Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home


On Lego planes and white lab coats

Cartoons are awesome - at least they were when we were growing up. Now before parents start rolling their eyes I would like to point out that there's this one influence that cartoons had on us that cannot be underestimated. Cartoons fuelled our creative endeavors and it is a pity to see the lack of this in kids today. There are so many things many of us did, back when we were kids, that were influenced by cartoons.

The shorty with the big brain and white lab coat -
Ever pulled at random books in shelves hoping a lab would open up behind it? Ever built something out of Lego and stuck in wires and hoped it would do something? If the answers are yes - you have definitely watched Dexter (not the serial killer of course). Growing up, most of us had this huge fascination for Dexter and taking apart clocks and new toys were experiments we did every day. Most people growing up in the late 90's and early 2000's have at least once built something out of a motor and a couple of LED's - be it a simple fan or a speedboat. I tried building a car out of Lego, motors and waste paper- which, even though did not work, got me interested in science.

Awesome aircrafts and robots
The best toy a kid could have is Lego - heck I play with Legos even now. And the biggest influence on the things I built with Lego was definitely the cartoons. Swat Kats, Ninja Robots, Speedracer are just a few of these. In retrospect it's amazing how creative one could get, building totally original pieces of aircrafts every day - and these actually looked like aircrafts too. If only MiG or Boeing recruited us back then, there would have been more awesome aircrafts in the world today.

Stone Age innovation
One wouldn't expect the Flintstones to be part of this article but that cartoon taught us innovative doesn't really have to be hi tech. Cameras with birds inside them, dinosaurs used as cranes, cars driven by feet and not to mention telephones where birds fly off and repeat the messages! Flintstones is what most probably turned many of us into hoarders - collecting used pens, soda cans and what not.

Though they go largely unnoticed, kids are really creative and a major source of the inspiration is cartoons. So kids out there - stop watching the dumb cartoons with the same characters and plot with a different name, and go back to the classics. And parents - let those kids be.

By Moyukh Mahtab

The childhood enemies

There are memories of our childhood that still bring an occasional smile to our faces when we reminisce about them. But then, there are memories of certain things which still give us nightmares. These are the memories that haunt us, memories of our childhood destroyers, namely, of the children products that our parents used to force upon us to make us (apparently) healthy, wealthy and happy. This week RS takes a sneak peek at the enemies of our childhood.

Nutritional products:
Remember the steaming mugs of 'chocolate' drinks that our parents used to trickle down our throats? They might have looked like hot mugs of cappuccino, but they weren't. Instead of getting to drink the flavoured, rich caffeine, we were to be rewarded with mugs of flavoured milk. It didn't even taste like hot chocolate: all it did was make the milk more undrinkable. So why were our childhoods thus ruined by these nutritional products? Because they were supposed to make us “taller, stronger and sharper”. How many of those regular drinkers grew up to be tall, strong and sharp now, this writer wonders. The one sitting writing this article certainly doesn't have all those attributes.

We all love some of our baby products. Some of us still retain the usage of the soaps and shampoos (and baby baths). But nowhere will you find anyone using the lotions and the powders. Not again. Not after the excessive and quite ridiculous amount of lotions that our parents used to dab upon our bodies and mostly upon our faces. “What has happened to your face? Why are you sweating so much? Is that OIL on your face?”. Sniggers would accompany these snide remarks while you would be blushing furiously moments after entering the classroom. Parents. Is there no end to their folly?

And what about baby powders? Our mothers used to puff and puff and puff our faces with those powders until we would look like living vampires. That would be followed by sprinkling some on our armpits and our bodies. This daily ritual was supposed to make us look fairer and make our skins glow and also keep us fresh. One glance at our present faces would be enough to disprove that theory.

Medicines are the bane of our existence, just like exams. More so, when we were kids. We all used to be really, really sick kids. What else can explain the presence of all those nauseating tablets and syrups that we had to intake on a regular basis? There were the huge, tasteless ones, the tiny and slippery capsules, the round and bitter tablets. All of them were equally hard to swallow down. No matter how much water we gulped, they were bound to choke us at least once in our life. And let's not forget the dry, papery tablets that we had to chew. Even Gillywater was better than that.

The syrups were much, much worse. Not only were they terrible to taste, they would also make us sleepy and groggy and extremely dull-witted. And we would get those coughs right before our exams. The cough syrups were worse than all the other medicines put together. But let's face the truth now: do any of you really believe that the medicines bore any credit for driving those temporary sicknesses? If only the coughs and our parents would leave us alone.

These products, under friendly guises, would make our lives miserable not many years ago. They are one of the reasons we are glad that we are all grown up now. But their horrors will haunt us for the rest of our lives, and make us vengeful and induce us to use to them on our kids too. Don't blame it on us then.

By Shamsil Kamal



home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2011 The Daily Star