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From Vividh Bharati to FM Radio
Time flies. Several decades back one had to plan hard to possess luxury items. Refrigerators, TV and washing machines were considered luxury items. If one had a landline telephone connection, he was considered lucky.
WITH RISING petrol prices the options are – walk short distances like going to the markets, use bicycle for travel where feasible, look for alternate fuels like water or fruit juice, bring work home, send requirements of groceries over the phone, pay electricity and telephone bills online, use pool cars for going to office, try to learn ballooning, buy a set of balloons.

Whatever are the options, it is impossible to suppress the urge to buy a vehicle – the two wheelers are for the youth – the more mature and not-so-young go in for the four wheelers. Finance is not a problem any longer because there are several methods to lay hands on a brand new vehicle with the least possible hard cash. The problem arises when it comes to parking. Roadside kerbs are unsafe, the parking space in the office is congested, the apartment provides parking facilities for the night – what about the day? Can one tolerate the colour of the vehicle fading away due to constant exposure to the elements of the weather? The birds – they do not know which car comes for what price – just release its wastes at random. Solutions are not easy to come by.

It is the age of EMIs – which expands into Equated Monthly Installments. In fact, one can bring home the complete range of whatever he needs to set up a family starting from the cooking range to the television, the washing machine, the furniture – the whole gamut. You just walk into the showroom, select what pleases you (of course, being careful to be within your budget!), sign on the dotted line and wait for the arrival of the goods. It is only a matter of a few hours.

Time certainly flies. Several decades back, one had to plan real hard to possess luxury items. Refrigerators, television and washing machines fell in the category of luxury items in those times. If one had a landline telephone connection, he was considered to be lucky. One had to apply and wait for ages to become the proud owner of one of those black cumbersome instruments. And, once the linesman came to your house to set up the facility, you would become a celebrity, the envy of the neighbourhood. People would become pally and get your telephone number and – you would suddenly receive phone calls at irregular hours with requests like, “please call so-and-so from the next house – this is his brother calling…..”

Does anyone recall the radio? Long before the TV usurped our leisure time, and became an indispensable piece of furniture in the drawing room, it was the faithful radio that held the centre stage. Annual licence fees had to be paid for the models that operated on electrical valves. However, if one had a transistor radio, the licence fee was waived off, provided the set was priced below Rs 125.00. The intention was to make it within the purchasing power of the common villager. People could be seen carrying the radio sets while travelling. Vividh Bharati was the hottest favourite station after Radio Ceylon. Today’s radio means FM radio – the fares it dishes out might be ok for the young generation but at times the meaningless jabbering proves to be real bouncers for the elders.

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