Dear FM Radio,
As we drive back from Nani’s place, winding our way back home through the signature twilight of the city, where the overhead wires are lit with halogen glow of street lamps while the sky is still a shade of blue, my immortal memories paint my sky in a peach-pink tone, when Dad switches you on. You drive me to this place where every instance is packed in a box. When I stumble upon each box it stupefies me with nothing but my past amours, the ones I can never be guilty about. The first box is the moment I fell in love with you, “The love at first sound”. I open it and it flashes Maa, too reluctant to dance in our family functions grooving to the songs coming out of you that probably reminded her of her childhood cosy winter afternoons and provides the same warmth as the sweater that Nani had knit for her does, which she relishes the most after me. As I tread further in this La La Land I pause and pops a moment where you’ve brought not just my Dad but every person on their feet, clenching anything and everything near them before the last deciding ball in India vs Pakistan match. Wow! I can see Dadi now, her wrinkles tell me about her beginning of getting on in years, as she narrates me how they used to huddle on Republic Day to watch the Parade through your eyes, reminiscing about the life she had before independence and flaunting on how she has witnessed a revolution that we might never. Oh! Here I am enjoying the trivial conversations between the RJ and a person (who I can picture sitting on his bed with a newspaper after a tough day at work, expecting something to lighten up his spirits), and giggle as we fool him together. Then starts the “common in every” house trivia about the name of fruits and colours as I and Dad snuggle on the bed and you are back there in the background. Just as the clock strikes ten Dad hushes me to listen to the tales, being enunciated in a silken voice about homecoming and simplifying relationships. I realise as to how it has got me so absorbed that even today my Sunday evenings are incomplete without these stories, the tales that involve part guilt and part nostalgia felt by the character which mixes up with my own welter of confusions. There’s this big LED as this Alice walks in her wonderland and as I switch it on I can see this little girl sticking her tongue out at some random strangers on the road and getting smashed on the front seat because Chhaiyan Chhaiyan is on the number one position in Mirchi Top 20. It breaks my heart to see the same little girl, sitting cramped with the seat belt now, stealing glances at people and painting smileys on the misted windows, the only ones to smile back at her. You’ve let the lover descend into his dreams as he sips his tea looking at the rain and rinsing his pain away and relaxed souls who’ve worked hard to slip into their rocking chair only to read stories to their grandchildren, building an intimate connection with your listeners, that only a few can understand and I am dead chuffed to be one of them. In this generation of Spotify Premium where every road trip is about plugging in the aux and playing the road trip playlist, my heart still craves for you to surprise me with “Tanha Dil” as I tune through all your channels.
Your hopeless daydreamer.
Feature image: Surjonarayan Motilal