Friday, June 13, 2008

Tangled Waves

Finally, frustration levels have reached high enough to blog again. Without citing an excuse for temporary absence from this vent-bin, I choose to start off with the root of frustration - A 10 station FM tuner I painstakingly constructed is in coma, as is the family radio and a similar functioning unit on my cellular device. They were poisoned with sub-standard FM waves.

The advent of FM radio in India, particularly in erstwhile Bangalore was to bring back the charm of 70's and 80's radio - serve humanity with knowledge and quality entertainment, mainly good music. For a while, it did look promising to sapien species from both Vividh Bharati and Playstation eras until extortionate cloning of radio stations took charge (what competition at that!), initiating a large percentage of junta to divert their finance, attention as well as gifting trend towards a new investment - the humble mp3 player. This gizmo was such a hit that even radio set and cellular phone manufacturers included its modular version in their merchandise, fearing its possible dominance would otherwise make their products obsolete. I do not complain.

A few days ago though, out of sheer joblessness, I decided to re-examine the previously defined detritus cruising the city over FM waves and risked turning on the radio. However, just when I thought the world was forever rid of Dard-e-disco and miscellaneous Himesh Reshammiya chants, a simple channel surf revealed thus:

...Zara zara hold me hold me hold me, zara zara..

...Haaaaaaaai, neev kelta idira Radio XYZ. Sakkat hot maga! (Ah, wishful thinking.. :D)

...Oh vary happy in mai haart dil dance maare..

..the relief stop for banking and investments. Call..

...Whitu whitu whitu whitu..whitu Rajnikanthu neenu.. (Blatant racism! Ennada rascal! :X)

...Idu Bengaloorina hottest radio station.. (by far the most popular claim, placed by a minimum of 3 stations at once)

...and eef you want that goody bag, message meeee. The highest number aaf 'messager' wins! (God save the queen)

How did music on Radio dearest perish? And those fluent, charming RJs who once made radio great human company..did they give up jockeying to turn motivational speakers for the Royally Challenged? More importantly, what happened to the purpose of allotting a plethora of stations - VARIETY!? A chorus of 'Chaliya Chaliya' on alternate stations 4 times an hour surely demands a better definition of the aforementioned purpose. If anything is certain, it is the fact that the spirit of radio has drifted away to grace a funeral.

Not that all is lost, for inches of the sail are still visible. There seem to have emerged innovations which are quite endearing, albeit only a few such. The breakfast show on Radio City, a hilarious feature called Ghanta Singh that plays randomly on Radio One, nearly everything on Indigo, and the Western Music Hour on good old Akashvani seem lifting. But that alone won't do, will it? We want 'Radio' back!

Post abandoning the attempt to re-examine FM waves, I choose to get busy with a C programming manual, only to hear a station feebly calling out a last resort, 'Kolle nannanne' (Kill me, girl).

Second door to your left. Be my guest.