Those were simpler times. The trucks were Tata or Ashok Leyland, the cars were Premier Padminis or Ambassadors (in about '84, also Marutis -- for a brief period Dolphins and Standard 2000's) or Mahindra Jeeps.
The roads were rough and two-laned, Television was only one channel (two if you lived in one of the four metros) -- evenings were black and white on the regional broadcast, colour on the national service (which began at 9:00pm).
The news was a brief capsule of Ministers cutting red-ribbons on dams, hydel power stations and sahitya sammelans (here they only lighted lamps, and got some footage on the podium, babbling continuously with the sound turned off). When they went off, on came Rajiv Gandhi, reading from a script, "Humein Dekhna Hai...".
Friday nights meant NDTV's The World This Week hosted by Prannoy Roy. And after hearing about Ronald Reagan being shot, and Israel decimating Lebanon, the family would collectively sigh, "Thank God we're Indian".
Election nights meant analysis by Prannoy Roy and Vinod Dua with an old classic thrown in for good measure. V.P. Singh won once (I wanted him to win, he looked like such a righteous old chap), and prattled on about Mandal this, Mandal that.
Ice cream meant a choice between Kwality and Jumbo or Joy (Later on, Dinshaw's added itself to the list), eventually all succumbing to Vadilal. Soft drinks meant ThumsUp or GoldSpot (with the occasional horror experience of RimZim and Campa Cola).
Playing Pakistan meant being whipped by Imran or Javed or both.
The monotony of school and play was punctuated once a year by the local jatra, where we would buy dumroos, tin motor-boats fueled by miniature oil-lamps, a wooden talwaar-dhaal set, and feathered paper caps that smelt really bad (like a chicken coop to be precise).
Indira Gandhi was shot by her bodyguards. I was at home, at the dining table, eating dahi-bhaat when I heard the news.
The only things worth holding on to from those times were the comics.
Vishal Patel writes about this and more here. 'Uproariously funny', is the verdict.