Vacation months were simply fabulous. Sure we had our holiday homework and chores to do. But even then, there was so much time to while away.
The summer days were terribly hot and it was inhuman to let any child outside to play. So we were to sit indoors and device ways to keep ourselves engaged. At least until sunset. We woke up late. And we spent some time in front of the TV watching the Quran reading and the Kuwaiti Folk Dance programmes. What kept us waiting were the cartoons that were aired right after these two items. Tom and Jerry, some Japanese cartoons, Heidi, Little Princess, and Daddy Long-legs – all these were dubbed in Arabic. We didn’t really understand too much, but they were cartoons and we wouldn’t miss it for the world. The Kuwaiti TV channels began their western programmes much later in the day. Around 4pm. That is when sitcoms like Saved by the Bell, and Charles in Charge, were shown. This time, in English.
We were not allowed outdoors, but we still could play in the corridors of the building. Cricket was not a big thing back then. Not to the Indian kids born and brought up in Kuwait. Instead, we used to read Nancy Drews, Famous Fives, Secret Sevens, and Hardy Boys. And as a spin off, we formulated “secret clubs”. There was a janitor’s closet at end of the corridor and one day, we found the door was unlocked. Seven of us bundled inside the tiny room and decided this is where we will have secret meetings from now on. We had a name – the Blue Birds club. The name came from the school bus we used to take to school. The big yellow school buses made by the “Blue Bird company”.
We used to play cowboy-cowboy. Nothing sophisticated… We were cowboys and we used to imagine we have horses and that we are riding them everywhere we go. So instead of walking or running around like regular kids, we would “gallop” everywhere J It probably came up from the Westerns we used to see in Eastman color. We did not understand a word. But we loved watching them.
Sitting on the half-broken building wall, we fervently discussed about Captain Majid and his incredible soccer team. Captain Majid was this Japanese cartoon about a soccer team. We used to watch it – of course, in Arabic. When we were fired up sufficiently, we scampered off to the open space to play, while some of the “grown ups” made membership badges for the Blue Birds club. I don’t remember the names of most of my playmates from back then, except a girl named Meera. And that was probably because I did not like her all that much. These were the pre-Gulf War days, some 20 years ago. Today, when I see an old episode of Small Wonder or when I hear the theme song of the Mickey Mouse club (M-I-C-K-E-Y…remember??), all these come rushing back to my mind in disjoint snippets. I feel nostalgic and I try to Google and YouTube them out.
Sadly, that is all I can do now to become a Cowboy, a Japanese Soccer Player, and a Blue Bird all at once.
CAPTAIN MAJID : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNNuWt7wsZo
BLUEBIRD SCHOOL BUS : http://www.harrydavis.com/long009.jpg
OLD KUWAITI TV SHOW : http://www.youtube.com/watchv=n9H3Iu91csc&feature=related
LITTLE PRINCESS : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q322I2DJfn0