Radio was a big thing when I was a kid even though TV had already arrived. Those were ‘Doordarshan’ days and TV programs had specific timings.
Though it seems like a distant memory, I can still see my father listening to cricket or football match relays sometimes multitasking while busily tending to the flowers and fruits in our garden. On weekends, my uncle would never miss tuning in to his favourite 30 minutes of afternoon Bollywood movie songs. Each song would be preceded by an announcement of its associated detail – name of the movie, the director, the singers, etc. Along with that would be a long list of people who have requested those songs. I have my doubts if those lists were genuine at all.
Even today the morning 8.30 AM local news that runs for 10 minutes is diligently tuned in to at our home in Shillong.
During my school days, I had once accompanied a friend and her uncle to the All India Radio (AIR) station, where we were participating in some educational broadcast program. Recording a program at AIR was a fascinating experience for the curious kids in us.
AIR Shillong used to run these educational broadcast programs for children, probably they still do. These programs were usually presented by teachers, sometimes as monologues and sometimes through dialogues in collaboration with students. A particular subject and topic would be provided by AIR to the teacher, who would then be responsible for creating the script and teaching that during the broadcast.
Most often, the teacher would arrange for the students as well – usually 2-4 of them. On that day, me and my friend were the two students. It was a science class but I can’t recall the topic. We even got paid – a cheque of Rs. 200 each. That did qualify as the first income of my life.
The recording happened and a date for the broadcast was notified. My friend and I had proudly announced to our entire class in school. At home, my parents had informed our relatives. Some of them, who lived in other cities, had requested that the program be recorded through a tape recorder and a blank cassette as was done during those days.
The D-day arrived.
The 30 min program was set to be broadcast at 2.30 PM. It was a weekday and I came home early from school. That morning, I had handed over a neatly folded letter within a white envelope from my father requesting a half-day to my class teacher. My large joint family got together and the radio was switched on 5 mins before time. The program started with the presenter announcing the name of the program and providing a brief about the participants. As my name was announced I could see the proud smile on everybody’s face.
It was my quick six minutes of fame.
Today it feels funny thinking about all the brouhaha over such a trivial episode. But then it’s because of all that it became so special and memorable, otherwise it would have been long forgotten.
Much later while in college and university, I participated in several of these Educational Broadcast programs in the role of a teacher. Besides AIR, ‘Prasar Bharati’ (a statutory autonomous body that comprises Doordarshan Television Network and All India Radio) would also organize youth programs, usually debates and discussions on certain topics. I participated in several of those as well, which were a lot of fun.
There’s another interesting story from those days. A close family friend whom I fondly call uncle, used to be friends with someone senior at AIR. His affection and love for me drove him to narrate some exaggerated stories about my capabilities to his AIR friend. That person then wanted me to come up with a play to be enacted for children that would be recorded and broadcasted on Children’s Day, Nov. 14th.
Uncle promised that I would do it and quite nonchalantly dropped the bombshell on me. My jaws dropped and I was in trouble. This was something out of my purview. Fictional stories, poems, and the like – No Way! I don’t have it in me.
Thankfully a highly creative friend came to my rescue and she did everything starting from conceptualization, to scriptwriting, to song writing and everything else. All I did was arrange for the children – 2 boys and 3 girls and being present during the rehearsals and also the final show. The play turned out to be hugely popular and was aired several times. I was named as the Producer of the show without even doing anything.
And I had my six minutes of fame once again even though I did not deserve it.
Post in response to Day-6 prompt'Six Minutes of Fame!'for Bar-A-Thon: The Blogging Marathon