That Time Was Strange, This Era Is Also Strange

How much nostalgic are you?

With each passing day, we are moving forward in our lives, leaving behind the trails of what we did yesterday. But sometimes while we are moving forward, our past bump into us in the most strangest ways.

Strange Time and Era

Meeting an old friend after so many years, listening to an 80’s pop song today, visiting your old neighborhood or town, finding your old diary or school notebook and so much more. Whenever these moments happen, you go back in time within a second. No need of DeLorean or any other time machine. Your entire past is in front of you once again and for few moments, you wish to stay there forever.

This same feeling happened to me when I read an editorial in my local newspaper few weeks ago. It was written by Yasir Pirzada, titled “Woh Waqt Ajeeb Tha, Ye Dur Bhi Ajeeb Hai” (translation: That Time Was Strange, This Era Is Also Strange). This column is in Urdu (read the original article in Urdu here) and as soon as I read it, I immediately decided to translate it to English and share it with the world.

Why? Because:

1. This column is about nostalgia, the golden age of our lives, at least the golden age for all those Pakistani’s who were in their teens back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. I highly considered 80’s and 90’s as my golden age, when I had such a great time. I missed that time a lot.

2. As soon as I finished up reading this column, I realized that this column portray such a beautiful glimpse of my past, my golden age, when the world was so different. So may be if English readers would read it, they may have the same feeling I had when I read it.

Although this column is about Pakistani society, I know you may not agree in whole with it but some parts will touch your heart.

So without further ado, relax up yourself and step into the past!!

That time was strange!

• When in that era, raising a question was out of question
• When father was the only role model
• When teachers were the prime source of respect
• When no “Facebook friend” in those days, we had just “Best Friend” for whom we would love to give our own lives
• When shopping was brand-less
• When listening to horror stories was our favorite hobby to pass time
• Whenever cousins gather around, spirit calling ritual was tried
• When during monsoon season, we used to pray for its prolonging, so that our summer breaks could extend
• When our parents and teachers worried more than us during our final terms
• When in school, only 1st, 2nd and 3rd position holders of their respective classes were announced
• When we used to believe blindly on unseen things and sometimes got scare of them too
• When friendship had more weight than cash in wallet
• When sleeping anywhere other than bed after a full day’s play has its own charm
• When the most important activity of a family picnic was to eat together in open air
• When all cousins used to arrived days ahead for stay before wedding ceremony in family
• When all uncles and aunts of the family were consulted for their opinions before wedding ceremony
• When saying sorry to an upset aunt was the hardest task
• When wedding dates were not scheduled upon the availability of wedding venues
• When all weeding ceremonies were arranged in wedding tents, right in front of home
• When wedding dishes were prepared in home lawns
• When groom used to receive garlands of cash
• When parents used to receive the same protocol every day, 365 days a year as they receive it today on Father’s Day and Mother’s Day
• When decisions of grand parents was considered final
• When blood was used as ink for love letters
• When roses were placed in books
• When women used to embroidered their lover’s name on their handkerchief
• When promises of living and dying together were made under a tree by the love birds
• When dialing your lover’s land-line phone was the heaviest task of all
• When word “Break-up” was not added in dictionary
• When Basant nights were used to alive, lighting up entire sky with lights, city rocked up by music, live food all night long were the highlights of those Basant nights
• When kite string casualties and celebratory gunfire rates were very low
• When an entire city would shiver by just one homicide crime and people used to talk about it for weeks
• When neighbors were like family
• When we used to eat without thinking for a second about calorie count
• When ordering food means 15 kebabs and 6 naan (with free salad and chutney)
• When fast food meant samosa, chaat and pukoray, not burger
• When we used to think that we will complete our whole life cycle, deaths by bomb blasts was not common
• When we used to respect cousins with even just one year age difference
• When calling out relatives as uncle or aunt was not common
• When mothers used to work all day long for us without thinking about their own rest
• When respect for fathers was utmost and upon his returning from work at day’s end, we behave like civilized citizens
• When we used to keep diary for our prayed Salat along with Qada
• When entire home used to watch 8pm PTV drama in a room
• When Roohi Bano and Firdous Jamal were stars
• When Knight Rider, Man from Atlantis and CHiPs were our favorite TV series
• When only source of news on TV was 9pm news
• When instead of sending SMS on Eid, writting up an Eid card and posting it up was highly graded
• When having no cellphone was not an issue, thus worrying uselessly about our loved ones was not a consideration
• When riding those rental bikes was considered as luxury
• When clearing up the last level of an arcade game was considered as a milestone achievement
• When getting a Dubai visa was equal to winning a lottery
• When going to school wearing those shinny white sneakers gave us unexplained happiness
• When we had only heard about computer, haven’t seen one
• When we used to beg a guy in a wedding ceremony with that 110 film camera
• When taking 10 selfies in 10 seconds was never thought of, instead whole wedding ceremony used to roll up in just 1 roll film, whose “developing” would mean receiving a free photo album
• When renting rates of VCR with 5 movies on VHS and with one TV was Rs 100/- (about 90 USD cents)
• When people used to say condolences in person, instead of tweeting RIP

Strange time that was!

This era is also strange!

• Now we have 100 channels on TV but we throw it away after declaring “nothing is on”
• Without Wi-Fi, we seem to have trouble in breathing
• We have friends but we have to call them up by their names
• Now schools don’t announce end term results publicly as it portrays bad influence on under achievers
• Relatives attend wedding ceremonies only to hand over gifts and eat lavish dinner
• Saying “I Love You” is easy but keeping it up is not
• You can easily break-up by “blocking” him/her
• Now girls can make boys as their friends by saying only “He is my friend only. Nothing more”
• Playing Farmville and Candy Crush has taken over LudoCarrom
• Now we use to have more tense over a failed UPS than failing our final terms
• Today we have hundreds of Facebook friends but only handful ones will show up to say condolence in person, rest will tweet RIP

That time was strange, this time is strange, both can be beautiful which depends on how beautiful are their memories

When thick blanket of time will cover today’s era then it will also become a wonderful memory of past…… Wait for it


Added for Ragtag Tuesday: Past, RDP Wednesday – NOSTALGIA

Added for V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #93: remember




6 thoughts on “That Time Was Strange, This Era Is Also Strange

    • Hammad Rais August 1, 2019 / 4:11 PM

      Thank you so much for reading this. Have a nice day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. granonine November 14, 2018 / 1:45 AM

    You certainly did put effort into this piece. Very interesting to read about a culture so different from my own, yet so much like it, as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammad Rais November 14, 2018 / 1:26 PM

      Thank you so very much for reading this. I relate myself very much to that long gone era of my childhood, so I did what I had to 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Umair Khalid May 12, 2015 / 4:10 PM

    Since it is translated so no comments from my side…cheeers 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hammad Rais May 12, 2015 / 4:17 PM

      this is not right man, translating an Urdu article to English also demand effort, which I gave


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