Radio, I Still Love You!

Not sure if it is due to the holiday season that’s kicking in or, the last showers of the monsoon that’s been trickling down my roof, but I seemed to be overwhelmed with nostalgia since morning. With nothing much to do in the small cantonment town that I live in, I discovered the joys that lay hidden in a simple hand held device. No, it isn’t the mobile phone that I am talking about, but a small black radio it is. Proxy

Way back in the eighties, most households possessed a television box. Oh well! It sure could be called one, when you compare it to the sleek flat screens of today. It wasn’t the only source of entertainment as there wasn’t a concept of 24/7 telecast. So, the radio occupied an important spot in most homes. It was tuned in for news, music and for all other things through the day. Growing up in Bangalore as a young girl, I distinctly remember my father’s fascination for the radio. Every night it would be pulled out and placed on the parapet wall of the balcony. He had demarcated spots were the signal would be at its best. And late in the night was the perfect time to listen to good old English classics on Short Wave.

The Philips radio in our home would be the first thing my mom would turn on in the wee hours of morning. Vividh Bharti it was, and the programs broadcast would actually tell us, if it was time to run for the school bus. The radio served as a clock too. Lazy Sunday afternoons were in the company of Derek O’Brien and the Bournvita Quiz Contest. It sure was one of a kind back then.

In those days of minimal screen time, my earliest memories of the radio is listening to Triveni, Hawa Mahal, Aap ki Farmaish, and Fauji Bhaiyon ke liye. Oh wait, there’s more! Sangeet Sarita, Bhule Bisre Geet and Bioscope ki Baatein. My mother loved Binaca Geetmala. This was a weekly radio show with top songs from Hindi cinema. The show was broadcast on Radio Ceylon from 1952 to 1988 and later shifted to Vividh Bharti service. It continued to be played till 1994. It was the pioneer of film song countdown and it still remains one of the most popular radio programs in India.

Over the years, growing up and living life on my own, the small pleasure of listening to music from something as simple as a radio has just disappeared. Sadly, the modern avatar of the radio is more fast-paced with the avalanche of FM channels. The commercialization is pervasive, and amidst all this, the romanticism associated with the radio seems to have lost.

Until last week, lying ignored in an old trunk was a black radio. It was a priced possession of my dad, which was handed down to me on his death. The signals came back all loud and clear. The small town cantonment that I live in, wouldn’t catch any FM channels- thankfully! And yet again, I found myself listening to good old Vividh Bharti. Nothing seems to have changed; it was life in its simplest of forms! Despite social media having come up in many ways, despite online telecast on YouTube, the joy of listening to music from that black box was immense.

*Featured Image Source: Pixabay

16 comments

  1. I remember listening to shortwave radio when I was a kid. My dad got me a radio and we could tune to all of these stations from overseas. Mostly, we got static but it was so exciting when a voice clearly announced a radio station very far away.

  2. I loved the days of the radio. We still have an old Phillips one that has to be tuned manually. Random songs, the simple mood and that was the best life ever back then.

    These days I listen to the radio on my iPhone. While cooking and other chores. In an hour, they play songs for 20 minutes and 40 is reserved for the ads. Frustrating it is.

  3. Oh Wow.. I remember all the shows you mentioned. There was also a one hour program on Saturdays at 10 called Saturday Date. We loved that program and would wait with bated breath to listen to some great songs like Everything I do. It was all before satellite television. I am no fan of FM and now only listen to songs on my playlist.

  4. You just brought some nostalgic moments back..my mom used to be such a fan of News and early morning songs. Those were the days when my mom would always start her days with the radio. She would keep singing along. I used to like the new songs and loved some new releases then.

  5. Ahh, good ol’days! Simple life, big memories! We had a small transistor set and a grand old radio at my grandparents place. That was all. No TV. What memorable days we spent fiddling on the knobs to get that one channel right! Beautiful, nostalgic write up Ramya!

  6. Ah! That was nostalgia at its best, Ramya! You reminded me of my childhood when we too would listen to all the programs you mentioned here. Later, when in college, mom and I would listen to the hindi movie songs being played till 11 at night. Such cozy times those were! Now, too, I have a small radio placed on my kitchen platform which I listen to while cooking. Mostly, it is FM that I tune in to, but all the ads that keep playing every two minutes spoil the show! 🙁

    Loved the header image of your blog! <3

  7. I remember Live Wire which was aired every Sunday night on FM 😦
    Baaki I don’t recall anything!

    But a great post for sure🙂

  8. I loved Radio and I still do. Not just that, I also switch on radio on gaana.com. I remember all those days of tuning, then FM came in and later all those channels. Your post brought back some lovely memories.

  9. I remember how we’d crowd around the radio for matches, the morning music that filled the house and of course, the news – nothing else happened while we listened. Does it seem that life was less complicated then? It sure does to me.

  10. So much nostalgia there. And you brought back many many memories of my childhood too. I remember all of those programmes – Fauji Bahiyon Ke Liye, Jaimala and Hawa Mahal – I well remember that introductory music. In the hostel all we had was the radio for entertainment and it was such a lifeline. I’m not too fond of the modern day FM channels — too chirpy for my taste. I feel exhausted listening to them.

  11. I thin kour generation grew up listening to the radio as our parents were into it; my dad would switch it on first thing in the morning and to date I need a radio to be turned on in the morning. Yup the FM channels have sorta ruined it with the commercials, spoofs and what nots – I miss the good old radio progs too!!

  12. I really enjoyed this piece for the thoughtful play between nostalgia and information. My mom was an announcer on AIR, Vividh Bharathi and it’s a memory I treasure every single time it crops up. There is too much noise today, online and off it too. We need the simple reminders to help us recall who we were before being flooded by social media and its counterparts.

  13. I love the Radio too, and am living in a small cantonment town too! Yes, as a girl in my maternal home, when my mother brought the morning tea to wake me up, I would request for the radio to be turned on immediately. Such is the love for radio that it is constantly on in my home. Nice article.

Have something to say?