Transistor radios hold no charm for cricket lovers

Transistor radios hold no charm for cricket lovers

Moments after the Indian cricket team defeated Ireland by eight wickets, Satveer Singh, a shopkeeper in South Delhi and his teenage assistant discussed the probability of other teams winning the World Cup. “Good thing Ireland was defeated. It means Pakistan has more chances to enter the super eight,” Singh declared.

 “Truth be told, the Pakistani team manages to keep the tempo high. The World Cup seems more exciting and also who knows, we might get a chance to play with them again in the semi finals,” he added only to be curtailed by the assistant. “That’s only possible if Ireland gets defeated by Pakistan,” he said, and Singh spoke once again to disagreement. 

“Let’s wait for the commentary,” Singh said, as he raised the volume of a transistor radios he had placed right on top of a counter in his shop.

The transistor or radio has an age old relation with both cricket and the South Asian region. Even before the arrival of colour television, mobile phones or cricket apps, the transistor radios served as the de facto source of information and entertainment for the cricket crazy nation that India has always been.

People from all walks of life would converge towards it and huddle together while clinging onto every word coming out of the mouth of the commentator. Scenes at Satveer Singh’s shop, with people discussing, cheering and laughing, are slowly disappearing due to the onslaught of modern technology.

Shankar Ram, who originally hails from Uttar Pradesh works in the city as a watchman for a rubber factory in Neb Sarai. “In our town, we almost knew which household or shop had what brand of radio. Groups of people, both elderly and the youth, would sit on chairs or charpoys listening to the commentary and often would yell at us when we disturbed them with our shouting,” Ram said. He has barely been able to watch even a single match this World Cup. “My mobile phone acts like my radio now.  Other than keeping me posted about the score, I also try to reminisce days of my childhood. But it’s not the same,” Rai said.

“Listening to a match was a wholesome experience. With each passing day, people seem to want more and small things like a transistor have lost its importance,” believes Noor Mohammad, a retired government officer.

He says, he has never been a cricket fan, but he too misses the sites of crowed shops with people glued together around a radio.  “The transistor has become part of the culture and a tradition of some sorts. Cricket looks different now,” he added.

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