“You know you’re a ’90s kid if...” — if you search that phrase online, thousands of results will tell you what binds a generation to this decade. For many twenty-somethings — who now constitute a major part of the consumer segment — this decade is imbued with a sentimental nostalgia they are happy to relive.
The decade was a period of change — whether it was a media landscape with American sitcoms such as Friends sweeping the nation, or disposable cameras replacing more cumbersome models. The fact that the end of the ’90s heralded an even faster move — from ‘cellular phones’ to smart phones, cassettes to CDs, and Lego to PlayStation – made that decade even more special.
“It was such a great era, with equal amounts of kitschy over-the-top products as well as technological innovations — I remember how thrilling it was when the Walkman came out in India in the early ’90s,” says Tarun Makhija, 29, a Juhu-based mechanical engineer. To commemorate this era, a table lamp made of repurposed music cassettes has pride of place in Makhija’s home. “It’s an immediate conversation-starter,” he says.
Join the bandwagon. Here is an array of new products, ranging from Pacman-themed lamps to a notebook inspired by Lego, which let you time-travel back to your childhood.
Space invaders wall decal
When homemaker Mausam Jhala, 34, redecorated her baby’s room, she steered away from the usual pink and blue. “The space invaders decal evoked so many childhood memories of videogames, of imagination, playing with my siblings, and so on, that I had to have it for my baby,” she says. Made by Wondrous Wall Art, the decal features the retro game, complete with pixelated space creatures.
Graphic designer Carl Mascarenhas, 25, says that as a kid during the ’90s, there was one video game that predated all other Nintendo and Playstation addictions — Pacman. “Pacman was the only game we had on our computers then, but it kind of vanished when new computers and games came in,” he says. “This lamp is our tribute to that rage.” The lamp, manufactured by Shady Ideas, an online lamp store that Mascarenhas runs, features the colourful Pacman ‘ghosts’ on its panels, and the hungry Pacman on top.
Cost: Rs 1,675
To break the ice at formal meetings, digital marketer Karan Ohri, 32, brings out his visiting card holder — a kitschy black-and-white steel case, featuring the extinct 1-Paisa coin. “People immediately start talking about how they haven’t seen that curved coin in years,” says Ohri.
Cost: Rs 490
Public relations professional Stuti Tawakley, 24, loves stationery. “When I saw these Lego notebooks online, I immediately purchased half a dozen of them,” says the Thane resident.
The Lego notebooks, which come in a variety of colours, are shaped like building blocks, familiar to anyone who used the toy in the ‘90s, a time before more complex and expensive games. “We have sold more than 2,000 of the notebooks since we started retailing them in November 2014,” says Tejas Jhaveri, the founder of Flintstop, an e-store for quirky stationery and home accessories. “There’s so much nostalgia associated with them.”
Cost: Rs 350
Space gun ketchup dispenser
Dental assistant Juhi Kapadia says she loves her space gun ketchup dispenser, but it usually results in a mess. “People love using it so much that they totally overestimate how much ketchup they need,” laughs the 31-year-old. “A friend pretended to be engaged in a space battle once, and got ketchup all over the table.”
“There is this childhood nostalgia associated with such guns, which were a ‘90s child’s idea of the future. It’s one of our bestselling items,” says Vivek Mathur, CEO of Giftease, an online gifting portal that retails the gun, under its in-house brand Urban Chakkar.
Cost: Rs 299
Camera Film Toothpick Holder
If you reminisce the superiority of non-digital cameras, this toothpick holder could make your point for you. Fashioned like camera film, for Sneha Raisoni, 27, the holders were a perfect throw-back item to include in her store, Roti Kapda Makaan.
“This camera film has associations of childhood vacations, of time spent with family and posing for photos before posing and deleting could be done a hundred times in a row,” says Raisoni.
Where: Roti Kapda Makaan
Cost: Rs 399