Valentine’s Day 2019: This World Radio Day, exploring love in the time of radio that used to be
Happy Valentine’s Day: It was probably the most romantic thing to have your fan mail and a song request chosen by a radio presenter and shared with the listeners who had tuned in.Updated: Feb 13, 2019 18:39 IST
“When I was young, I’d listen to the radio, waiting for my favourite song. When they’d play I sing-a-long... it made me smile” - said the popular lyrics of a song by The Carpenters and even today, in a day and age when radio hardly means what it used to at one point of time for some of us.
Remember that signature tune that Akashvani (All India Radio) was known for? It used to be an alternate alarm tune for some of us back in the day when everything else failed. Why? Because the elders in the household would be up and about well before the sun came up and that would mean everyone must wake up too because “early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”… sadly, that’s only remained a proverb one reads in the books or in a moral science lecture. How would I be cool if slept before midnight and woke up before the crack of dawn?
Today on World Radio Day and a day before the day of love, Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t help but wonder where those days of innocent love have gone? The days we’ve heard of in stories from family members and probably watched in a few films too? It was probably the most romantic thing to have your fan mail and a song request chosen by a radio presenter and shared with the listeners who had tuned in. Think of a song like, Tu Mera Chand Main Teri Chandni, or Aaja Sanam Madhur Chandni Mein Hum or a English classic like Unchained Melody or a Beatles song sent to you as a dedication. I’m getting a thrill even writing about it. This was in tandem with the age of the love letters and the excitement (and in some cases, the horror) attached to it. In the voice of popular radio presenter, Ameen Sayani, you hear a message and the name of the person who brings a smile on your face and the song you wanted to hear starts playing, leaving you mesmerised.
Let’s take a walk back down memory lane to the year 1993-94, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan pretty much found each other and ‘magic’ through Tom’s onscreen son Jonah and the radio show. In Bollywood, the 2002 film, Naa Tum Jaano Naa Hum gave us a bit of a sneak peek into the era of love the old fashioned way through a book and a song that makes the always-around-yet-estranged-lovers meet.
In the age when songs are available in more apps than your smartphones can support or a device that can host over 5000 songs; or advertisements and radio spots playing louder than any song (usually the same ones across stations) is it possible to bring love back like it was in the age of pure radio playback and a song dedication to announce your love?