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V: VCP – Video Cassette Player

April 25, 2015

(I must admit here that this has been the most difficult letter yet, I even looked up a dictionary to get ideas. But suddenly it occurred to me that V for video could be interesting, and then progressed to VCP! Yay!)

Back in the 90s when cable TV wasn’t something everyone had, computers hadn’t made their way into homes just yet, if you wanted to watch a movie, going to the cinema was an option. The other, of course, was a VCP – a video cassette player. Now our family wasn’t affluent enough to afford to own one. So, like many other families I knew, every once in a while we would rent a player and a couple of movies. It would be a much anticipated affair, planned with a group, usually neighbours or cousins. We would go to great lengths to pick the movie – which language, what movies and also, the number of movies chosen carefully to get the best value for money that we were spending on renting the player. 

I recall watching Bobby at an uncle’s place, and while I hardly remember most of the movie, what vividly stands out what this – my uncle loudly saying, ‘All you kids, close your eyes!!’ when Dimple Kapadia appears in a swimsuit 🙂

Then there were sessions with neighbours. I don’t recall the movies I watched, but I distinctly recall one movie which I decided not to watch. Sis1 and Sis2 went to our neighbour’s place to watch The Exorcist. I was either deemed too young or I refused to go – I don’t remember exactly. They came back and were discussing some scenes. I recall them talking about a scene where the girl is sitting on her bed and it begins to spin on its own accord. That was enough to make me reeeeally glad I hadn’t watched it. To this day I haven’t watched a single horror movie. No thank you. 

We’ve graduated from VCPs to computers to DVD players to iPads. And of course, multiplexes. But as is usually the case, the experience of watching movies with a small group, after choosing what to watch after much deliberation, was a lot of fun, and forms a special part of my childhood nostalgia. 

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