We never listened to radio in our home. This I am talking of my parents home. There was a radio of very old model, which my nanaji gifted to my mum in her wedding, but by the time we grew up, it was mostly defunct, and barring when I was really very small (in nursery I guess); I do not have any memory of it being played at home. In 1990 I guess, my dad bought a 2 in 1. Yes this is what a cassette player was called back then. this was only used for listening to cassettes, and I do not remember ever playing the radio on it. (there was no FM back then, and Akaashvaani was never that interesting!).
I actually listened to radio when I moved to Noida in 2004. I was here for job, and since it was a very low paying job, we did not have a TV in our flat. I was sharing the pad with two other girls, and one of them had a small radio, with a wooden frame. I still had a Nokia 3315, which did not have radio in it. So I would get a chance to listen to FM on my way to work, whatever the bus driver played, and then in the evening after coming back from work, at home. Before going to bed, I would listen to the late night edition, where they played old Hindi film songs. It was a beautiful experience. It was a daily ritual for me, to listen to “Purani Jeans” (this is what the program was called), before dozing off. I remember, they would play this song almost every alternate day, and I would never get tired of listening to it…it is one of my all time favourites:
After an year in Noida, I moved to Chennai for further studies, and radio was gone from my life for another two years (The hostel in Chennai had a 24 hours internet, so those two years were dedicated to sitcoms and movies!). I again began listening to the radio when I moved to Bangalore for job. While commuting the headphones were always on, and I would savour the latest music on FM. Somehow, when I moved to Delhi 5 years ago, FM suddenly vanished from my life. the work here was so stressful, that I would never switch to FM even while commuting. We did not have a radio at home, so practically, I lost all touch with music on radio. When i switched jobs, I was a given a Blackberry from office, and though I would do a two hours commute each way every day, I did not have the option of listening to any FM. BB is a totally professional phone with no radio!
All this while, I always missed the presence of radio in my day to day life. While one can listen to music on a music system also, or these days through a pen drive on a computer/ in a car as well, but there is something about listening to music on radio that none of these experiences can match. Radio lets you go with the flow, you can just relax and listen to what is being offered to you, rather than channelling your mind and deciding what to listen to. There is a different kind of fun in that. You set your mood according to the song. You do not know what is coming next, and that keeps the interest on. Sometimes a totally forgotten number would play, and you are transported to a different world altogether; sometimes something dhinchak would play, and for a moment you are relieved of all your tensions. That is the magic of radio. It creates for a good background while going about your household chores. The mellifluous songs, just fill in the empty spaces and you feel you have someone to give you company. For me, its a big stress buster. And I got back this happiness in my life, when a month back, husband bought home a new set of speakers, which has radio as well as USB port in it. When I switched on FM, I realized that I had been missing such an important thing in my life. These varied genre of songs throughout the day, give me so much happiness. The sound of music has made our living room so much more lively. The first thing I do after coming from office is switching on FM. The music starts, and so do my household chores, all in sync with the beautiful music in the background!