Morning TV: 90’s Nostalgia

I have always been a TV lover. As a child, Sunday morning alarm used to be the distant sound of a TV show jingle playing in the living room. No alarm has ever been that effective. Through the Black and White TV sets to the CRT monitors and now slice thin TV screens, I have been an avid TV viewer all my life. Most of my peers replaced TV-time with computer-time very early and gradually completely replaced the TV with their laptops. But I have watched TV at every stage of my life, and there has rarely been a time when the idiot box has not entertained me. And yet I cannot pretend that TV watching in my adult years matches in its impact or entertainment the TV watching I did as a child.

I still follow many TV shows, some of which I do watch on a TV set. I anxiously await the next episode of  Big Bang Theory and the next season of Sherlock Holmes. I still forget myself when I am in the middle of a Game of Thrones episode. Yet it is not the same. What I cannot forget is that there was a time when Television was more banal and more refreshing. And so there is in me, always, a nostalgic yearning for the lost pleasure of TV shows. It is not a yearning that I ever expect to be fulfilled.

Here are five influential TV shows that marked a delightful start to Sundays in the nineties: 

Duck tales
Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey & Louie found themselves in all sorts of adventures on this animated cartoon series from Disney. Groggy inimitable voices called ‘Uncle Scrooge’ when a helicopter got dysfunctional or some other disaster struck. But Uncle Scrooge was always so nonchalant even as he took his daily swim in heaps of gold coins!

Bournvita Quiz Contest
The first and probably only quiz show that motivated me and most other kids around the country to study hard. Millions of kids dreamed of representing their schools in this prestigious quiz contest, the very eloquent Derek O’Brien became one of the first non-bollyood role model. Here is an episode with Kiran Bedi, another youth role model of that time.

The show was brought back on TV a coupla years back, but new wine in old bottle never has the same charm.

Jungle book
The adventures of Mowgli, the man-cub raised by wolves;  Bageera – a panther, Mowgli’s best fried;  Baloo – a sloth bear, sort of Mowgli’s mentor against Share-Khan – a man eating tiger. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s book by the name, Jungle Book (which I read very recently) was also made into Disney Movies (which I have never seen). But like I have mentioned before, this TV show seeded in me a fascination for jungles which is still growing.


Malgudi days
Based on the books of R.K. Narayan, the finest children’s book author in India. The fictitious town ‘Malgudi’ was quite a microcosm of India. It was easy to identify with Swami who portrayed the growing up pangs of a boy who despises school, as he makes excuses and roams around Maldugi with his friends. While there are some who would rather just stick to the books, why would you want to miss this captivating music!

Vikram Betaal
Betaal was a vampire before it was cool to be a vampire and also taught some life lessons. The TV show was based on based on Baital Pachisi, a collection of tales from the Indian mythology. Baital was a sort of celestial spirit who hung from a tree. Vikram was a king who had promised to capture Baital for a tantric. In his attempts to capture Baital, Vikram would hear different stories from Baital each with a moral message.

Those were the days! Cannot thank YouTube enough 🙂


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