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90 things 90s kids in Kathmandu can relate to

Illustration: Swag Swami

“Life was so much fun when I was a child” is something that many millennial kids say. It is not that life for them is not fun now, but there was something romantic about the 90s, they say. Technology did not control them as life was much simpler. To many, happiness was watching a movie with the family on a Saturday afternoon or playing sports from dawn to dusk.

Here is a list of 90, yes 90, things that every 90s urban kid in Kathmandu can relate to:

1. Scooby-doo

There is hardly anyone who does not know about the Great Dane or his scooby snack. Not to forget the goofy Shaggy, the smart Velhma, the sassy Daphne and the frivolous Fred. Remember how there are no such things as ghosts?

2. Pingu

Did anyone get Pingu? But, most of you must have watched it. Trying to figure out what is going on is a feeling that every one of you came across. We are sure you all learnt some valuable lessons thanks to the weird penguin.

3. Moomin

Cartoons in the Nepali language were as rare as they are now. Moomin fit the bill perfectly. It was witty, it was fun, and it was a bit emotional. We are sure a lot of you resonated with the characters. Which was your favourite?

4. Mina Cartoon

A poster designed for the episode ‘Dividing the mangoes’ of Meena, a cartoon series by UNICEF. Courtesy: Sharad Ranjit

Who doesn’t remember Meena, Raju and Mithu? They made you laugh, cry and, more importantly, they taught you a lot about health, bullying, sanitation and why it was wrong to discriminate on the basis of colour, creed, caste, and sex.

5. Hijoaaja Ka Kura

A week would be incomplete without watching Santosh Panta and his gang entertaining you on Friday. It showed the realities of Nepali society. Shows that have followed Hijoaaja Ka Kura have not been able to do so.

6. Om Namah Shivaya

That Shiva Tandav was the bomb. If you did not try copying it, what were you even doing?

7. Mahabharat

The title song is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the world ‘Mahabharat’. The show was quite good too. Its rerun during the lockdown must have brought back a lot of memories.

8. Ramayan

Did you not feel for Ram during the entire show? He was probably the most ‘senti’ god in all of these shows. But, how could he shoot an arrow? How many of you built your own arrow from bamboo?

9. Chandrakanta

Did Yakoo give you all sleepless nights? The show was plain weird but quite interesting. No wonder most of you were glued to the TV wherever it was airing.

10. Daily soaps with mothers and grand mothers

If you were not forced to watch the boring lame daily soaps with your mothers or aunts or grandmothers, you were just lucky. These shows sometimes sucked the life out of you, powerless you still watched.

11. Magic pencil

How many of you thought that you could become Sanju and create anything thanks to the magic pencil? If you are in this category, do not feel bad. A lot of you must have spent (or ‘wasted’, according to parents) a lot of time trying to create things. But, at least, you learnt how to draw.

12. The “aayo aayo” phase

The joy when you get a clear signal after moving the antenna located at the top of the house is something kids nowadays will never relate to. The struggle was real somedays at some antennas were absolutely archaic.

13. The Y2K generation

You are the lucky ones in terms of a lot of things. One thing that you can (or not) boast about is you lived through two millennia. You have seen the simplicity of the 90s along with the complexity of the 2000s. Life has literally turned on his head. Are you enjoying it?  

14. Dial-up internet

Little do kids these days know how hard it was for you to use the internet. Firstly, you needed a login id and password which was as scarce as a wild tiger in Bardiya. Then, you needed to ensure that no one would use the phone. Then, the sound of the modem is something that all of you will relate to. How many of you got yelled at for a high phone bill (quietly raise your hand)?

15. Cybercafé

Photo: ict-pulse.com

As the dial-up internet was a pain in you know where, the invention of cybercafes was a boon to many. People would throng these cafes and pay Rs 15 to Rs 30 an hour to use the internet. Some used to spend time flirting with boys/girls while a few came there for work. The number of college applications sent via cyber cafes is probably uncountable.

16. MSN and Yahoo messengers

Before Facebook, there was another way of connecting with people – online messengers. The MSN, AOL and Yahoo messengers were two of the most popular platforms on which you could chat with people from all across the globe. We are sure you recall going to the cybercafes and spending all day chatting with friends.

17. Dodging flying objects from mothers

If you were not beaten up by mothers, were you even a 90s kid? We are sure a lot can relate about flying slippers, broom, stick or any blunt objects. Dodging these items would often give a sense of fun, although only for a little while.

18. Orange balls

Four chocolates for a rupee.:it does not get better than that. They did not taste that bad either. Neither did the black balls. What was your best orange ball memory?

19. Lacto Fun

This is another chocolate that could be found in the pockets of a 90s kid. Many say they got free chocolates for pulling the wrappers of Lacto Fun up to a certain length. Were you one of them?

20. Ghurra

A sweetener which was also a toy: How good is that? 

21. Mama chauchau

Before Wai Wai became a household name, there was Mama chauchau. Coming in small packets, the noodles were quite underrated. If you had a Mama chauchau packet, you were cool.

22. Alu cross

All of you had back pages of our notebooks that were full of remains of alu cross (Tic Tac Toe). This is probably the most fun game to play in the class while the teacher was giving a boring lecture.

23. Name place animal

This was a game that tested a person’s aptitude. The struggle to name an animal and a thing starting with the world X and Z were real struggles. 

24. FLAMES

If you did not try to calculate your love or compatibility with your crush, what were you doing in school? This game was silly. But, weren’t we all a bit silly in school?

25. Chinese whispers

If you did not get in trouble playing Chinese whispers, you did not play it right. Ever butchered the words duck, truck and luck?

26. Dumb Charade (Dam Sharad for Nepali)

How many of you called it a charade? Many only a few. But this game was probably the most 90s thing to do in class. Easiest was to guess actors like Anil Kapoor, Rajesh Hamal, SRK and Akshay Kumar.

27. Singing Shreeman Gambhira

Shreeman Gambhirs hit differently. Maybe it was because you were used to it or maybe it was due to the love most of you had for the king. Sayau Thunga got nothing on Shreeman Ghambhira.

28. Going to Bhatbhateni or Nerulas for icecreams

Before there was Baskin Robbins or Nds, the only places that served icecreams were Nerulas in Durbarmarg and Bhatbhateni Supermarket. These were not great ice creams, but if you went to any of these places on the weekend, it would be full of people.

29. WWE trading cards

Getting caught for playing these trading cards was the worst feeling. But winning a friend’s set of 100 cards was the risk every one of you must have taken at one point of time. 

30. Scribbling

Ever had a scribble war with a friend over a mistaken scribble on their notebook? A mistaken dot or an ink drop could end up costing you a notebook or even worse, the friend.

31. Bhadakuti

At a time when there was no internet and with the TV being occupied by the elders, playing bhadakuti with brothers and sisters was quite refreshing. Maybe that is why you are so good at imagining things.

32. Playing WWE with younger siblings

Watching your favourite WWE superstars lay the smackdown was your best moment on the TV. But, doing the moves (even though you know about not trying this at home) of a younger or an older sibling was just too good an opportunity to pass out on.

33. BeyBlade

Did you let it rip? The animated series inspired a lot of you to buy these and compete with friends. If you did not get a beating for using a bowl for a bey arena, you did not do it right.

34. Tribhuvan Park for picnic

Tribhuvan Park. Photo: Aryan Dhimal

If your school did not take you there, you were lucky. But, does that mean your school did not even take you to a picnic? That said, Tribhuvan Park was the most overrated picnic spot in the valley. A lot of memories there though…

35. Super Mario

Super Mario was probably as popular as PubG. Everyone must have played it at least once. If you did not have an elder sibling or if you were the elder sibling, you played it a bit more, didn’t you?

36. Collecting Pokémon cards

Did you ever collect a Mew card? Or a Charizard card? No right. Not many did. But collecting even the likes of Eve and Pikachu was quite fun as most of you wanted to catch em’ all.

37. Trolleybus

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Most who did not live in the valley do not know how cool the trolleybus was. Riding it from the starting point in Tripureshwar and then the way back was a really fun thing to do.

38. Watching 8 pm news

With only one TV in the house, watching the NTV news at 8 pm was basically a ritual that no one could miss out on, even if you desperately wanted to.

39. Bikram tempo

Not many will remember these tempos which used to ply all over Kathmandu. It is good that they are gone because they were very dirty for the environment.

40. A clean Kathmandu

The lockdown showed you how pretty Kathmandu could be if it was not polluted. Well, a 90s kid knows that better because s/he could go to the terrace and see green hills instead of a thick layer of smog.

41. Bluff calls

Annoying as it may sound, but doing that was quite fun. Calling your friend to tell them you are on the radio and they have won a 1,000 rupee will never get old.

42. Putting brown paper covers on all new books and notebooks

Wasn’t this the most 90s thing to do? We are sure a lot of your gift wrapping skills is thanks to the countless hours you spent wrapping books and notebooks. Kids today never understand the effort.

43. Getting a bath in the sun every weekend

If you cannot relate to this, you are very fancy. As there were no geysers or solar heaters, the only way to deal with the cold water was bathing in the sun. During the winter, it was torture.

44. Old-school mobile phones and their battery life

If you look back, you charge your phones way too often. Back then, if you charged a phone on Sunday, it would probably last the entire week. The phones did not break if it fell too. The floors hurt more than the phone.

45. Songbook for your favourite songs

The only way to remember a song was to listen to it and jot it down on a notebook. No wonder you remember almost all the songs you used to listen to back then.

46. Phone diary

Before Google started saving contacts on the account, it was pretty hard to remember numbers. You either mugged them up or wrote them down on a diary. Almost every household in the valley must have a diary with numbers arranged according to alphabets. 

47. Lava games

How many of you jumped from one couch (or bed) to another pretending the floor had lava or something poisonous. It was all fun until you fell and banged your head.

48. Buying CDs in Mahabouddha

Going through CDs of movies and games at Mahaboudha is also something that a 90s kid can totally relate to. With the internet, the culture of going there to buy things has definitely taken a hit. 

49. Cassettes

Dmitriy Demidov on Unsplash

Cassettes were the hippest thing when it came to pop culture. If you owned a walkman, you were the cool kid in school. If you recorded songs that were being aired on the radio, you were probably the weirdest. Did you also use a pencil to rewind the tape? Or were you smart enough to change sides? Regardless, listening to music on a cassette is probably one of the most 90s thing to do.

50. Duck hunting

This was pretty annoying to most. Struggling to shoot the damn duck while the annoying dog laughs, something you all hated seeing. Shooting at the clay pots was even harder.

51. Roadrash with sibling

If you did not make your sibling press the spacebar and enter on the keyboards while you drove like crazy at the Pacific Highway, you missed out on a lot of fun. If you used cheats for a baton or a chain, you are one of the cool kids.

52. Fountain pens and the myth that you will have better hairs if you whipped the ink on it

Fountain pens were a mess. But an ink war with friends was quite fun… well until the teacher arrived in class.

53. Going to arcades

Going to Soaltee’s arcade or the one at UWTC was so much fun. Getting on a bike and race around international tracks, be it on a video game, was a great feeling. Shooting hoops and beating your friend/sibling was a feeling you all relate to.

54. Making up games

Due to all the free time you had, you made up a lot of games. What’s the wildest game you have ever made up?

55. Hide and seek

Playing hide and seek in the alleys of Patan or Basantapur was as fun as it was frustrating. We are sure there are some who are still looking for people there.

56. Tag

Colloquially known as ‘bhettai’, paying tag in school, at the house or just about anywhere was what a lot of you did. You had the joy of being the last person standing without being tagged.

57. Parents telling you WWE is bad

Jimmy Fallon No GIF by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

By now you all know the WWE is staged. But, how interesting and engaging was it? But, explaining that to your parents who still feel the WWE is chhada was and still is the toughest thing to do. 

58. First craze of Boost, Complan, Bonvita and Calcium Sandoz

The hypes surrounding these products were insane. Most of them claimed that it would change the way your bodies worked. Some said it would make you smarter while others claimed they would make you taller. Did you believe in the hypes?

59. Using bedsheets to make a cape

Image result for bed sheet cape

 Who did not want to be superman or batman? If you did not use a bedsheet and put on underwear on top of a trouser, what were you doing when you were a child?

60. Sending postcard

A message on any messaging app will never have the charm or the romance in sending or receiving a postcard from someone. 

61. Visiting a photo studio for a family photo

man in black t-shirt and blue denim jeans playing guitar

With the advent of cameras and mobile phones, this culture has disappeared. Clicking photos with a beautiful beach in the background was quite cool (even though it looked very fake.)

62. Making bubbles with soap and pen

sunny pawar bubbles GIF by LION

Remember how simple life was when you could just go to the terrace and blow bubbles like you were some kind of genius?

63. No one messes with the ball/bat owner

carmelo anthony ball is life GIF by NBA

This was annoying but, well, had to deal with this because you all loved to play. But, what a douche, aae?

64. Not walking to Manakamana

File: Manakamana cable car

Every kid dreaded the walk up the hill. So the joy when you took the cable car up the hill was amazing. Technology helped lazy kids.

65. Enjoying 2D games

Flappy Bird Loop GIF by J.B. Kinard

Gaming has come a long way in the past decade. But, every 90s kid relates to playing 2D games like Dave, Pacman, Prince of Persia. Kids these days laugh at these games, but for us these were legendary.

66. Saving lunch money to eat panipuri

rab ne bana di jodi india GIF

A plate of panipuri for Rs 5: It does not get better than that.

67. Flying kites

If you are a 90s kid from Kathmandu, there are chances that you have flown a kite. There would literally be a 1,000 kites in the skies. The joy in running kites was something else too. Nostalgia…

68. Using cordless phones for the first time

season 8 grandpa simpson GIF

Wasn’t that fancy? Taking the phone to the terrace to call your friends to tell that you are calling them from the terrace. Simple days…

69. Khutruke

How much money did you save in these clay pots? What did you buy with them? 

70. Making forts/castle using blankets and cardboards

Donald Glover Troy Barnes GIF

How many castles did you make? Was it ever attacked by annoying cousins who wanted to bring it down because they wanted to rule them all?

71. Sucking at Tetris

tetris GIF

Was anyone good at Tetris? Or did everyone throw away the console in frustration?

72. Slam books

Image result for slam book

The only way to know about a person before social media took over was a slam book or ‘auto’ as you know it. There were quite interesting questions on these books as well. Did you learn anything about a friend through this? 

73. Going to the zoo to look at the lion

File: Central Zoo of Nepal

It was old and grumpy and was rarely out of its den. But, seeing a lion for the first time was a joy. 

74. Giving best friends better chocolates during birthdays

Heart Love GIF by NETFLIX

If you did not give your best friend(s) a Five Star or a big Dairy Milk while you gave others two Eclairs, you did not celebrate your birthday right. 

75. Tracing coins with pencils

Most of you did this part of school or class projects. The quarter coin remains the easiest coin to trace.

76. Lead pencils

Image result for stacking pencil

These pencils were quite fancy. We are sure you ‘lost’ a lot of them.

77. Rubber insects

Scaring a teacher or fellow student with a rubber lizard or a spider was fun. Having the prank done on you, however, was not at all pleasing. 

78. Flipping eyelids to scare kids

The look on the kids face when you did that was priceless. This was scarier than watching Aahat on the TV.

79. Keeping flowers inside books

Image result for flowers inside books

Most of you still do this. Keeping a rose given by a friend or a marigold from Tihar is the little joys you enjoyed. It was also a dope bookmark.

80. Catching fireflies, dragonflies and butterflies

Not a great thing to be doing as you look back, but this was quite adventurous. It was not easy catching any of these insects. Tying a dragonfly to a thread and releasing it was cruel yet fun.

81. Bhrikutimandap

Image result for Bhrikutimandap

There was a different joy going to Bhrikutimandap and getting on these rides which may or may not have been safe. The Bhootghar was definitely no walk in the park.

82. Loving the king

Didn’t we all adore Birendra until he was killed in the massacre? Kids nowadays do not even know what it was like having a king, let alone loving one.

83. Blackboards and chalks

Image result for blackboard nepal

The spine-tingling sensation after the squawking sound of a chalk stick on the board is something that still gives a lot of you jitters. Having to wipe the boards as you coughed up chalk dust was just a very 90s thing as whiteboards and markers have replaced pretty much all the blackboard.

84. Collecting comics

Image result for pile of comics

Tintin, Archies and Spiderman are a few that dominated the shelves of every 90s kid. Indian comics like Nagraj were quite popular too.

85. Friendship bands, rulers as bands

Image result for rulers as wrist bands

Friendship bands were quite a thing, weren’t they? When was the last time you gave one to your friend? How cool were these rulers that could roll into your wrists? 

86. Floppy discs

drive gigabyte GIF

These were quite handy, weren’t they? The look kids face when you show them a floppy disc makes you feel quite old, doesn’t it?

87. Does the page have pictures?

How smart were you while playing this game? There were some who were quite smart as they would already browse the book before playing this game. A lot of you have had to give away many chocolates after losing.

88. Paper planes, boats and rockets

vintage batman GIF

Competing with friends in regards to whose paper object would last the longest does bring back a lot of memories. Using a rubber band to launch a rocket into the neighbour’s house was not only fun but dangerous.

89. Struggling with stoves

Image result for kerosene stove

These kerosene stoves were a pain. If you did not know how to light them up, you would remain hungry for as long as some handyman didn’t arrive.

90. Water filters

Image result for old asian water filter

These copper/steel filters were as unique as our generation. The kids nowadays will never understand life before water purifiers.

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