Born in 1980s (Part I) : Golden Era of Doordarshan

When talking about my childhood, first thing that comes into mind is Doordarshan, only a person born in the 80s will be able to relate to the impact it had on one’s life. Although now we may have 100s of channels and 100s of programs to watch. But nothing would ever be as close to what Doordarshan offered at that time. It was a total entertainer, with programs for the entire family to watch together. It played a important part in the fun-family-time.

Anyone born in the 80s would remember how the television era began and what was it like to watch a show on TV.

Firstly, in those days having a TV was a big deal, a real BIG deal. Forget a 50inch LED TV or a Huge Home theater, those days having a 12 inch color TV made you the talk of the town.

Watching a TV program was like a picnic. All friends would gather together to watch a certain program.

I distinctly remember watching Ramayana and Mahabharata. Whoa that was epic… No. I am not calling the series epic, which certainly was, but the way it was watched truly was.

We lived in an irrigation colony (colony: another near extinct aspect of our social lives), which basically comprised of the small houses or quarters provided for employees of State Irrigation department. My father bought one of the first color TVs in the locality and it made us the stars of the colony over night. Since my parents had a very active social life, lot of people were aware of our pride possession πŸ™‚


It was the time when Ramananda Sagar’s Ramayana started on Doordarshan (needless to say Doordarshan was the only TV channel that time). Don’t know if the present generation is even aware of such a channel anymore. On an average we had at-least 25-30 people watching it on a given day. It was like we owned a mini cinema hall… there used be incessant chitter-chatter in the hall but as soon as the introductory music of Ramayana started, there would be pin drop silence. And there always is someone who would shout of a loud β€œRaghupaty Ramachandra ki” followed by a β€œjai” from the crowd.

As much as we enjoyed watching the program we loved the stories and interpretation all the elders gave us after it. It was like a teaching technique they used to educate us about one of the most important works in Hindu mythology. Since it was the first ever series on Ramayana many people thought the actors playing the characters were really God!! Arun Govil, actor who played Ram, in one of his public appearances had to face a crowd of people who believed him to be Lord Ram, people touched his feet, offered him garlands and what not.

But, Ramayana is just a part of the memories I cherish about that era. There were many TV program that were part ‘family-time’ of every house hold viz.


Mahabharata: one of the most big budget shows. It was enthralling to watch. The costumes, the sets, the accurate depiction. We used to have Ramayana and Mahabharata as additional reading for Hindi in school (KV does that to you :P), and these shows helped a lot. I dont remember any one flunking in these two..

Surabhi: proved that a documentary can be so interesting and fun. It may be the presentation of Siddhartha Kak or the sweet smile of Renuka Shaney. Surabhi was the reason for us to brush up our GK at that time, so that we can flaunt what we know in school.

Rangoli (with Hemamalini): although I religiously follow waking-up-at-10 AM on Sundays now. Those days we used to wake up early to watch Rangoli. Specially in cold winter mornings, all of us cuddling together under our quilts and enjoying the hindi melodies..

Byomkesh Bakshi and Tehikikat: needless to say these were the ‘Father’s Fav’. As interesting as they were they did a provide us huge platform for us to have fun father daughter times πŸ™‚

Malgudi days: its still is my favorite show… None can beat that. Ever.

Flop show: now that was a Sardar who can take a good joke. If am correct it was the first sitcom ever on Indian television. He started the satirical comedy. And still has the top spot. R.I.P. Jaspal Bhatti..


Chankya and Bharat ek khoj: at the very outset, these weren’t shows a kid would typically watch. But we were made to watch it if we wanted to watch any other show of our choice. Parents! They can appear to be cruel at times. But cant complain, again these helped me get some real good scores in my History tests.

All these programs had a certain charm about them. They were well researched and well presented. We were always thrilled about watching TV. Adjusting the ‘Antenna’ to get a clear picture, shushing every one around :P. Oh how I miss those days. Even watching the news was so exciting. I distinctly remember Salma Sultan. Ohh, I dreamt of being her when I grow up. Her excellent presentation and the unforgettable flower near her ear. News used to be very very sophisticated and classy those days, no offense to the present news presenters.


And it wasnt the TV shows alone, even the commercials were special.

Lijjat papad : Karram Kurram, mazedaar lizzatdaar, swaad swaad me lijjat papad

Bajaj Bulbs: Jab main chota baccha tha, badi shararat karta tha, meri chori pakdi jati, kyunki roshni deta Bajaj………

Amul Milk: Doodh doodh doodh doodh doodh hai wonderful, Pi sakte ho roz a glassful, Doodh doodh doodh doodh doodh, wonderful doodh…..

Bajaj Scooters (one of my favs ): Buland Bharat ki buland tasveer, hamara Bajaj, hamara Bajaj…..

Lifebouy soaps: Tandurusti ki raksha karta hai lifebouy, lifebouy hai jahan tandurusti hai wahan, lifebouy..

Nirma washing powder: Dhoodh si safedi nirma se aaye, rangeen kapda bhi khil khil jaye, sabki pasand nirma, washing powder nirma, Nirma….

Vicco turmeric Cream: Vicco turmeric nahi cosmetic, vicco turmeric ayurvedic cream…

Gold Spot (another extinct thing): Gold spot the zing thing, gold spot gold spot

Zandu balm: zandu balm zandu balm, peeda haari balm….

ECE Bulbs: Sanya bhooll na jaana , ECE bulb hi laana, dino din chalne wala, ECE bulb lana…

Vicks cough drops: vicks ki goli lo, khich khich door karo

Saridon: Sirf ek saridon aur sardard se aaram…

I can keep going on with list…

I guess what am trying to say is, that period, or rather that Era was something that still crystal clear in my memory. And that something on a person born in 80s would understand. There might be loads of hi-tech shows and sources of entertainment, but nothing would beat the thrill of watching Doordarshan in 1980s..



Author: meetanair

I am just ME.. With my very own idiosyncrasy, I am a regular girl-next-door who voices (in this case just type :P) her opinion freely.

15 thoughts on “Born in 1980s (Part I) : Golden Era of Doordarshan”

  1. very nice..well written….although i m 90s kid nd dnt remember much abt malgudi days..but the chant u mentioned in ramayana actually i did that too….really missing those days…

    1. Hey Abhishek,
      Sorry for the delayed response. M happy you liked the article. M working on the second part now. Will post it soon. keep reading. Would love your comments. Thanks again

  2. Excellent article… I am from that era. I was around 9 years old when Ramayan started.. It makes me sad now to think of those days. Those were such simple days.. Filled with so much fun and happiness.. So much socializing and warmth around.. now we have cut-throat competition everywhere and no time for even our closest friends.. Oh.. how I wish I could just rewind the clock and move back 25 years…. my eyes starting to get wet… Thank you friend for rekindling those sweet sweet memories….

    1. Hi Srikanth,

      M glad you liked the read. Those days must be fresh in memory of every person from that era. And truly, one badly misses those days. Specially now, when people literally don’t even know their neighbors. M working on the second part. keep reading. You comments will be greatly appreciated, specially cos you know the feeling :)..

      1. Hello Meetanair,

        I will wait for the second part. But few more ramblings from my side before that. I generally feel that the value-system has come down in the current generation. They have all the gadgets and the internet but somewhere that human touch is lost. I think deep inside, we are missing those days because we feel they were much better days generally. Nowadays I rarely find anybody lending a helping hand to anybody else.. Every person is busy looking after himself. I don’t know if its my feeling only, but life seems to be more difficult now.

        Enough said from my side πŸ™‚

      2. Whoa.. U just stole my words there. I totally agree, that we have lost human touch (as in, not explicit). Dont know any one now who even celebrate common festivals together. Back in the day, festivities were more fun because everyone came together. Oh how I miss the Holi and Diwali celebrations of that time. And the neighborhood used to be like a big house, with families living together. Now, no one knows their own neighbor! M glad though some people, youngsters that is, are now trying to develop social etiquette (from the few I came across). We just need to remind ourselves that we are Social animals (i remember this line from my primary school book) and that we have to live with some sort of interdependency, and not solidarity.

  3. Brilliant Article… I am also from 80’s era. and I also remember the goodness of those golden days. I remember when Ramayana started my grandmother won’t allow to watch the serial without taking bath. My mother and my aunts and even my Grandma used to cover their heads with sari’s pallu. One more thing.. we were also the hero of our society as my father bought the T.V. and there were a lot of people from our neighbor who used to come our house. There were 4 people on a single person sofa. two on seat and two on each arm of sofa. It was like a mini cinema hall in our living room.My mother used to lay down the mats on floor for making extra sittings.Really it was a good time.. and cherish able memories of my childhood. Watching TV was not only entertainment and fun…. but it was the symbol of love togetherness and harmony in relationship with in the house and around the house…
    Really you have written a good article. Thanks to you for taking me in my childhood memories. All the very best to you . Keep writing….

    1. Hi Neera, glad you liked the post. There are certain memories that stay afresh in your mind forever, this is one of them. And you know what even my mother used to spread down mats in the hall after moving the sofa aside for extra seating. Oh the bonding we used to have earlier, its extinct now! The entire neighborhood was like a big family, it always felt safe back then. Times have changed so drastically. I wish we could get back the same societal setup even now.
      Thanx for your support. Keep reading πŸ™‚

      1. Hi Meeta, glad to receive your reply. you are very humble to your readers. Lovely bonding can be developed between you and your readers. . Your writings inspires me.I am new to WordPress. but here you can get great writers and writings. Like I found you πŸ™‚
        Can I expect little assistance from you to be part of wordpress.

  4. I was born in 1973, and was about 8~9 years when we bought a TV (Dyanora with a SLIDING COVER)…When I started reading your blog, I had tears in my eyes and I am sincerely thankful to you for stirring up those memories…I have two daughters and I wish they were born with the same DOORDARSHAN around…Thanks again

    1. Am so glad you liked it, more so cause you understand what that time was like. I have been working on the second part, and for some reason I am not able to complete it yet. There is just so much to write about that time. I believe that was THE BEST time ever. Kids were kids, they had fun playing around Outside, sneaking into gardens and stealing mangoes or guavas. Today its just something silly! How many kids know who Mogli is?? They know about pokemon, they know chhota bheem, but not Mogli!! I think am getting carried away again! Pardon me! Please keep reading, this is a huge inspiration to write. May you can even share a few things.. πŸ™‚ Thank you!

  5. O GOD, Take away every thing away from me and give those days back to me.
    How unfortunate todays children are, It is such a pity that, they dont know what they have missed.
    What Golden days they were. They were gone. But at least we have seen them.
    Sorry for today generation.
    Ravi born 1981

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