Friday, February 27, 2009

Radiosyncrasies

One of the many reasons why car-pooling won’t quite work for me is that I am too whimsical with the radio while driving. I don’t have TV as part of my family since that thing enslaves me. An hour spent in two parts listening to the radio while commuting between office and home is my only source of passive entertainment.

Radio-Indigo, FM 91.9: Amongst all the channels in Bangalore, this one suits me the finest. I love the daily stock market update when RJ Meghna calls up their stock market expert. My heart goes out for her. She usually starts with a witty line depending on that day’s events, like “Mr. Ahuja, Are the stock markets going to make us millionaire too?” when Slumdog won Oscars.

A pretty flat toned reply comes from the other end and then he straightaway gets on with the updates “The markets are seen up/down due to global cues. * ABC is at X. * BCA seems to be doing well due to the new regulations. * CBA is coming up with new product. * Inflation numbers are at low at Y%. * …” .

Now replace all the * with Meghna’s disinterested “OK” and “Umhmm”. Mostly there are 4 OKs and 5 Umhmms, in no specific order, which makes for a good guessing game. That man could as well have been telling the scores of a Test match between Baroda and Railways. You can almost feel the relief in her voice when she hurriedly thanks him in the end, “Alright Mr. Ahuja, THANK YOU VERY MUCH”. Many times she has to ask a question related to one of his updates and at the same time concerning the financially illiterate common man; in this case she would say, “So finally we can eat vegetables now, hee hee .”

Radio One, FM 94.3: This is the only channel which continuously plays Hindi music, but it’s too mass-oriented and marred with very long breaks. I can recite all the ads including the ones in Kannada without understanding a word. In the evening there’s this request show in which the lady RJ repeats “How sweet/cute” to all the callers. Imagine listening to a tired software engineer telling “I am returning from my office” and then the response “So sweet”, especially when you too are returning from the office after a hectic day. I admit though that I couldn't have done any better than her in long term.

The greatest insult to your intelligence is done when they air celebrity interviews which are obviously already recorded and of course not taken by their RJs. They try to build up the excitement hours before the interview, then they actually let us hear Katrina’s phone ring and in between the pauses that Katrina takes while talking, they provide fillers like “Yes, Katrina, we all do that.”

However, the most annoying part is when they play a song with Punjabi touch like “Uncha Lamba Kadd” . When the song is about to begin, the RJ Prithvi, in his josh, blurts out something on the lines of Oye Sonniye, Haai Kudiye ,Mar jaavan..” in a horrible imitation of northie accent. My Gurgaon born Vinnie shudders at those sounds; her childhood memories are so timidly molested.

All India Radio (AIR) Channels: Let’s start with the irritating bits first in continuation with the cribbing I’ve done so far. Most of private radio channels have pretty catchy brand music/song. They have their tag lines too like “Radio Mirchi, It’s HOT”, “FM 94.30, the Station For The Fatafat Generation” or "Radio Indigo, The Color Of Music" and you can clearly sense the hard work gone into creating these and ensuring that everything together present a coherent image to the listeners. Here’s what our Sarkaari channel FM Rainbow has to offer: A girl sings, just like a kindergarten kid would, “FM Rainbow Aaha , FM Rainbow Aaha”, twice, with no background music to speak of.

Then there are these poll/request kind of programs. The private channels come up with questions like “What would you do if the man you've been dating for two years tells you that he actually wears a wig?” or something contextual like “How safe do you feel the next day whenever there is a Bomb Hoax in Bangalore?”. You can see that they TRY.

Sometimes back this is what I heard on one of the national channels, in a fake American accent, and even shallower deep voice “I have a very interesting question today for you. What you would ask for if a Jinnie, you know the Aladdin Jinnie, grants you three wishes. Please sms to xyz number. Now listen to the song Mahi-Ve”. Then they went on to play Mind-blowing Mahia. That song too got interrupted all of a sudden. There’s simply no attempt towards creativity and there are just too many mistakes to ignore.

Meanwhile someone in fact replied to the above question. I was surprised to hear that. So now our RJ goes “We have a very funny reply from number ending with 666. His first wish is a hundred Armani Suits. What would you do with these many suits? Haa haa. His second wish is a Ferrari car. And his third wish is a big house”. You wonder whether the sender was sarcastic enough to send the apt reply to the ordinary question. Our dear RJ found it very funny though.

However, the programs on Vivid-bharti are very genuine. Their target audiences are small towns and villages, the three fourth of India. The requests come to them in form of hand written letters and the language is totally earthy and unpretentious.

Personal favorites are “Fauji Bhaiyon ke liye”, a program where mostly the requests from soldiers are entertained and “Sakhi-Saheli”, a program for housewives in the afternoon, where they discuss domestic issues and homely tips like how to prepare pickles, what are the benefits of sending girls to the school, how to handle family finance and save money, how they celebrate Holi. You realize that these things are not as simple as they sound and such programs are very much needed for the entertainment and information they provide. The best thing is that everything is so real.

When I hear “Jhumka Gira re” is requested by Billu, Tinku, Jamuna, Suman from Nagda, Nafeez, Tinu, Babu from Betiya.., I slip into nostalgia. As a child I had a peculiar insomniac condition of not being able to sleep in the afternoon (which is now getting compensated for). While my mom and younger brother used to sleep, I would be listening to the radio waiting for a request from Dewas. The other times I would just play cards by myself or would kill the passers by with my gun as the radio played. Of course this was before we had a TV.

27 comments:

Sauron said...

Prashant, your post brought back a wave of nostalgia... before I joined a bschool, I used to drive to work, and it would irk me no end, if someone else was switching stations, instead of me.

Eventually, I gave up on radio completely, because of the RJs, and bought an iPod connector for the car... much more entertaining, less nonsense, and good fun :D

Sanjay said...

It looks more of an active entertainment to me :).

luckweaver.net said...

Prashant,

I don't like to listen to FM anymore because of advertisements everywhere. I wrote a blog post in my blog about an alternative way to listen to music without advertisements. Here is the link...

Can We Ever Get Rid of Advertisements In Life?

Hope you would enjoy it.

Thanks.
Pothi.

Dreaming Eyes said...

i wanna say hello..jst got to knw dat u hv added my blog into ur network...thanx....keep writing..enjoy life..

BinduBabu said...

Hi Prashant,

Thanks for adding me in your network.

Well I listened to Radio vividh bharati.. during my school days.. good old days.

And ofcourse Night Walks at IIT- CAMPUS.. Yes I too miss it these days in bangalore.. Good blog..

सतीश चंद्र सत्यार्थी said...

Hi Prashant,
Thank you so much for adding my blog to your network.
I enjoyed reading your post. It's wonderful.

zooni said...

hi prasanth nice reading your blog especially this post of yours, actually i luv listening to music rather than watching tv.
and my fm enabled phone is where i listen to music and well according to me 94.3 is best in bangalore as iam not very fond of english music and as for RJs i guess Anjaan on radio one is the best.
but i especially luv music played on saturday nights fast and hindi on almost alll radio stations wow its great especially when iam not alowed to see tv during exams it is my source of entertainment while studying!!!
btw thanx for adding me on indiblogger looking forward to newer posts from you

Arnab Majumdar said...

Radio always has something about it that TV somehow can't compensate for. I used to listen to AIR FM in the middle of the night during my college days, just to catch the Rock show "The Wicked Hour", which at one point of time had become my sole source of music...

The post really jogged some good ol' memories... :D

Prashant Dhanke said...

@Sauron,
In addition, you had to stop urself from switching channels just coz it wud irk someone else.
You gotta agree though that the same track on radio gives better gratification than listening on your own ipod.

@luck,
Sure wud check ur site. But I've come to like the nuances in between the music played on radio :).

Prashant Dhanke said...

@Zooni,
Yes Anjaan is a one of the most liked RJ. I ususally swtich between 91.9 & 94.3 . Thanks for dropping in :).

@Arnab
True. Radio survived despite many doomsday claims when Television was introduced. Many people stop listening radio , only to restart once they begin driving. I never listened radio in my college days accept cricket commentary on battery operated radio when there was a power cut.

@BinduBabu,Dreaming eyes & Satish,
Good to c u here :).

TinTin said...

Nice article. Radio ki yaad taza kar gayee. bioscope, babbar sher, love guru ki yaadein bhi amit chaap chode hui hai sabke zahan mein.. aur atal ji ka "School chale hum" ko kaise bhool sakte hai ..

"jee haan bhayiyon aur behano.. bhai manana padega, hummm bada hi khoobsoorat article likha hai".

Kumar Narasimha said...

Hi Prashant,

Nice work on this blog.Thanks for adding me to your Network.

I indulge in the passive FM entertainment on my commute (in Hyd).Though the ads are a nuisance, some of them are quite funny !

Keep writing..meanwhile, I will read some of your archived posts.Liked your style !

pravu said...

Oh, I love FM. At the same time i am always impatient in switching stations. If i die in car accident ever, this could be one of the reason that i was switching stations so impatiently that forgot about the road.

pravu said...

What was that radio u were building in hfcl ?

BrownPhantom said...

@Pravu,
You wud learn with time to multitask the stereo safely :). 2.4Ghz QPSK radio. Kya kya ho gaya hain in haathon se..

Nish said...

badhiya post.Well in Mumbai there are lots of channels.I listen to radio while riding bike and unfortunately my mobile has no feature to change the channels with a sigle click and its really hard to pull out the radio in traffic.
Well brownphantom if you remeber our radio career started with the Akashwani news,Ram charitra maanas and few deshbhakti songs in the morning.
Let me tell you FM channels in Mumbai are very entertaining with RJs like Malishka,aapki jaani Archna Jaani,drivetime gangster divya and rohini,stupid jituraaj,angel eyes reema ,K,rubaru with arun singh..
There are some shorties like 'SUD' who read joke of the day from hasi ke favvare ,then there is ghanta singh who randomly calls some office and irritate them .today he called up yoga classes and enquired about exercise for fingers,then there is marathi rapper Pannas paishe (50 cents) in which kaaka aani mama raps on current issues.

Akshaya Kamalnath said...

Hey I do most of my internships in bloe and yeah indigo nd Radio 1 are the ones I listen to the most. Its an amzing source of entertainment while travelling. I make it a point to catch up on radio thingies whenever I'm back. Nicely written post...nd Prithvi's bday bakras still happening?

BrownPhantom said...

@Tintin, Yaar tu har baar jyada kar detaa hain :).

@Narasimha,Thanks man.

@Akshaya,
Yes, I can't travel without a radio.
Not sure about Prithvi's Bakras. My travel time has shifted an hour later nowadays:).

Dhanya said...

It's really funny to see how some RJs respond so enthusiastically even for the smallest of things! :D It's like they are on 'Red Bull' all the time...

Smi said...

oh man ...u made me go back to olden golden days (just 6 months) .I rememeber juggling between the channels on my way to EC.
Even when the bus driver had put some channel I still wud stick to my own channel on my cell so loudly

Kunjal said...

quite brave managing without a T.V.:)
your narration was so good that while reading the post I could recall abt the various styles of the RJ's!!

piyush said...

Kool sense of nostalgia Pinto..brought back the memories of school days when i used to listen to radio every saturday on lunch after half day at school....fantasic times:)

BrownPhantom said...

@Dhanya, Kunjal, Smi & Piyush,
Thanks for your kind words :).

Piyush bhai, kahan ho aajkal ??

pradeep said...

Now a days, ipods dominates the music industry over FM radio.

Deepti said...

dude...awsum is ur sense of humor...:)))...preety made my day by gifting that card...ur blog made my evening..:D...i seldom come across such blogs where almost every post is wrth dropping a comment....cheers!!!

Arslan said...

Nice post. :)

Check out this related post: http://arslanaziz.blogspot.com/2009/04/mumbai-chronicles-2-dhinchak-mornings.html

nintendo r4 said...

nice reading your blog especially this post of yours,The post really jogged some good ol' memories... :D
Keep writing..meanwhile, I will read some of your archived posts.Liked your style !