Sri Lankan Kids in the 90s vs 21st Century


The super duper kiddie islanders have come a long way from the phone on the “Kanappuwa” with a long twisty cord and gulping down Delta toffees just like they were the chocos handmade by Willy Wonka with his tiny Oompa Loompas. If you grew up in the 90’s in Sri Lanka, chances are that you are of the generation that has tasted the mouth-watering Hathmaulwa, the crown of Sri Lankan cuisine. You are lucky if you got to see the both ends of this spectrum. Times have changed, so has the way of living!

1. They barely look up unless the place is on raging fire

Today kids won’t even think of looking up unless something really hits the nail on their heads because their eyes are glued to the so called smart devices. Checking out the latest Snapchat stories, facetiming with BFFs and Instagramming even when they are eating a drumstick of KFC with a “FoodPorn” tag is way more important than whatever that is happening around them. Meanwhile, the kiddies in the 90’s were more or less on the qui vive about everything that was going on those days. For instance, if one of the handful number of TV stations that were there those days aired about a lunar eclipse that would be occurring in the USA and which was iffy to be seen on the island, they still stayed awake with eyes wide opened to catch that 0.1 percent of chance to witness it! Even holding one of those Nokia 3310 phones was a big deal.

2. No boredom with 50GB at your finger tips

With a data bundle that seems to be hundred times faster than the HotWheels racing cars the kids in the 90’s played with, the kids of today don’t even know a word called “boredom”. They’ve got the entire globe in their palms and they can even spin it as they wish. The poor kids of the 90’s had to run to an Internet Café even if they wanted to browse about something as dinky as “the seven wonders of the world”. Today just ask from a kid when will the newest Audi Q5 will be arriving, and with just one click they will fling back you the exact date and possibly the time as well. Ta da! That is the beauty of the kids in the 21st century. Those days playing Spider Solitaire and oohing and aahing watching the cheesy firework thing on the screen when you nailed the game was a victory. Today you are a nerd if you aren’t playing DOTA and run like a fiend until a monk pops up and say “Stop it, this is a temple you can’t run”.

3. Evening cartoons with Marie biscuit dipped in plain tea

Then it was all about Walas Maama, Dosthara Honda Hitha ,Pissu Poosa lined up in the evening. It was the most awaited hour of the kiddies who ran back home after school, grabbed the lunch mothers and grandmothers in their floral aprons prepared for them bustling about the kitchen stirring the curries with “Pol KatuHandi”. They even volunteered to scrape coconut to make the dinner if their moms agreed to set them free sharp at 5pm to watch the cartoons. Now kids don’t even want to sit through a 30 minutes cartoon if that there isn’t a zombie craving for flesh with a missing eye, a vampire with lips redden as blood rush to them, or at least the little brat Ben Ten. Plus they would pick over a pizza oozing creamy cheese delivered at the doorstep over the heavenly duo of Marie biscuit dipped in Plain tea.

4. Jotting down everything on the blackboard to taking snaps

“Kids dash off this diagram of the elements of human heart, I will give you all 5 minutes”- a pack of colour pencils, erasers smelling like strawberry, writing books out, and then roughing out the diagram before the teacher erases it and then going home and doing a perfect one. Wel,l today the teachers don’t have to wait 5 minutes. Simply slip out the smart phones, click click and you are done! Those were the days your mom visited one of your friends to borrow the notes when you couldn’t go to school in case you were down with the flu. Apart from your spinning head or broken leg, you had to write down all the notes, because you must return the stuff on the day itself! But today couldn’t go to school? Cool they call the dudes and get the notes mailed or Whatsapped. Ah, the wonders of technology!

5. Hanging out

The 90’s kids never dared to go to go 500 meters beyond their houses. Ooh la la if you went off to the nearest boutique to buy a cube of Maggie Soup that your mom forgot to buy along with other groceries. It was a kind of a blowout if mom asks you to keep the balance for yourself so you can buy a pack of Chocolate Fingers which came inside that yellowish box with jazzy photographs of wild animals, local heritage and innovations printed on the box. Today we see kids of 10-12 years with waxed hair touching the ceiling hanging out in MC or Liberty Plaza and going out for movies. For them it is quite normal as playing marbles with the neighbor kid those days. They got smart phones and PickMe so why would the parents make a fuss over them? They call it “Chilling Out”. Even the girls are like Get in loser we are going shopping! Those were the days girls picked up their favorite florals and asked their moms to sew them a cute little dress.

6. Finally, the “F” word

Listen to a bunch of kids and make a count of how many times the F word comes out of their mouths. Those days such a word was a big no-no. But today even when Dany burns the Slave Masters F word comes, even if they lost their Big match the F word comes out and even if someone steps on their foot what immediately comes is the F word. It is not an exaggeration if we say the ultimate words of courtesy and politeness like “Sorry”, “Thank you”, “Excuse me” have been replaced by this F word. The kids of 90’s would have mumbled the F word under their breath but not in front of everyone and everywhere.
Simply the difference in kids of the 90’s who came up in an era before technology exploded and created this whole new world are okay without Google and the kids of the 21st century are hingering on state-of- the art technology including “Google”.

Darrshini Parthepan