouring woods to collect eucalyptus leaves, which we used to light bonfires.
We spent all our time in and out of each others’ homes, bringing plates filled with lunch, and eating together in a friend’s garden.
We had fights, silly squabbles and long battles that sometimes lasted an entire season.
We eagerly opened boxes of yummy snacks that neighbours sent to us. We went in droves to the home where the first television made its appearance.
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We watched the glorious Indian Monsoon with our noses plastered to the windows – howling winds, lashing rain and falling trees.
We watched the first frost of winter, and gobbled up piping hot venn pongal that was served in the neighbourhood temple.
We knew a lot about each other and our families. We lived at a time when we got ‘live updates’ about each others’ lives.
We had lovely neighbours.