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10 reasons why childhood in the 90s was way cooler than it is in 2022

Phantom Sweet Cigarettes, Boomer chewing gum, Powerpuff Girls, collecting tazos... sound familiar? Come in for a nostalgia ride, fellow 90s kid!

The 90s were a blissful time, no doubt. To begin with, there was no social media. So essentially, there was no competition for putting up picture-perfect photographs that gave the illusion of living your best life. Because in reality, we indeed were living our best life, without the need to show it off to random strangers. There were also no mobile phones, just those big black bulky telephones where you had to circle-dial each number to be able to make one phone call. It meant you reached for your appointments on the dot and you valued other people’s time more. All in all, if you grew up in the 90s and raising your child in 2022, your childhood beats your little one's hollow. No arguments there. Here are 10 reasons why...

WWE Cards

Size mattered

Friend: Chest54 inches
Me: 56 inches! Yay!

If you're a late 80s or early 90s kid (no, I'm not going to tell you my year of birth unless you're Ryan Gosling), you know what I'm talking about—the ubiquitous and all-important WWE (then known as WWF) trump cards of our childhood. As someone who’s from that golden era of growing up, we have the distinction of memorising not just the names, but also the vital stats of all the wrestlers by heart. Beat Andre the Giant in the height department? You must be joking. Yokozuna could squash all his competitors like bugs in the weight department, while Hulk Hogan sailed through the rank round. If you say 56 inches to a kid today, they'll probably ask if it's LED or LCD and wonder if there’s a surround system installed as well. Also, as a 90s kid, who could forget the rumour that we all dearly believed in, that The Undertaker used to literally come back from the dead each time? Ah, good times. 

90s: 1
2022: 0

Cartoon Network

The best version of Cartoon Network

The Cartoon Network these days doesn't hold a candle in front of our beloved Cartoon Network of the 90s. We had the best cartoon shows like Dexter's Laboratory, Scooby-Doo, The Flinstones, Popeye the Sailor, Johnny Bravo, Josie and the Pussycats, The Powerpuff Girls, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, The Jetsons, Tom & Jerry… phew, the list is endless! Compare that with the Cartoon Network of today and I feel sad that my son will never grow up watching the best cartoon shows in the world.

90s: 2
2022: 0

kuch kuch hota hai

There was no such thing as too much reality

I have to admit, I owe my die-hard romanticism, penchant for drama and the propensity to heave long, loud sighs when ‘love’ is being discussed to one man and one man alone—Mr. Shah Rukh Khan. Dear SRK, you ruined me for life and even though I may curse you now, I can still mouth "Hum ek baar jeetey hain, ek baar marte hain, pyaar bhi ek baar hoti hai…" along with you and then promptly dissolve into a puddle of sentimental tears, followed by mental callisthenics, aka known as the 'running around trees' dance of Bollywood; much like the ones Kajol performed in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge and Madhuri Dixit in Dil Toh Pagal Hai for my very own Raj/Rahul. Apart from the dance competition show Boogie Woogie, we hardly knew the concept of reality shows. Our entire penchant for song and dance revolved around Bollywood and in my case, like I mentioned, SRK.

And then there are the 2022 kids with their dozens of reality shows and performance pressures and the exhausting prep for their many victories. Just looking at those four-year-olds gyrating their bellies to perfectly synchronised dance moves on TV shows exhausts me. When I was four, reluctant family members and unsuspecting guests were my only live audience and all I had to do was sing one rabindrasangeet without (too many) prompts from the parents to be crowned a child prodigy. Thank God there was no YouTube for my mom to learn that somewhere in the world a two-year-old is singing pitch-perfect songs on reality TV. 

90s: 3
2022: 0


Boyzone vs Bieber

Do you really need me to elaborate? Growing up, there were two teams: Team Boyzone and Team Backstreet Boys. I am convinced the phrase 'bedroom eyes' was invented for Ronan Keating (you can guess which team I belonged to). And while teenage crushes are teenage crushes, no matter which decade they happen in, somehow, I'm not very embarrassed admitting that Ronan made my sacred womanhood tingle at the tender age of 10. My friend and I used to sit at the last bench and write elaborate letters to Shenaz Treasurywala to play our favourite songs on her show MTV's Most Wanted (which was a rage amongst us teenagers back then)! I can't imagine many women voluntarily admitting in 2040 that they had a crush on Justin Bieber when she was a teenager. It's one of those secrets you take to the grave with you.

90s: 4
2022: 0


Speaking of secrets… 

Will the 2022 kids even know what the word means? If it hasn't been caught on the nanny cam, the various CCTVs in school buses, the school lobbies, the classrooms, at the mall, etc., it will be on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest (or any of the hundreds of social networking sites) in the form of long, loving posts by their expressive parents. Just the thought of such constant scrutiny is unnerving. Just a word of caution, fellow parents. Nothing on the Internet ever truly dies and leaves digital footprint crumbs along the way. One day, your darling angels are going to be rebellious teens and they will dig up your Facebook post postulating about their many fart faces that you received a delighted 50 'likes' for. And, it's not going to be pretty.

Now compare that to my childhood. I still vividly remember the day we got our first computer. I was 10. I remember crying with joy. It was a huge, bulky white thing but I loved it more dearly than I had loved anything else in my young life. The family computer was like a member of the family and the dial-up Internet connection (when it finally came) was like a temperamental house-help showing up only when the fancy took her. This is where you hear the trrrr-peeeen-beep-beep-trrrr of the dial-up connection of the 90s in your mind. There was no social media, so all our embarrassing childhood pictures are neatly stuck in the family albums lovingly locked by our moms inside the closet. And, that’s where they should stay.

90s: 5 
2022: 0

Super Mario

Mind-blowing video games

It was almost 20 years ago, but I think my sister still hates me a little for making her play Luigi to my Mario every single time. The bulky video game console with two joysticks attached to it was our getaway to nirvana. From Duck Hunt, Tetris, Mario, and Pac-Man to Road Rush and Circus; the options were endless and each one was better (and more addictive) than the other. Sorry kids of 2022, but PS4 is nothing compared to the '6666 games in 1' video game cassettes of my childhood.

90s: 6
2022: 0


Because Pluto was a freaking planet!

My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets. Don’t we all remember this sentence as 90s kids, that used to help us in remembering the names of the planets in our solar system?

I’d like to emphasize on the word nine here--Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Yes, PLUTO. The friendly ball of ice. When I was a kid, Pluto was a card-carrying, certified member of the planetary system. And now, all of a sudden, my childhood seems like a lie, because, they say Pluto is no longer even a planet. In August 2006 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) downgraded the status of Pluto to that of a ‘dwarf planet’. Dear kids of 2022, I feel bad that your solar system is devoid of the most adorable planet ever. 

90s: 7
2022: 0


Lovable comic books

I grew up on a healthy dose of reading the adventures of Tintin, Chacha Chaudhary, Pinki and Asterix. Back when I was a kid, one Tintin comic book cost Rs. 50. I would dutifully save the money I’d get during birthdays or festivals to buy myself a Tintin book from the local bookstore. That’s how I completed collecting the entire collection! And who can forget the lovable Tinkle and Champak comic books? The stories of Shikari Shambu, Suppandi, Tantri the Mantri and Kalia the Crow in Tinkle are characters that we will always fondly remember and dissolve in a puddle of nostalgia while flipping through those pages again.

Kids in 2022 would rather sit with their mom’s iPad playing the latest games or listen to Cocomelon songs on YouTube than be excited about reading comic books. Now, isn’t that a tragedy?

90s: 8
2022: 0


Toys were toys, not political statements 

When I was growing up, we greedily grabbed whatever toys came our way. And our parents let us play with whatever a kind aunt or uncle gifted, provided that they were safe, relieved that they wouldn't have to spend on toys. Parents have become more aware, and more self-conscious. Now, everything is a political statement. They have to be non-toxic, age-appropriate, size-appropriate, recycled, recyclable, in line with the parents' ideological beliefs, gender-neutral, mentally stimulating, physically challenging, aurally pleasant and visually aesthetic. This is why, when I visit my friends' newborns, I hand the baby an envelope with cash in it. That’s the safest bet these days.

90s: 9
2022: 0

Board games

Board games were our favourite time-pass 

We could spend afternoon after afternoon playing a game of Ludo, carrom, Snakes & Ladders or Chinese Checkers. As soon as the clock struck 5 o’clock, we would run away to the nearby ground to play cricket, football or some other sport. Kids of today hardly go out and play outdoors or even indoors. Screen time has taken over everything. Sigh!

90s: 10
2022: 0

I could go on and on and on. And since this is the worldwide web, maybe I will. But the point is, our childhood totally trumps that of the ‘kids these days'. Now that I have established the unmatched supremacy of the 90s childhood, excuse me while I go smoke my Phantom Sweet Cigarettes in solitude and ponder over the meaning of life.