The Radio Stories

Transistor Treat during Power Outages                         By Sai Jyoti


The story begins on a very exciting note on a certain terrace in the now smart city of Bhubaneswar. 9.30 p.m. the official designated time for the power cut initiated by the government to allow its denizens to have their fair share of power throughout the night. Up I go with my mat, a torch and the hero of our story the radio. Transistor is what we used to call it, not to be mistaken with the small device inside our smart gizmos now a days. The power backup the– four jumbo Eveready batteries had to be full to get the perfectly tuned station, to listen to each and every detail about the song and the small titbits added by the jockey. The noon sun functioned as CPR for a temporary extension of life of the batteries for a day or two before we could procure some more from our monthly budget.

My father would be the first person to start the radio with some random news channel playing world news. He would patiently surf through all the available channels and quietly return to All India Radio. According to him radio news talked about the common man whereas TV news was all about business and debates. 10 to 11 was my time. Vividh bharati the then radio mirchi of India had Chaya geet” and “Aap ki farmaish” as its signature shows. Chaya geet was a theme based program which would pick the topic of the day and play songs. Whether it was a breakup song, love song or even a patriotic song everything was savoured with equal enthusiasm .The voice from the radio seemed to be coming from far of land defying time and space. As if there was somebody sitting on the other side of eternity closely following the feelings of my heart and carefully weaving the themes around them, with all the material to make my evening beautiful, to make me cry, to make me fall in love, to allow me to be betrayed again and again, and finally to die a thousand deaths for my country. When Kishore sang “yeh ratein yeh mausam” I would suddenly find the Moon strangely staring at me and the leaves playing their symphony. When talat sang “zindagi dene wale sunn”, I would silently thank my feelings to have devised this magical code which could understand the pain in his voice. Sit with S.D burman at a random station (song : mere sajan hain uss paar) or just walk through unknown forests with rafi.(song: mujhe dekh kar aapka muskurana) I have done it all.

 And when I talk of Aaap ki farmaish I discover this strange bond with my brethren in bhatapara or jhumritalayya who despite staying miles and miles away wished to listen to the same “Aaisa sama na hoga” by Lata. Strange isn’t it? My radio like a true hero stood through all these by me mumbling and grumbling in the mid when the signal went low as if complaining to the radio station not to spoil my mood. At exactly 11. P.M when the power turns on, the jockey said good bye for the day, drowning the sad partition in an orchestrated version of an old song on piano or guitar. Uugh.. this real world. The moonlight suddenly fades in the flashes of the city lights and the trees turn dark calling quits and patiently waiting for the next night for the show to start again.

This is a story of just one night with my radio. 

There are several others which are waiting to be read and shared…

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