And I Believed I am a Writer

Nostalgia

ZGM

For me memoirs, have ‘glory and freshness of a dream’, as the greatest of great bards says, ‘It is not now as it hath been of yore;- things I have seen I can see no more.’ Nevertheless, the ecstasy, which I get on revisiting the lanes and by lanes that have nursed and fondled me is always unbound. Like hymnals of some great maestro, it has been filling my heart with spirit. I have my bouts of despondency as well- on seeing the city decaying, ‘tears start, flow’ and dry up, looking on my withering cheeks like dried up brooks in the desert of despondency.
A year and halfback, when my house- the house I was born in was pulled down brick by brick. The attic of the house that throughout my childhood, I believed was abode of Paasecdar - supernatural being with angelic face that guarded our house against evil spirits was emptied like a garbage dump. Dismantling attic- my wonderland was like watching of my innocence- childhood. The mace with crystal head had gone missing,   moth eaten  small booklets on music and antique gramophone and broken records of my father were  removed by the contractor to be sold as Junk in City’s  junk market that has come up on once one  of pristine fresh water lagoons, barely half a mile from my house. Seeing once, most precious possession of the house, the Marconi Radio set   put in the waiting tumbrel like a just guillotined revolutionary in a French prison was   like watching like Elegy Written in A Country Churchyard or Adonais on celluloid. 
Looking back, the radio sets of late forties and fifties were rebels incarnate. These too were, silenced, imprisoned, dragged and roped to the Party offices and penalized by breaking them to pieces. In this column, sometime back, I wrote how and why even radio sets suffered fascism and how people tuned 60.3 shortwave in cellar like rooms.
I have no idea, in our childhood who owned the first radio set in our Mohalla. However, there was a story during the “German War” as IInd  World War is called in Kashmir, a family in our Mohalla owned a Radio Set. After, after dusk, the family kept it on their balcony enabling people gathered in their compound to listen news.  After 1947, couple of families in our Mohalla owned radio sets.  Those were the times, when in most of the houses remained tuned in to shortwave 60.3- Radio Tradkhal.  Most of the children remembered signature tunes of various programs broadcast from this station, some salutations of these programs had become would could  be described as konie- a language that is understood across the linguistic divide. No child could ever dare to change it- I remember convincing elders to tune in to Radio Kashmir at 9.30 was good as winning a battle of Waterloo.
 At 9.30, Radio Kashmir broadcast dramas in Kashmiri and Urdu languages.  Most of the dramas were written by best of the playwrights of their times. Some of the dramas broadcast from Radio Kashmir without reservations could be called classical for their plot, language, content and presentation. True, our Urdu dramas could not be compared to the Urdu dramas broadcast from Radio Pakistan scripted by eminent like Ashfaq Ahmed, Bano Quadsia, Razia Bhat and others but in their own right they were a class. I and my sibling with elders glued to our ears radio. Some one-liners like Baba-Douth-Matric , perhaps from a drama written by Sattar Shahid got intricately woven in our lingua franca. True, farce or fantasy whatever genre the drama serial Machama written by Som Nath and Pushkar Bhan could be placed in for their pedestrian language where very popular with common people. Notwithstanding, nicknames over centuries having got enmeshed in our colloquial language, somehow did not relish the idiom used in this radio-drama. Instead adding refinement, it added some derogatory words to our language. I remember riffraff cat calling at two young girls in our locality as Sangare and Zangaree…
The Weyth Roz Pakan- a series of radio dramas written by three important playwrights Akhtar Mohudin, Ali Muhammad Lone and Somnath Zutshi, broadcast from Radio Kashmir still live in my memory. I see this series as peak of Radio Drama. I remember as boy writing a three-page letter on these dramas to Radio Kashmir. I was thrilled when my letter about these dramas was broadcast in detail from the station- It was day I thought that I could venture into writing critiques….

zahidgm@gmail.com      

Lastupdate on : Sat, 17 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 17 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 18 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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