Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DD: Delighful Days

I was forced to plug my ear phones in when after a few stations metro got crammed with people talking incessantly. A radio station was celebrating the 50th birthday of Doordarshan (DD) and I suddenly felt nostalgic when they played a track ‘Is rang badalti duniya mein, kya tera hai kya mera hai’ and asked the listeners to identify the show. Indeed all of us know it is ‘Dekh bhai Dekh’ as correctly as we know what succeeds ‘Twinkle Twinkle’.

During my childhood days Doordarshan seemed to be the only channel reserving the Television screen. I remember how we all used to snuggle in our respective seats just five minutes before the start of ‘Ramayana’. My grandmother made sure that all the kids are present in the room and Dad used to unravel the whole episode making it way too easy for us to understand. The characters, the cinematography, the performance everything appeared so real and entrancing which is missing in the present remakes.

Then there was ‘Shanti’ that I believe was the most viewed daily soap in our locality. In the afternoon, on my way back from school I could hear Mandira Bedi in every house that I crossed (Her looks were quite impactful though). Besides these, the programs that I liked included Chandrakanta (I can still visualize the big-mustached Kroor Singh), Potli ka baba (I din't mind getting up early on a Sunday morning for this), Mowgli (I have a ringtone 'Jangal Jangal baat chali hai' saved in my comp only because it reminds me of those good old days), Shaktiman (My brothers enjoyed watching it so there wasn’t any option left for me; Everything except for the character Geeta Vishwas was tolerable) and there were some that were not followed rigorously but viewed off and on.

DD certainly had its own charm before the cable hijacked not just our television set but our minds too. I don’t recall any news, music, movie or devotional channel and there used to be no fight over the remote control. Doordarshan was all in one consisting of every kind of program and henceforth providing a daily dose to its viewers. I have some delightful memories of the past and wish there was some way of bringing them back.

“Shesh samachar thodi der mein”

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pity Usha

As far as I remember, this name always had a place reserved in my General knowledge book. From fifth to twelfth standard (yes I had Physical education as a subject), I read about her in one form of question or the other. Identify the picture of the famous athlete; name the first Indian women to reach the finals of Olympics; who is known as the India’s golden girl and many more questions with a similar answer which is ‘P.T. Usha’. She is one of those Indian athletes who has garnered the maximum number of medals, won innumerable accolades and brought laurels to the nation making the Indians proud.

Out of boredom, I turned the television on and while switching through the channels, I found P.T. Usha crying uncontrollably on a news channel and suddenly I was inquisitive about the cause. It was really disheartening to discover that she wasn’t given proper accommodation in Bhopal where she had gone for the National Open Athletic Championship. First she was marooned at the airport and then she wasn’t even provided a separate room. The lady had to wait till 2:30 in the morning before she was given a private lodge. The irony is that she was ill-treated by the people of the same country that once conferred her most prestigious awards like Padma Shri and the Arjuna Award.

I wonder had the ignorance been the same if it was Amitabh Bachchan or Sachin Tendulkar and not P.T. Usha. The Regional Centre of Sports Authority of India surely had her picture framed but didn’t care a tad to comfort her. She spent her entire career serving the country and this truly isn’t the reward she deserved.

She is one prized possession our country has which is meant to be treasured but the kind of deportment she got was pitiable.