Changing times

Those were the good old days, when we were glued to TV, sticking to one channel only, of course, no option also! No searching for remote or no quarrels over remote. Channel surfing was unheard of. There was only one channel and that was the ubiquitous Doordarshan, easily locatable with an antenna over one's roof.

If the relay was blurred or getting ghost images, going to the roof and turning the antenna was a child's play like. Just as we were enjoying “Buniyaad”, “Ramayan”, “Mahabharat”, “Malgudi Days”, we also used to enjoy the Sunday afternoon award winning regional language feature films. We had no issue as far as understanding other South Indian language films, with sub-titles in English coming to our rescue! We would eagerly await the telecast of Kannada feature films which were broadcast once in two-three months or so.

Not many advertisements, Amrutanjan being the timely one at the end, on all Sunday afternoons. And on Fridays and Saturdays, whether it was Raj Kapoor’s old classics or hits of Rajesh Khanna or the superhits of ‘angry young man’ Amitabh Bachchan, it had a permanent place in our ‘to do list’ or shall we say, ‘to watch list’.

Then, who can forget other programmes like the record-breaking ‘Surabhi’ with the 1,000 watt smile of Renuka Shahane or Pranav Roy’s ‘Good Evening and Welcome’ in ‘World this Week’? In between, there was ‘Mile sur mera tumhara’ sung by Bhimsen Joshi, Lata Mangeshkar and others, with nice clippings of Prakash Padukone, Kapil Dev, Sharmila Tagore and others.

When we were hearing just one line in Kannada, ‘nanna dhanige ninna dhaniyu seridantha’, we would be thrilled. I am sure people from different parts of the country have had similar feelings. There was just one programme on share market, ‘Money Matters’ by Shashi Kumar, that too once a week. There was no daily stock quotations, leave alone exclusive full-fledged business channels, just as we have a plethora of them today.

Now, you don’t need programmes like ‘World this Week’. Even before any event happens, you are bombarded with ‘breaking news’ from all the channels. Whether BBC or CNN-IBN flash any news or not, SMSs travel across the length and breadth of the country. The whole day, people will be busy taking all sorts of precautions like they took for swine flue or nuclear radiation.

Thereafter, such precautions gets diluted and everything is forgotten. It is like the corruption menace, thankfully, public memory is very short. Science has advanced over the years. If there is technologically advanced reusable space shuttles, we also have pundits prophesying that the world will come to an end in 2012. Though we have successfully launched ‘Chandrayaan’, it is the ‘Big Moon’ which has really scared us!

Perhaps technically we have advanced a lot but in the process we are carrying the baggage of superstitions. When we boast that we are numero uno in software development, perhaps it is the need of the hour to develop some software which will make us mentally strong. Meanwhile, it is nothing but changing times…

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