It is no wonder that the article on radio (Open Page, Aug. 7) has caught the attention of many readers. I saved money from my M. Tech. scholarship to buy a Philips radio. I felt the whole world was under my feet. From the news in English and regional languages, the Vividh Bharati, Anand Rau's cricket commentary, Parvati Ramanathan's family dramas and afternoon Carnatic music concerts, the radio provided clean and useful entertainment. It was also eco-friendly with less noise.
The radio aired programmes for all age groups. Regional and national news bulletins served as alarm clocks for many. The elders liked to listen to Carnatic music in the morning and night. We, youngsters, had no access to the radio then. We would sit near the radio to switch over to film music the moment the concerts concluded.
There were days when we held our ears close to the radio set secretly, tuned to the station of our choice.
Even today we, the seafarers, listen to AIR when on the Indian coast and its overseas broadcast when in other regions. Especially during cricket matches, we hook on to the radio as the ball-by-ball text messages cannot match the radio commentary. We could receive AIR Chennai SW (4920 KHz) even as far as Singapore and South Africa till about 10 years ago.
I remember the day Mahatma Gandhi fell to an assassin's bullet. Radio was available only in parks. The news spread like wildfire. Teary-eyed people with broken hearts and choked voices thronged the parks in hundreds. The number swelled to thousands by the time Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the nation.
Although the speech was not clear, it echoed the nation's pain. Then followed an eerie silence that soon got transformed into an everlasting gloom. I was in the crowd as a schoolboy, whose painful memories were revived by the article.