Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | Shawwal 6, 1445 H
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My nostalgia about radio


As we go through life, we put a lot of emotional memories in the library of our minds. The older we get, the more nostalgic we become with those memories, and the emotional attachment to them is further amplified.

When someone says “it makes me nostalgic," it means that they are reminded of a past activity or the like that is emotionally attached to their life. It takes them back to relive moments from their past. It is a longing for something that is gone but not forgotten!

I think everyone experiences nostalgia varyingly, as it is triggered by different things like an antique picture, music or sound, a person, or a place.

For instance, my childhood memories include a radio. I grew up middle-class background in the lap of nature in a small village in the south Indian state of Kerala. Those memories of birds chirping, warbling, and trilling are so fresh that they still feel like yesterday.

The village, far from the maddening and noisy towns and traffic snarls, was even bereft of electricity and a telephone, let alone the tarred roads. The only mode of communication with the rest of the world was radio.

Radio became our conduit to the infinite universe. The world seemed both near and far with this antique device! As I was growing up, I did indeed often listen to the radio, and indeed at the village library.

I became fascinated by radio and radio-related matters. I was 10 years old when we received a transistor radio in 1972 at our home. It operated on four batteries. A long net was tied outside the house and connected to the radio for better signal reception. I still remember how I woke up to the iconic tune of Akashvani (All India Radio) every morning.

Those days listening to the radio felt really different. It was more than just a source of entertainment; it was a source of information and knowledge. So it became an integral part of my growing-up years. It played a significant role in the upbringing of children in that remote village.

I still remember the morning news, announced in a thick voice as 'Yeh Aakaashwaani hai' followed by rhythmic beats of percussion. My favourites on the radio were various musical programs on 'Vividh Bharti'.

Away from the megacities, it is still perhaps more popular communication in many villages in countries like India! Even now, it is a valuable reference, providing anything from music to sports stats to awareness programs.

One of the most widely consumed mediums at the global level, the United Nations says the radio has the ability to “shape a society’s experience of diversity and stand as an arena for all voices to speak out, be represented, and be heard.”

World Radio Day is observed on February 13 every year to spread awareness about the importance of radio as a medium to inform, educate, and entertain. This day is celebrated with different broadcasts, online activities, community events, and awards to encourage decision-makers to provide access to information through radio.

According to Unesco, radio has crossed the 100-year milestone; hence, “it is a significant occasion to commemorate the medium's extensive virtues and continuing potency as it faces challenges to its audience and revenue numbers from digital platforms, social media, digital and generational divides, censorship, consolidations, and economic hardships.”.

Furthermore, “the continuing democratic value of radio is to serve as a grassroots catalyst for connectedness within underserved groups, including immigrant, religious, minority, and poverty-stricken populations.”

No matter what chores, the radio was like a common thing those days of childhood. It was indeed a family member! Listening to the radio felt really different during those days!

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