Silence from space


Bhimsen Joshi will not be singing anymore, not in my house. Nor Kishori Amonkar or Pandit Jasraj. The melodious strains from shehnai of Bismillah Khan will not fill my home. Balamurali or MS or MLV or for that matter Sudha Raghunathan will not be singing for me. A host of others’ voice will fall silent from January 1, when the WorldSpace will go off the air. I feel stifled that there will be silence in my house from the NYD.

Five years ago, when I retired, my daughter brought home the WorldSpace music system and said: “Now, relax listening to the music”. I did dutifully. Every morning as soon as I got up I switched on the system. And the music flowed — Chaurasia, Mallikarjun Mansoor, Sawai Gandharva, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ravi Shankar, Amjad Ali Khan… you name him or her WorldSpace brought the voice home and I was soaked in the melodious strains.
As soon as I left home it was my wife’s turn to tune in Lata, Rafi, Mukhesh, Kishore, Asha and others and as she went about with her household chores music from the old Bollywood hits followed her. She felt relaxed as the tunes soothed her and she felt refreshed. I had a sneaking suspicion that she wanted me to leave home early so that she could have her date with music earlier!

But from January 1 we have to get adjusted to a silent house. After five years of listening to melody how can we hear silence? This is the question that started nagging us ever since we read that WorldSpace is shutting shop.
All good things must come to an end, they say. That is philosophy. Reality is different. And it is now staring us. Addiction is dangerous. The penalty is that we now have to face that music, even though WorldSpace is not beaming it anymore.
We are now dusting off the CDs and cassettes. The old music system is being given an overhaul. The house cannot remain silent. And our favourites will delight us again not necessarily from the space but from the box!

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