The language was Bangla, but the accent and the stories, distinguishably Chinese. An avid radio listener, my father tried to inculcate this dying habit into his sons. FM is not real radio. Short wave is.
Radio Beijing with its waves traversing the Himalayas captivated me. Stories from China, read out in textbook Bangla with a Chinese accent that sounded so sweet. I didn’t know of the concepts of propaganda and censorship and I enjoyed every bit of it. Radio Moscow (now Voice of Russia), Voice of America and the good ol’ Beeb. Later as I learnt to read, comic books took over followed by Doordarshan, then cable TV and now the internet. I no longer hear the crackle of shortwave. It’s only the choked nostrils singer who seems to be blowing throughout the frequency modulation spectrum that my neighbours irritate me with.
A few weeks ago a telecaller from WorldSpace called up, I wasn’t interested even at Rs 1999. I hardly listen to music these days. But when I eyed the new Philips RL241 Digital Clock Radio on a showroom display, I couldn’t resist the temptation. Primarily because it had an alarm that would play me a station of my choice at the designated hour. I always wanted to own an alarm radio. Smaller and slimmer than a standard audio cassette case, it costs Rs. 440.
FM (87-108 MHz) and MW (520-1610 KHz)
LCD display (for time and the frequency tuned to)
9-button control panel
Scrolling frequency and volume controls
1 foot long aerial
Wrist strap with detachable rear stand
2 X 1.5V AAA Batteries
DC 4.5V adapter socket
The radio is a wonderful companion, even in places where there is no electricity, there’s radio. In an era when mobile phones have inbuilt radios, why did I feel the need for a separate piece of electronics (the mobile’s got an alarm too)? I can watch TV on the PC with a TV tuner card but we like to watch TV on TV, don’t we?