World Space crunch

Ringing out 2009 was not without mixed feelings. Reason? World Space stopped its broadcast abruptly on Dec 31. My home, which used to reverberate with music round the clock through the 24-hour multi channel-satellite radio, much to the annoyance of those not so musically inclined, plunged into a deafening silence resembling a graveyard.
The love-affair started in 2005 when the advent of this magic contrivance was advertised in hoardings and newspapers. I rushed to the nearest agent and subscribed for World Space. Eventually, I became its self-appointed brand ambassador spreading the word rather passionately at social gatherings, persuading friends and relatives to obtain a subscription and singing the praise of this new marvel. I did not hesitate to exercise my authority wherever my writ ran so that this little wonder could be purchased. Soon, installation of World Space became the hallmark for getting into my good books.
World Space was perfect for lazy bones like me who didn’t have to go beyond switching on and off and changing channels. The remote control added spice to the thrill. I could operate the radio from my perch and soak in Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore, Manna Dey, Talat et al through Farista channel; MS, MLV, T M Krishnan, Lalgudi, Shashank etc, through Shruthi and Bhimsen Joshi, Mansoor, Gangubai Hangal, Parveen, Savai Gandharva and so on. I could even switch channels to suit the mood or time of the day. So if it was bhakti stuff in the mornings and serious classical music during the day, it had to be ‘bhoole-bisare geet’ to soothe the evenings and nights.

The Sat radio provided a rare joy which the expensive music systems had not. There was the bonus: I didn’t have to forsake the comfort of my arm chair to change cassettes or CDs or tone down the volume in order to attend a call in my cordless or cell. So much so that all my CDs and cassettes collected assiduously over three decades of spending spree were consigned to the attic and the music systems accumulated in order to keep abreast of technology, went along with them.

It is not as if I did not get early warning signs about its impending demise. More than two years ago, a friend who was associated with the company chucked his job predicting that it would soon close down. But I was complacent and thought to myself, ‘Dilli door ast’, while sinking deeper and deeper into this incurable addiction, only to be told on the day of reckoning that the US owner of World Space had declared bankruptcy and there were no takers for it in India.

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