Prevalent popular culture often records history better than grand tomes written by eminent historians. Since the last three centuries, the records of events have been steadily improving which helps us to have a glimpse of what happened during various periods of time and then ruminate over them. Sometimes, while reading old books, hearing music or watching movies of bygone days, the details bring the era alive before us. Very often, we look back upon those times with a smile playing on our lips, because however pristine, good or memorable the experience may have been, past always seem to be somewhat foolish place to be. That of course, is with a lot of hind sight , definitely.
Take music for instance. Whenever I listen to songs dating 70 years back or more, I am struck by the nasal tone of the singers. Maybe it was the style then and perhaps the recording of the songs were more responsible for that. And the sounds of various forgotten instruments like Banjo, Clarionet, Saxophone , flutes and my favourite Piano accordion , to name a few. They just transport me to a different world. One can only wonder how the singers would have fared under the modern techno funk sounds and faster paced music regime.
Not for a moment, I am belittling the songs or the singers. Personally, I like them and feel delighted to hear them. But at the same time the nasal tones of famous singers also makes me imitate them with a slightly juvenile naughtiness. Then, watching the characters in different movies always wearing a lot of suits and smoking pipes and cigars also makes me feel amused. And the clipped accents with slightly affected styles of speech are also quite funny. Or so, it seems nowadays.
Basically reliving the past or watching it unfold always makes us compare with the present and trying to equate or juxtapose the events in the light of what is happening now. A case in point which I would like to mention is the involvement of USA in Afghanistan. Now this happened during my lifetime and more so within the span of my adulthood. Just three decades and how things have changed. Even the perception of good, bad, friend, enemy, everything changes with time.
The other day I was watching the James Bond movie- The Living Daylights, on TV , for the nth time. Yes, the one with Timothy Dalton playing 007. By the way, All the James Bond movies have been watched for the nth time, by me; much to the chagrin and dislike of my son and wife. But that is beside the point. What I want to highlight is that, in the movie James Bond helps and is helped by the Afghan Mujahideen . The movie was released in 1987. In another movie Rambo III of 1988 , Sylvester Stallone is on a mission to get his ex-boss Colonel Trautman released from the Russian prison in Afghanistan. Those were the days when the Afghan rebels were the darlings of the western establishment and the cold war with USSR was on its last leg. How times change.