The Moonstruck Columns

The Television Generation (Part I)

As the clock would hit seven o’clock on a random weekend, I would eat my evening meal a little slower trying to stall my homework time, to catch a few more Looney Tunes from that hour.

Paa pa-ra-pa-ra-ta-ta-ta-ra-ta-ta-taaaa! Ra-ta-ta-ta-taaaa taaaa tan! Bug’s delightful face would appear amongst the familiar red spiral, chewing his familiar carrot, following the Warner Bros. logo. Boy, it was refreshing!

Back in those days, you could fix your clocks and fine-tune your watches by my sentience of the schedule of those programs. I think I still remember; let’s see.

Umm… On a weekday, The Mask would air sharp at three, The Centurions at three-thirty, Swat Kats at four, Ninja Robots at half past four, Dexter’s Laboratory at five, five-thirty would show Tom & Jerry Kids, Johnny Quest would follow after that, Captain Planet at half past six, The Flintstones sharp at seven, The Adams’ Family at seven-thirty, Scooby Doo at eight and finally finish off with The Popeye Show at half past eight before a funny animated sequence of a bomb blast would lead right into TNT.

On an average weekend morning, I was allowed to watch only after I finished my homework and only for a while so before being shooed off to bath, I would catch Speed Racer at midday with a little Whacky Racers short at half past twelve before the second part of the Speed Racer would resume. And at five thirty on weekends, they would show the Tom & Jerry show, the original Hanna-Barbara cartoons which defined every one of us. At seven on weekends they would show Looney Tunes ending with The Popeye Show at eight-thirty as usual.

If I was at home on a weekday, I would watch The Road Runner Show at one followed by The Adventures of Tintin at half past one.

Hmm, not too bad! (Pats on my back!)

I remember how the guy used to say – ‘Watch The Flintstones, weekdays at 7 pm India, only on Cartoon Network.‘ Those were my first English lessons which taught me the most! Mom really detested the whole ‘Cartoon Network’ affair, but I know she still secretly admits how grateful she was to it as well. After all, it was one of the prime reasons that I started eating raw carrots (reciting “Eh… What’s up doc?”) and Spinach (I begged her to let me eat from a can with “SPINACH” written on the body, but she won’t) in the first place! Every Mom would want that!

A pact between my Mom and me would be made after each of my exams stating that I am not to be barred from watching cartoons till two weeks before my next set of exams! I owe it to these pacts, I had seen the best cartoons of my generation.

Christmas time was ball. They would start showing Christmas specials seven days before and they would continue till the New Year’s Day. I watched them all. Such innocent bliss.

And before I knew it, an entire generation had passed me by. In years to come, when I would be leaving my teens, I would try following Cartoon Network once again, but it would seem to have originated from a different galaxy entirely. All my shows had passed on to a newer, lazier and duller generation. I feel robbed of my own childhood.

I don’t remember having a smartphone or the idiotic games that came with it or even internet for that matter. We now belong to a time where you are allowed to pause live television. Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of television? How exciting was it to check your watch twice every minute just to spring to your feet and sit in front of the television to catch your favourite show! Sometimes I doubt if we are in the right side of evolution.

As for me, I would exchange my dumb smartphone for that old cartoon network which has more than enough ammunition to make me forget the need of a phone…

Dear Cartoon Network (The ‘REAL’ one)We still remember you and you will live as long as we live. So long and thanks for all the carrots, doc!

‘The Television Generation’

P.S. – This is an ode just for Cartoon Network! There’s more for others. I didn’t forget them…


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