Young Times

Oct 30, 2013

I was rummaging through old stuff when I came across this. For children who grew up in the Middle East in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, this magazine would easily fall in to the ' fond childhood memories' category.

My first contact with Young times came in 1993, when we shifted to Doha. Sister had to do a project and Uncle came up with some old Young Times issues and she happily used some of the clippings in making a scrap book. Thereafter,  father subscribed for the magazine so that our reading skills and vocabulary would improve.

In 1994, I joined school and slowly started with my YT journey. Initially,  I used to be content reading the comics and the Otto club section. I have consistently read every issue until July 2006. We used to specifically tell our newspaper provider "Uncle" to save us our copies when we would go to India for our vacations. There used to be a ceremonial Tuesday war in my home on who gets to read the magazine first !

My reading craze began with Young Times. My late night reading habit got strengthened with Young Times. There used to be 2 YT copies under my pillow every single day ! ( Now it is smart phone aka tweeting device) How much ever we promised our mom that we would keep the YT stack neat and tidy, it could never be done. We had to read, re-read and re-re read YT old issues over and over again. Seeing our YT strewn room, mother would always comment, " Evide nokkiyalum Young Times" ( Wherever I look , I find Young Times! )

Slowly from comics and short story, I passed on to reading the weekly cover story, Postscript, Backstage, Aunt Alice & Ask Marisa, the coloumn by Munawwar Shariff ( did I get the name right?) and so on and so forth. I still remember the hue and cry which went on for months on wanting a complete Back Street Boys issue, first raised by Sara M. (?) and also the stories published such as Saman Zaar, Anmol, When in love by Shahbaaz Anwerr, A will to go on or the issues raised in the Cover Story section such as Save Water, handling Exam stress, Trolley bags in school. Who can forget the weekly posters or YT famed Shane & Talia or Otto & Totto !

In 2006, I left Doha to continue with my education. My younger brothers used to save up the issues for me to read when I got back for holidays but with passing time and age, I had slowly started losing my YT craze. A couple of years later, when I came back for holidays, brother said me, YT stopped publishing... and I knew a wonderful part of my childhood was over.

A couple of years ago, I came across the twitter page of Ashraf Ghori. I was quite thrilled to get in touch with a YT illustrator ! YT does have a twitter/FB page currently, though not updated often.

If Young Times was published still, what issues would it cover ? Would there be a hue and cry for One Direction/Justin Bieber posters? What questions would the current adolescents and teens have for Aunt Alice and Marisa?

Nomadic or mobile existence is a very common aspect in the life of expatriates based in the Middle East. I donot stay in the same house I grew up in.( Threw away almost all our YT copies when we shifted our house!) I did not do my higher education in the country I grew up in and with all probability,  I might not settle down there too.

Tangible evidences of my childhood is being slowly replaced. But then, I have a truckload of wonderful memories of a childhood well-lived ! ( Alhamdulilah)

.... and Young Times surely holds a prominent position in  that truckload !

( A quick Google search led me to this piece by a former editor of YT and this by a Young Timer)