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Tuesday, 23 October 2012

All India Radio

When i first fell in love, i can,t even remember, may be  my first crush hit me  when i was about ten. This love affair with radio..exactly when it happened. Early childhood days, i remember my father shaving in front of the mirror and the tiny radio playing Assamese songs and  father waiting for the 9'o'clock news. ' This is All India Radio.. the news read to you by..' what a voice..stern, so nonsense..and that impeccable English which i could make out most of the times. Confession..many times I,m happy with subtitles in Hollywood soaps and serials..and a hush hush thing even if i watch an episode of Friends for the nth time there is always something new that I,ve missed before or so it seems.

Grandpa owned something like it
Google Images
 My early childhood days ma used to switch on the radio at mid noon 12:30 which started with the music of a Bengali song ,' Hao dharamete dheer, how karamete beer nahi bhoi..'  I hardly ever heard the song but the music was a phenomenon.. 12:30..just the middle of the day..and the music..then came my favourite ' Sainik Bhaion ka Karyakram'  It started with ' Aaj ka Geet' requested by many Sainik Bhais later i remembered the names as well... Radio became such an integrated part of daily life as i began to enter teens, a getaway to the outer world may be from the tiny room i occupied for studies, from Bhupen Hazarika to Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey classicals to English country songs..i remember carrying  the little magical device with me bathroom bedroom to the bed..people began calling me akin to the daily labourers, rickshaw pullers loitering around with a pocket radio..i was embarrassed but radio, me, eagerly waited Chitrahaar songs to be played again we sailed along...

Evenings most of the days I,d wake up to the 5:15 request programme on Guwahati Station.' Chitramanjari'if i remember correct..alternate Assamese and Hindi songs..i,d wait for the Hindi songs and kept falling in love with the Assamese songs bit by bit..Night was on with 9:30 request programme by Vividh Bharti followed by Chhaya Geet.. theme songs so to say with an anchor with romance and nostalgia in voice and then finally request programme again from 10:30. But not to be satisfied with these and taking lessons from my neighbour i listened to Nepali channel at night for Hindi film songs complete with Nepali ads!! Then my discovery was All India Radio Urdu service I guess it came upto 12 in short wave and with words like ' fankar' , ' mausiki', ' nagma nigar' ( If i can spell them correct) my Guwahati nights in early nineties were indeed colourful. Though in between constant changing of the band from short to medium wave  Papa,s radio gave in.. and did i give in as well...

Got a new radio in my 10th class birthday..and newly found was film ads programme Chitralok..came right in the morning 8:15..All these before onslaught of television and onslaught of the mind.. I didn,t fall out of love with the tiny device college, university, working days and it didn,t let me down either .. FM the frequency modulated wave band gave it a new lease of life. FM began in small towns with broadcast of Vividh bharati programmes, lots of  request programmes with names of a host of listeners and mostly ' chalu' songs but good audio quality after all..long awaited for listeners like me.

Almost like the one i had
Google Images

Delhi gave a host of channels to choose from Radio Mirchi, Radio City, Red FM but somehow I missed All India radio difficult to trace in the FM jungle...constant chatter of RJ,s, flurry of new songs with missing melody..was i missing my old love in my old home. My new radio in the city was again a combined gift by my colleagues when we joined workplace newly, needless to say i went about demanding unashamedly for a radio in my birthday!! Purani Jeans in Radio Mirchi, Love Guru in Radio City and yes the story of a girl called Maya in her husky voice and her army boy friend at around 12... those were my initial days in the city.

After marriage a different tussle altogether..soft numbers lulling me to sleep was a no no as husband longed for some 'peace and quiet' ( though full volume Radio Mirchi in the car did not give him his quota of peace and quiet). My radio crashed and i nagged after husband to get it mended.. ' In Delhi..where do i fix a radio...' he sounded clueless Mobile was the latest gadget for radio and i managed to acquire one , by that time i had discovered FM gold. Finally i settled with the radio in digital photo frame at home placed comfortably at bed side with FM gold and BIG FM churning old numbers through out the day...( I still could not set the other channels)
The one i have now

I didn,t know when i beacme an old hindi music lover..and new songs barring a few failed to leave a mark..Gulzar, a dash of Urdu at times and some Ghazals at FM gold 5:10 show . My parents.. Baba always spoke about Akashvani Kolkata and Anurodher Asar and how it used to be a festival in the  neighbour hood and Ma about Radio Ceylon and Binaca Geetmala when in those days Hindi film songs were a taboo in Bengali household and she used to switch off as soon she heard her father,s footsteps.. This also reminds me  of Radio in Kolkata during my short stay the variety, the melody the mix of  Bangla and Hindi songs, R.D, S.D combos added to the charm of the city apart from the spectacular food and gregarious public

So many shows.. so many songs..one stumble after another..i remember Phone in Kalpataru ( Kalpataru as in ' The wish fulfilling tree') from All India Radio Guwahati and the mesmerizing voice of the anchor. It used to come every first and third sunday, my mother drooling over ' Koto jawanor mrityu hol' by Bhupen Hazarika ,me listening to Pal Pal dil ke pass umpteenth time, sharing in morning assembly at school with my best buddy the songs of Chhaya Geet previous night..

I still listen to the radio.. ' yaadon ke idiot box' sometimes with middle class nostalgic sentiments, ' Purani Jeans' with RJ,s having good voice and command , ' Andaze Bayan'...and most of all i love the radio while driving, my newly acquired skill in very raw form while Delhi roads are a delight ( very rare instances) and lazing about in bed after sending daughter to school and if some rain behind the window.. and Aaj hoon na aye balma...sawaan beeta jaye and a cup of tea with Jhalmuri..( yes yes very bong style)...My first love and me we came a long way....together.