Saturday, October 6


It was a time to think back on the third/ fourth grade science text book when the news channel aired the black and white images of Sputnik rushing off to space. The 50th year anniversary of man's foray into space; and the emerge of "star wars"; the epic moment of when fiction becomes fact is today, another day; which then, was a moment unparalleled in the history of mankind. While India rejoices on "her"(!!??) daughter Sunita William's glory in the world history ... I spent a few minutes thinking about my school teacher who made me spell Yuri Gagarin right, and admonished us kids for giggling over Laika - the first dog (or was it the monkey?) in space and got amused all over again with thoughts of what Maneka Gandhi would have told them on having blasted a poor animal to space. Today, space travel is the ultimate in showing off your obscene amounts of wealth. Recently, sitting at my Doc's clinic, I read about space sex ....hmmm... we-ll.... I guess space sex takes Pretty Woman to the next century eh?

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. :-)


Zee said...

to ur first u know that land on the moon's up for sale?

to vividh bharti, how about doordarshan? krishi darshan? chitrahaar? seems like yesterday...

Still searching said...

Lol! The last line was funny!

Well I've never even come across Vividh Bharti on my radio frequency, I think it automatically skips the channel when tuning! But I have to say I definitely remeber the time of the black and white tv, when there was only one channel to watch. My dad says life was easier then, after having surfed through 100 channels and not found anything to watch.

Bullshee said...

I found the post really sweet....and I don't generally find things sweet :)

Strider said...

real nice post!

Sakshi said...

Sigh. I love Vividh Bharati. So many memories are tied to that radio - and bianca geetmala. I remember I used to write the songs on the countdown and get the writing checked by Ma ... hehehee what a way to get your grammer checked :P

Sakshi said...

Sigh. I love Vividh Bharati. So many memories are tied to that radio - and bianca geetmala. I remember I used to write the songs on the countdown and get the writing checked by Ma ... hehehee what a way to get your grammer checked :P

Ajith said...

space sex seems to be an interesting concept ..Which was that magazine :) ?

Adarsh said...

Vividh Bharti.... the very apna radio :) This post remimnded me of my school and JEE preparation days, when I used to listen to vividh bahrti.
My parents a BIG fans of Vividh Bharti. Even today, in this world of cable TV, PC, Inernet, and all.. they listen to the late night melodies on Vividh Bharti as they go to sleep. Dad has 2 radios,the older, broken and repaired one being his favorite.
I tried to imitate that unique, monotonous, deadpan way of RJing once (yes, I actually RJed for few hours, though not on national radio but on our very own internet radio in IITKgp) and could not get it right. Believe me.... getting that tone if TOUGH !!!
On a totally different note... Space Sex !!! which magazine was it ?? :P

arpana said...

@ zee - nope, thanks for that trivia!

@Still searching, Agreed, those were the days :)

@ bullshee - glad you did O great Mallu :)

@strider - thanks

@sakshi - sahi !!

@ajit - not sure dude, this time around when I cisit the doc , I'll make sure I know the name - be sure it was some chick time pass types of a magazine - on the lines of womans era I think

@adarsh - lol.