In Soviet Russia, nostalgia feels you! that didnt quite come out right, but yeah the question isn't too far off. is it possible to feel nostalgia for something you've never known, from somewhere you've never been?
I have been a huge Russophile from probably the age of five. I grew up in a family chock-full of believers in the communist ideology, not least of whom being my mother and my grandfather. We had a subscription for Misha magazine from where i learnt the Russian alphabet. My mother herself took Russian in college, that language being one amongst the many she went on to learn. I had penpals from the soviet union, and the prized stamp in the collection that we inherited was one from the communist East Germany. Thinking back, i owe a lot to my love for all things russian, since it was a boyhood fanaticism for their aircraft that got me started on the aviation road. or airway, rather.
One of the things i do is spot airplanes. And when it comes to that, the rarer the better. If it flies and is weird, i probably know a thing or two about it. I have cherished memories of a long list of strange aircraft sightings, from an Antonov 124 at delhi to an Ilyushin 18 in trivandrum, and all the way back to delhi for a cargo 707 which is a rare thing these days. I would travel miles if i could get to see the An-225, and i would travel back in time if i could to see the Air India Il-62 and L-1011. To be frank, the regular Airbuses and Boeings are kinda boring, to the point that even the paramount Embraers are a relief for me.
Cheburashka - Can you see how the nickname came to be?
And what i haven't had the chance to see, I read up about. I have a sizeable database on the weird planes of the world, and keep adding to it on almost a daily basis. Which brought me, a couple of years ago, to a most interesting aircraft, the Antonov-74. I had been looking for an aircraft the russians nicknamed the 747ski (which is actually the Antonov 30), dont ask me why i needed to know that, and i stumbled on this airplane instead. And this, in turn, was nicknamed 'Cheburashka', apparently after the Soviet animated character it resembled.
So, wiki-fan that i am, i immediately went on the Cheburashka page, to look it up. Airplanes were soon forgotten (i remembered the 747ski again only months later), and i couldn't get enough of this little chap. Pictures were downloaded, links were opened, youtube videos were watched, and torrents were downloaded. it didnt even disappoint me that i had gotten japanese dubbed versions on torrent, there were very few good torrents in any case. I've watched the video at the top of this post dozens of times now.
And strangely, it felt nostalgic. It felt like i had seen it before, a long long time ago. I know for a fact that i haven't, yet it seemed to fit so seamlessly with my memories from childhood that i was amazed.. i'd say yeah, it IS possible to feel nostalgia for something you've never known. It took me two whole years, but i finally got around to writing this and sharing it here.. Take a look at the video, and if you couldn't love Cheburashka, your friendship contract is probably up for renewal :P
PS - if you do like it, especially the song, i can send it over. or come over myself and sing it. and then hit you on the head non-lethally but severely enough that you wont remember my bad singing. whichever.