Life Before the Internet

A few months back my colleague Rekha came up with a pretty neat idea for the magazine… One topic, two different viewpoints: e-books vs. tree books (FYI, Rekha was for e-books. Yes, yes, I know I’m old school and all that jazz…). We decided to extend the ‘debates’ to our respective blogs and this is the first in a line of many (I hope).

For me it this is not only the perfect excuse to start posting again but I think it also gives us something to talk about (not that we don’t have much to talk about… our extended coffee breaks speak for themselves – yes, that obvious and not-so-funny pun was totally intended).

Anyway, after much deliberation (you’ll know exactly why if you read Rekha’s fabulous blog post) we decided to talk about ‘Life before the Internet’.

To be totally honest, I didn’t have much of a life before the Internet… but erm, come to think of it, thanks to the Internet I don’t have much of a life now either (damn you, Reddit). I guess it would be easier to break my life down into three phases: Before, During (when we used dial-up), and After.

Before: Nothing here. I can’t remember my life before the Internet. I had loads of board games but that’s irrelevant since I still love them.

During: I was 12 when my dad first introduced me to the marvels on the Internet. Before that, all I did was use the computer for MS Paint. Initially however, my life didn’t change ‘During’ either. I still played outside, read books & played board games. I think it was because my parents were super-strict about how much time I spent online and also because my activities were primarily confined to Yahooligans! Oh, I’d also spend time downloading images of [insert name of boy band] for my desktop wallpaper and signed up on various pen pal websites (another blog post about that).

As I grew older, I had more freedom when it came to Internet usage (and uh, also figured out the password *evil grin*). By then ICQ, MSN & Yahoo! Chat were all the rage. We’d use ICQ/other chat applications to “talk” to our crushes (mostly seniors in our school) and they became the preferred mode of communication for those with boyfriends.

After: Well, we all know what ‘After’ comprises. MySpace, Orkut and then Facebook. I can’t seem remember most my life during ‘After’ either. Seems like I’ve come full circle.


Day 5: A Book I Love

Just one? ONE!?! I’m picking 10. And since I haven’t continued with the ‘nostalgia posts’, I have decided to combine both in this post. So top 10 books that I remember reading during the 90s:

1. Killing Mr Griffin by Lois Duncan – A group of teengers plan to kidnap their English teacher and things (as expected) go horribly wrong. I remember desperately wanting to come back home from school just so that I could finish reading the book! (It was exam time and I couldn’t carry it to school with me.)

2. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier – I liked this book better than Rebecca actually. I’m not going to talk about why I love it because, you know, spoilers.

3. Party Summer by R.L. Stine – I admit, this book has no literary value as such. But it was this book that inspired me to go on a collosal writing spree. I spent the whole summer of ’97 writing short stories and discovered I actually enjoyed writing more than anything else.

4. Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster

5. The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans

6. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy – Although I was perhaps a little too young to understand some of the allusive subplots, this book completely blew my mind nonetheless.

7. It by Stephen King

8. Rage of Angels by Sidney Sheldon – Actually any book by Sidney Sheldon. My friends and I would devour his books.

9. Drop Shot by Harlan Coben – The book that got me hooked. I’ve read almost all his books now.

10. Little Women by Lousia May Alcott

More, more, more

All this talk of growing up in the 90s, boybands, etc. really made me nostalgic. I spent a good hour during the weekend going through my journals and laughing at the stupid things I said, laughing over my high school crushes (not to mention the drama!)… and as much as I’m glad, all that is in the past, it’s always fun to look back and recall the things we used to enjoy. Books that we’d read… Movies that we’d watch… So this week, not only have I decided to take this blogging challenge a notch higher, I’ve also decided to dedicate an entire week to ‘Nostalgia’.


Today, it’s going to be my favourite cartoon/anime themes from back in the day. Thank goodness for YouTube and the Internet. Otherwise, I’d truly be lost & lonely.

1. Duck Tales

2. Gummi Bears

3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

4. Chip N Dale Rescue Rangers

5. The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest

6. Captain Planet (outro)

7. Pink Panther

8. Tom & Jerry Kids

9. Jungle Book/Mowgli

And since I grew up in Oman, I’d watch cartoons dubbed in Arabic as well:

10. Little Princess (We knew it as Sally)

11. Daddy Long Legs (I used to call it Judy)

12. Boumbo

13. I was just going to wrap up this list when I remembered He-Man!! So by the power of grey-skull, I bring to you, the intro :)

Growing up in the 90s

The 90s was a fantastic decade to grow up in! We had awesome TV shows like Buffy, Roswell and Charmed; pop music wasn’t about being a ‘Stupid hoe’; we read magazines like Smash Hits; watched awesome cartoons like Duck Tales and TMNT; and decorated everything with glitter. Yep! Good ‘ol days indeed.

Here’s a list of my favourite things from the 90s:

Boy bands: Boyzone, Backstreet Boys, N Sync, Five (or 5ive), Ultra, 911, A1, Another Level, O-Town, Code Red… I’m gonna stop right there. Looking back, I often wonder why I even spent my precious pocket money on half those records (audio tapes and then CDs) but boy, was I hooked!

MTV: Remember the days when MTV actually played music videos? And awesome ones at that too! I ‘discovered’ bands like Metallica, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, R.E.M. etc. solely thanks to MTV. (Yes, I did listened to all those bands in the 90s as well.)

Freddie Prinze Jr.: If you were a dorky girl back in high school – heck, any girl for that matter – I totally bet you had fantasies about meeting a guy like Zack Siler who’d sweep you off your feet. All my teenage fantasies revolved around Zack, come to think of it.

Fear Street: If you grew up in the 90s and without reading Fear Street (or for some others, Sweet Valley High) then I feel sorry for you. My Fear Street collection was something I was really proud of and I think I’ve read almost all the books in the series. Party Summer was my favourite.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: How the heck did we go from the likes of Angel and Spike to Edward Cullen? Tsk. Tsk.

Top of the Pops (magazine): I remember saving up aaaall my pocket money to buy TOPT. I’d immediately pull out the gigantic poster and put it up on my wall… and then do the same with the single/double page posters. Yes, my wall resembled a decoupage box.

Young Times: Which kid growing up in the Middle East in the 90s didn’t read YT? Best magazine ever!