I Am So Old.

I received this as a WhatsApp message and I immediately went all nostalgic.

My earliest telephone was this:
I wonder if the generation that started with dial up phones even knew of this!

The next phone that I used was one were you lifted the handset off the base and waited for an operator to respond to connect you to another party within that telephone exchange’s area.
Or, for long distance calls called trunk calls those days, you went to the local Post Office to book one of the following. Ordinary, Urgent or Lightening with escalating charges for each. The dial less phone set would usually be in a cabin and one waited till the clerk signalled you to go there to talk.
Or, one used this:
The most frustrating part of this was when the time ran out and you did not have more coins to feed the beast.

By this time, that is around the mid nineties of the last century, one could get telephone connections fairly easily but, long distance dial up calls were mostly not subssribed to, as neighbours would otherwise pester one. One had to book a call and wait for the exchange to connect you to the called party.

Then came these:
PCOs or, Public Call Offices changed telephony in India by the late eighties. One could go to these booths and make International Subsriberer Dialling and / or Subscriber Trunk Dialling (ISD< STD)
Finally came the cell phones in mid nineties, and since then, the landscape is unrecognizable.

My first exposure to a radio was this:
One was forced to listen to what Akashvani dished out with the exception of Radio Ceylon’s Binaca Geetmala. This was a luxury and this was replaced by a radiogram which had a radio and a record player built into it.
Then we moved on in succession to transistor radio, record player and walkman till the mobile phone made all these redundant.

The fist TV set that I bought was a Konarak Black & White as India did not have colour television till the eighties.
I then moved on to Colour TV and by 1983 had to invest in a VCR!
We would borrow Video Cassettes from libraries to watch movies which in those days was a great convenience.

Today, all those gadgets have disappeared and we use computers and cable television for our entertainment at home. For music, the choice that is available within mobile telephones is simply mind blowing.

The earliest camera that I remember seeing was my father’s Rolliflex.
When I was thirteen, I was gifted with this:


Both used Black & White roll films which after shooting, had to be taken to a studio to be developed and printed. Colour films came much later and those became redundant with the arrival of digital cameras{
You couldn’t take selfies with any of them!  Those too now are redundant with mobile phones offering excellent built in camera facilities.

What a journey it has been!

16 thoughts on “I Am So Old.”

  1. I’m not quite as old as you are so wasn’t around for the earliest versions but I remember a surprising number of these things!
    It makes me nostalgic, too!

  2. Extraordinary advances. You neglected streaming services (sans ads.) which I find marvelous. Also my sony discman which was the height of technology, I had it pinned to me (on my arm!!)as I trained for runs.
    I remember the shared telephone lines. And adding a child line to my home phone for my teenagers. Wowser.


  3. I once saw a short segment in a documentary of children in a room with dial phones. they didn’t have a clue how to use them or even what they were! it was interesting and amazing.
    I now know why I feel like such a dinosaur! 😀

    1. I too have seen cartoons of such children totally puzzled and have wondered at the kind of changes that we have seen in the last couple of decades. I quite enjoy being a dinosaur though!

    1. Yes indeed Shankar. And most important of all programmes on the radio, the one that got Indians fixated was Test Cricket commentary. If BGM had Amin Sayani, commentary had Vizzy and Pearson Surita et al.

  4. I remember everything you listed – we progressed a nbit faster though because our large middle class had money burning holes in our pockets. Many of the good first jobs women here first encountered were as operators within the phone company. We bought our first color TV in 1977 when the Oakland Raiders made the Superbowl. I remember party lines when you wanted to make a call you lifted the receiver and heard a call – had to wait your turn.

    One of the most enjoyable parts of my chosen career was being at the forefront of many developments. RadioShack was a coinventor of FRS radio systems.A good friend of mine named Stu Tartarone was heavily involved in cellphones – his team developed the switching systems cellphones used when he worked for Bell Labs in Holmdel NJ. He was ATTs interface with Olivetti when ATT tried to jump into personal computers. I’d have to say I had a lot of fun over the years.

  5. I don’t have a smart phone or a camera or a flat-screen TV or a Netflix subscription so I’m pretty behind the times. Not that I care two hoots if I’m behind the times or not. I well remember how long-distance phone calls used to be so expensive that you’d only make them in an emergency.

  6. I remember much of this, too. I think our phone system might have been a bit different. I do recall needing to talk with an operator to make a long distance phone call. I recall my grandmother who lived in a rural area had a party phone shared with two or three other residences and had a special ring code such as two longs and a short if a call was for her.

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