Here are some of the responses to the article ‘Channels change, Music Continues...’ (FR, April 25) written by V. Kalidas.
Your article transported this 80-year-old man to his school days. At home, we had a phonograph box which my aunties called ‘poonaikkara petti.’ We had a rare collection of old records of Carnatic music. With the arrival of the radio in our home, the phonograph fell into disuse. Even today, I regret destroying those shellac record discs, dipping them into hot water and fashioning art plates out of them.
Later, as a high school student, I used to assist my uncle who had an agency selling His Master's Voice and Columbia phonograph records obtained from Calcutta and Madras. These were made of a compound of black shellac and were prone to breakage and damage and ended up with scratchy needle noise with repeated use.
Vinyl records were not commercially produced in India until my uncle went out of that business in the 1960s. I distinctly remember receiving a thin vinyl recording from the ‘Voice of America’ containing a couple of minutes of an American President's speech.
Now, an iPad with ear phones, loaded with vintage Carnatic fare, is my walking companion, courtesy my grandsons. Times have changed…
The article on the technological changes in the delivery of music during the past decades is interesting. This was possible because, at every stage, the consumer was willing to invest in new hardware - gramophone, spool player, cassette player, CD player and MP3 player…
By contrast, the newspaper industry persists in the century-old practice of putting ink on paper and delivering it at the doorsteps of the consumer, this last-mile connectivity too becoming progressively more expensive.
Today's technology allows wireless transmission of the newspaper that can be received by the consumer on his tablet. The day is not far off when printed newspapers (and magazines) will become financially non-viable since other cheaper options are opening up for advertisers too. The newspaper industry has to think ahead and brace itself for this change.
I enjoyed reading your article; it brought back memories of the 1940s. HMV with their dog and the Megaphone took me back to old Nair tea shops and the sudden slowing down of the RPM (the boy would say, ‘Sariya key kudukkillai’). Then there was the Saraswathi Stores in the neighborhood of the now demolished Globe Theatre and the Wellington. Of course, Md. Ebrahim (replaced by VGP) brings back warm memories regarding Western Music.
There was one other store in George Town opposite the Madras High Court. Forget its name! Among the tape recorders, Grundig & Telefunken was also popular.
‘Old man’ Cheema