Admid the Radio mirchis and Radio Citys and the Big Radios that the spectrum is clogged with these days, my late nights back home allow me to savor the flavor of the bygone times. Vividh Bharati. Not that I dont like the English muzik that spews from Radio Indigo or dont listen to stupid shayari that is aired on Radio City - here sample this-
"ye zaalim palat ke to dekh, hum bhi to dil rakhte hain
Tum car rakhte ho to kya? hum bhi rickshaw rakhte hain"
Vividh Bharati though holds a different place altogether in my heart. Inspite of its capacity to get hold of monotonous announcers who talk in deadpan voices over the years, inspite of its faux pas that it keeps committing by announcing one song and playing another, inspite of colleagues telling me Ive aged at 24; Vividh Bharati remains a personal favorite.
It celebrates its 50th year anniversary this month. It aired snippets of all the celebrities who had compered its shows like Jaymala and ek-hi-film se; celebrities like Balraj Sahni, Ashok Kumar (yes - he was young too - well, maybe), Dev Anand (can anyone call him old?), Gulzar, and many more whom I did not recognize; played songs that were pure platinum; some of the songs were Wa---yyy beyond me; but the general nostalgia bit me.
Was reminded of the days when we had a small black and white TV with no other channel but doordarshan - the TV was switched on only to listen to Gujrathi and Hindi news. Switching on TV in the mornings was a sin worse than murder; and my dad an avid music buff needed his daily dose of music while he shaved and showered. Dad found a way to bend his beloved wife's rules - switch on the radio - and hum along with it. Teach me songs and dance wierdly to its tunes making me laugh; while fending off questions like "why can you alone shave? why cant I?" and "why are you not shaving the hair on your head?"
A ladies man, my dad, would attract a lot of female attention in the Motinagar Society as he sang along to "Mere saamne wale khidki" , mom would get so irked and angry; and that was when dad would wait for a nice romantic song like "phoolon ke rang se" or " tum bin jeevan" to play and waltz into the kitchen to hold her in his arms and make her shake her head and sigh in resignation at her husband's antics.
I remember these scenes with so much clarity even after a good 17-18 years; a time when we werent too well off, the home was just three rooms - a kitchen, a hall and a bathroom-cum-toilet, but we were laughing, always. When the sound of dad's Silver Plus meant a chocolate and on Sundays, an outing to Lal Bagh. And Vividh bharati - and my dad's imitations of all the announcers and his sing along songs and women - even married- who always were vying for his attention :D (which of course used to make mom go soooo mad with jealousy).
Im glad I return late from office, in time to listen to Vividh bharati; even after 50 years, it still keeps putting people to sleep with its army of deadpan announcers. :-)