Experiencing Music and Moving On

This post is inspired by the personalised daily introduction to The Ken‘s story by Shruti, ‘Moving On’, in the-ken.com this morning. She speaks with nostalgia of the Apple iPod that she got as a gift from her parents in the context of Apple announcing withdrawal of the iPod series from the market. Here I reflect on my experience with listening to music and moving on with the changing ways!

If you ask me what sort of music I like? I really don’t know. I just seem to follow the tastes of the people closest to me at that point in time. In my school-going days I listened to the radio, mainly Vividh Bharati Service of All India Radio, as my father listed to the news and old Hindi film songs. His favourite artist was K.L. Saigal, as he tried to sing ‘So jha rajakumari, so jha’. I realized much later how wrong he got the words. Another song he enjoyed singing and got all wrong was:

Original Version:

दो नैना मतवारे तिहारे हम पर ज़ुल्म करे, हम पर ज़ुल्म करे (in Devanagari script)

Do Naina matware tihare, Hum par zulm kare, Hum par zulm kare (in Roman script)

My father’s version:

Do naina tumhare, ambadare dumbade, ambadare dumbade

In an attempt to teach myself Hindi, coming from a South Indian family, I wrote down the lyrics of the film songs as they played on the radio. In the process I started to enjoy them. I struggled with the words and their meaning. I often could not get the correct Urdu words. In fact I never knew that those were Urdu words! I used a Hindi to English dictionary to find the words, but sometimes as I did not catch the correct pronunciation I could not find the word. Amazingly I still have the diary in which I wrote down these songs. The spaces and blanks are where I was unable to understand the word. Different coloured pens used indicate different points in time when I was able to decipher and insert the words. As you can see I also dabbled in lyrics of English songs.

As Shruti described, I too got the Apple iPod Nano as a gift. Our daughter gifted both of us these little Apple iPod Nanos one summer when we visited her in Chicago. She had it pre-loaded for her technologically challenged parents with music her parents liked. It was sleek, small and easy to carry. I used in mainly when out for a walk on the IRMA campus.

The oldest and simplest modes of listening to music that we had, and used the most, was the Sony Music System. It had the FM Radio, and a 3-in-1 music system to listen to cassette, CD and USB player. We had a large collection of cassettes dating back to my husband’s college days. We also have a large collection of CDs of every genre of music. Every morning we religiously turn on the FM radio on the Sony system. And guess what, we continue to listen to Vividh Bharati!

During the days of the pandemic I was working from home for nearly a year and a half, with online classes, meetings and webinars. I kept the Sony system playing all day long. I also had another Phillips radio with a Bluetooth device. If I needed to shift to another room, I would plug the Phillips device to my laptop to charge and guess what? Listen to the FM Vividh Bharati channel! Wow, what variety! The advantage of the radio is that you do not have to worry about making a choice. But with so many new devices entering the home, the Phillips radio is completely out of date and I no longer even know how to turn it on.

Philips Radio with Bluetooth

Most of the new avatars or gadgets for listening to music have been gifted to us by my husband’s adoring students when they return as alums to pay their respects to Sir! That explains the Phillips radio, various MP4 devices that we never used and then a hi-fi BOSE amplifier.

The easiest way to listen to music of your choice, if you wish to make the choice, is to Google search on the laptop. The Bose device was very useful as the music could be amplified through the Bose speaker amplifier. Our daughter and son-in-law recently introduced us to Spotify, the online music app among other things. Music on Spotify can be amplified through the Bose device.

Bose Amplifier

Recently my husband retired and then came an avalanche of gifts, personally and through courier. Among them were a few more music + devices. One of the most useful music system gifts we received was the Saregama Carvaan. Carvaan is a portable digital music player that comes loaded with 5000 handpicked songs of various genre. The retro songs section has songs by legends like Lata Mageshkar and well known ghazal singer Talat Mehmood. And, most important, it has an FM radio as well. So no points for guessing what is switched on early in the morning. The FM Vividh Bharati channel of course!

Saregama Carvaan

And finally fell the bomb of Alexa who we had been avoiding like the plague! As I wrote on my Instagram and FB posts:

ना ना करते, ना ना करते, प्यार तुम से नहीं हुई । करना था इनकार , मगर Alexa आ गयी। @sreeramanv को सलाम करूँ या …. दूँ। Alexa को ग़ज़लों का बहुत कम repertoire है!  और सूफ़ी गाने का अंदाज़ ही नहीं है! Thank you Sreeram for this companion to your Sir!!

Alexa Echo

Alexa has many functions. Today I was trying to figure out if Alexa can record our conversations. Yes she can, if you use the ‘code’ word in your sentence. So I googled, figured out and shut down the recording feature of Alexa! It said we may use some of the features of Alexa if I shut down recording. But no matter. And guess what we use her for most. Surprise, Surprise! Not to listen to Vividh Bharati! As in my post, my husband is figuring out ways to make her play the music he likes, Ghazals and Sufi music, recite Hindi and Urdu poetry!

So moving on….Viva La Vividh Bharati!

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