It Gave Eyes To The Ears

December 27, 2011 at 9:15 PMDec (Cinema, Friends, Media, Music, Musings, Slice Of Life)

Her college was located in Andheri west and her house in the east of Andheri, in Mumbai, the then Bombay. Reaching the college meant crossing the railway bridge to move from west to east, as the sun would rise in the east and start moving towards the west. She not just would be moving in opposition to the flow of sunlight, making her shadow fall behind her but also would be moving in opposition to the speed of light. Slow like a just born snail. On either side of the bridge there would be vendors selling plastics and trinkets. The business of all these vendors would be accompanied by their singing radio. She would walk as slow as possible only to make sure that she heard a minimum of two songs as she crossed the bridge making way to the college. With every line of the song sinking into her through her ears as she took slow steps her spirit rose like the rising sun.

It was once during those days that she heard ‘Tu Mere Saamne’ from the film Suhaagan first and fell in love with it instantaneously. Recently when she heard the song again, she crossed the bridge once again. When she shared the song with me and told me about those bridge crossing times I told her that I remember listening to the same song on DD Rangoli during my childhood. She belonged to the radio era and I belonged to the TV era.

Watching Rangoli was not out of self-interest for me. It was my sister was a compulsive viewer of Rangali, Chitrahaar and the Friday night films. Being her younger brother I followed her idealizing her. I sat with her and watched songs and that is when I first heard the song ‘Kisi Ki Muskuraahaton Pe Ho Nisaar’ which has been in the left pocket of my shirt all through.

While my sister and I watched Rangoli my mother would be preparing breakfast and as and when she heard songs which she was familiar with she would come running and hum with the audio of the video. I used to wonder how my mother knew those songs, for in my mind those songs were being heard for the first time not just by me but by the entire world!

Once when I asked my mother how she knew some of the songs she said that she had heard it during her childhood. She narrated about the days when they did not have a radio in their house and the neighboring Muslim house had one. My mother would stand near the fence that marked the edge of her house and the neighboring house and listen to the songs from the neighboring house’s radio. It seems once when she was sent to the shop to buy some grocery she heard a melodious tune taking wings from a house by the road and she stood right over there listening to the song. My aunt was sent to see where my mother had gone. On returning home the music had cost her a bit of jarring scolding.

Even now when my mother listens to some songs of Lata Mangeshkar, Hemant Kumar, Kishore Kumar she stops for a while, sings the song with the song and then with a shine in her eyes says, “I remember how I used to listen to these songs standing near the fence of our house.”

It was for my mother that I got a World Space connection when I started working. But the mechanics of the Word Space system was slightly complicated for my mother. By the time she learnt it World Space stopped its service.

When we got a World Space connection at home an aunt of mine also got the connection. Once while discussing WS and radio in general she said that during her childhood she and her classmates would listen to the songs on the radio and discuss about the songs in the class, the next day. The discussion would be guessing how the visuals of the song, in the film would be. Say when the line, “Lo jhuk gaya aasmaan bhi,” from the song “kaun hai jo sapno mein aaya,” was sung what visuals would be accompanying that line? Everyone used to have their own guesses. Music gave eyes to their ears. Later all would go to the theater to watch the film to see if their imaginations and guesses were anywhere near to the imagination and visualization of the film director. Each of them directed their songs till they saw the visualization of the director in the theaters. My aunt said that at times their imaginations were more imaginative than the film and said, “We all had our own versions of the film in our minds and we all loved our imaginations a lot. When the actual filming matched that of ours we felt happy and when it did not match we felt disappointed.”

When my friend shared “Tu mere saamne hai,” song with me and the story of her radio experience the radio stories of my mother and my aunt were also aired in the radio of my memory. When was the last time I heard radio, I don’t remember. While in Delhi occasionally during late nights Faizan would turn on the mobile radio. Shifting from station to station we would be listening to songs till we fell asleep.

Now if I feel like listening to a song, I immediately log on to Youtube and watch the songs I want to listen. Incidentally when my friend shared the song ‘Tu mere saamne hai’, saying it reminded her of her slow walks over the railway bridge, was a Youtube link! Watching it and listening to it I had said, “I had seen this on Rangoli,” and added, “I belong to the TV era and not to the radio era so my memory of this song is attached to TV and not radio.” Now we were revisiting our sound and audio-visual eras after we both had moved to the era of Youtube and Facebook.


  1. prajna said,

    world space radio was a great companion of mine…i miss it…


  2. CHAITHRA said,

    here it is 🙂 u forgot to send me the link though!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: