The article “An ode to the radio of yesteryear (Open Page, Aug. 7) took me to my childhood days when radio was my constant companion. The blue tax book — radio-users paid a tax — and the mosquito-net type aerial are still fresh in my memory. When cricket matches were on, I used to pull my table close to my Siemens radio. Once, I received a huge electric shock while listening to the commentary. Luckily, I fell on my bed and slept for a clear hour. In school, my friends and I would run to Vice-Principal Father Xavier's room — we could lean over the window and hear the radio — for the latest score.
I cannot forget how, some time in 1960-61, my father bought a brand new Mackenzie radio and we stood around listening to it with awe and wonder. The 9 p.m. English news resonated with the clear voices of Lotika Ratnam, Shivajit Sen, V.M. Chakrapani, Melville De'Mello and others. Their voices still ring in my ears. As a young girl, I always dreamt of becoming a newsreader.
Today, we rarely hear such voices on radio or television. The speed with which modern RJs, news reporters and anchors speak leaves me bewildered.
During cricket matches, we would go to a recreation club to listen to the commentary. Whenever the Indian team was in dire straits, commentator Anand Rau would switch to praising the sky and the crowd.
It was during that period that Bapu Nadkarni bowled more than 30 maiden overs in a test match. We used to have a hearty laugh whenever Rau uttered his famous words: “No run: no addition to the total.”
As children, we were exposed to Vaanoli Anna Koothabiran's programme Siruvar Solai on Sunday afternoons. At the end of the programme, a riddle would be posed. The names of those sending the correct answer by post were announced the next week.
When my name was announced thus once, my family members and I were thoroughly excited. When the radio set malfunctioned, the first line of remedy was to give a pat on the top or its sides.
As a student, I never failed to hear the morning news between 7.15 and 7.30 a.m. read by Vijayam, Saroj Narayanswamy and others. In the 1970s, AIR used to broadcast popular plays such as Thanikudithanam and movies once a month.
My house had no electricity connection during my pre-high school days. With my friends, I used to go to the Central Maidan in front of the Municipal Radio Pavilion to listen to short wave transmissions. Later, Radio Ceylon commercial services began. Youngsters liked Goa Radio commercial services which broadcast Hindi movie songs during the day. The compere was Radio Balraj who later joined films as Sunil Dutt.
K. Raghava Mayya,
The radio was a member of my family. It was switched on the first thing in the morning. The familiar koonk koonk koonk just before Aaj ka samachar meant it was 8:00 a.m. — time to rush to school. Who can forget the famous Bournvita Quiz Contest on Sunday afternoons? The Yuvavani played timeless classics from Abba, BoneyM, Carpenters, Cliff Richards, etc., which were a favourite topic of discussion in school the next day.
The radio is indeed more than just an electronic device and the best thing about it is that you can listen to it and ‘see' it with your mind's eye as you carry on with your daily chores.