I Am So Old.

I received this as a WhatsApp message and I immediately went all nostalgic.

My earliest telephone was this:
I wonder if the generation that started with dial up phones even knew of this!

The next phone that I used was one were you lifted the handset off the base and waited for an operator to respond to connect you to another party within that telephone exchange’s area.
Or, for long distance calls called trunk calls those days, you went to the local Post Office to book one of the following. Ordinary, Urgent or Lightening with escalating charges for each. The dial less phone set would usually be in a cabin and one waited till the clerk signalled you to go there to talk.
Or, one used this:
The most frustrating part of this was when the time ran out and you did not have more coins to feed the beast.

By this time, that is around the mid nineties of the last century, one could get telephone connections fairly easily but, long distance dial up calls were mostly not subssribed to, as neighbours would otherwise pester one. One had to book a call and wait for the exchange to connect you to the called party.

Then came these:
PCOs or, Public Call Offices changed telephony in India by the late eighties. One could go to these booths and make International Subsriberer Dialling and / or Subscriber Trunk Dialling (ISD< STD)
Finally came the cell phones in mid nineties, and since then, the landscape is unrecognizable.

My first exposure to a radio was this:
One was forced to listen to what Akashvani dished out with the exception of Radio Ceylon’s Binaca Geetmala. This was a luxury and this was replaced by a radiogram which had a radio and a record player built into it.
Then we moved on in succession to transistor radio, record player and walkman till the mobile phone made all these redundant.

The fist TV set that I bought was a Konarak Black & White as India did not have colour television till the eighties.
I then moved on to Colour TV and by 1983 had to invest in a VCR!
We would borrow Video Cassettes from libraries to watch movies which in those days was a great convenience.

Today, all those gadgets have disappeared and we use computers and cable television for our entertainment at home. For music, the choice that is available within mobile telephones is simply mind blowing.

The earliest camera that I remember seeing was my father’s Rolliflex.
When I was thirteen, I was gifted with this:


Both used Black & White roll films which after shooting, had to be taken to a studio to be developed and printed. Colour films came much later and those became redundant with the arrival of digital cameras{
You couldn’t take selfies with any of them!  Those too now are redundant with mobile phones offering excellent built in camera facilities.

What a journey it has been!

A Tribute To Manna Dey.

My friend Anil and I share a passion for Indian music and two great singers particularly. They are Pandit Bhimsen Joshi and Manna Dey. Whenever some particular piece by either takes his fancy, Anil will promptly send me a link so that I can also capture the moment.

His latest epistles have been no less with some magnificent bhajans by Panditji and today he stumped me with a story and links to three songs and I wish to share my joy with my readers who like Indian music.

Way back in 1960, when Anil was all of 17 he found himself traveling in the same first class coach with the great Manna Dey and overcoming his trepidation, spoke to the great singer and told him how Anil and his mother who was also a gifted singer, were very fond of a song that Dey had recorded for Akashvani. Manna Dey was very pleased if somewhat bemused and offered to sing it for him while traveling. Anil, to quote him, was literally levitating and says that till today, he keeps remembering the encounter with great admiration for the singer and his humility and generosity of spirit indulging a young lad on his way to college.

The first youtube version is the original recorded with Akashvani

The next one is the same recorded much later with more modern recording equipment and instruments.

A little later, Dey asked Anil if he would like to hear a new song that he had just recorded for a film yet to be released and on Anil’s urging sang this one.

The last one is a favourite song of mine from a film with an amazing cast and the one vocalising this song is Mehmood a favourite comedian of those days who used to enthrall all of us Hyderabadis beside other Indians. Just look at the effect in Black and White and the talent of the actor besides the song itself.

Alas both Manna Dey and Mehmood are no more but what personalities!

Thank you Anil.