Saturday, October 31, 2009

Doordarshan at 50: If there were a Ctrl+Z in life!!

If there was Ctrl+Z in life........

Nostalgic memories of those 'good old days' – world has changed and we also changed for the world !!!
Are you missing those days? Sometimes I do

Doordarshan Logo
Doordarshan' s Screensaver

Malgudi Days
Dekh Bhai Dekh

Mile Sur Mera Tumhara

Turning Point
Bharath Ek Khoj

Alif Laila

Alif Laila
Byomkesh Bakshi

He Man
Salma Sultana DD News Reader

Vicco turmeric,
Nahin cosmetic
Vicco turmeric ayurvedic cream

Washin powder Nirma, Washing powder Nirma
Doodh si safedi, Nirma se aayi
Rangeen kapde bhi khil khil jaaye

I'm a Complan Boy(Shahid Kapoor) and
I'm a Complan Girl (Ayesha Takia)

Surabhi : Renuka Sahane and Siddharth

Then were 'Mungerilal ke hasin sapane' and 'karamchand' ...'Vikram Betal', etc.
How did one survive growing up in the 80's and 90's?
We had no seatbelts, no airbags..
Cycling was like a breath of fresh air…
No safety helmets, knee pads or elbow pads, with plenty of cardboards between spokes to make it sound like a motorbike…
When thirsty we only drank tap water, bottled water was still a mystery…
We kept busy collecting bits & pieces so we could build all sort of things … and we were fearless on our bicycles even when the brakes failed going downhill…
We were showing off how tough we are, by how high we could climb trees & then jumping down….It was great fun….
We could stay out to play for hours, as long as we got back before dark, in time for dinner…
We walked to school, or sometimes we even rode our bicycle.
We had no mobile phones, but we always managed to find each other…. How?
We lost teeth, broke arms & legs, we got cuts and bruises and bloody noses…. nobody complained as we had so much fun, it wasn't anybody's fault, only ours
We ate everything in sight, cakes, bread, chocolate, ice-cream, sweet sugary drinks, fruits..yet, we stayed skinny by fooling around.
And if one of us was lucky to find a 1 litre coca cola bottle we all had a swig from it & guess what? Nobody picked up any germs...

We did not have Play Stations, MP3, Nintendo's, I-Pods, Video games, 99 Cable TV channels, DVD's, Home Cinema, Home Computers, Laptops, Chat-rooms, Internet, etc ...
BUT, we had REAL FRIENDS!!!!
We called on friends to come out to play, never rang the doorbell, just went around the backdoor…We played with sticks and stones, played cowboys and Indians, doctors and nurses, hide and seek, soccer games, over and over again…
When we failed our exams we were given a second chance by simply repeating the same grade…without visiting psychiatrists, psychologists or counselors…

Such were the days…
We had freedom, success, disappointments and responsibilities. ..
Most of all, we learned to respect others…

Once in a while we see something that raises mushy nostalgia and one such mail forward from my friend Tess about Doordarshan posted above triggered memories of the growing up years. That was the time when my consciousness, like that of everyone else in my generation, was dominated by what I watched on DD. incidentally DD completed 50 years of its enlightening presence the previous month. Recollecting how we chattered at school the next day after catching an episode of serials like Mungerilal ke hasin sapne' Hum Log, surabhi, knight rider,Giant Robot, Malgudi Days, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Turning Point, Bharath Ek Khoj, Alif Laila, Byomkesh Bakshi, Tehkikaat, He-Man etc amazes me for how simple were those things we were burdened with then. How it would have been if I were growing up in this age of Twitter!? Life was less complex for a kid then. I mean just imagine bearing all those ads only to catch a few songs or 'Chitrahar' or its Telugu equivalent 'Chitralahari'. Or that weekly-once Hindi and Telugu movie. They made our weekend. And we made sure we 'fixed' the antennas in the 'right direction' running up and down the terrace before the movies begin so that the images are steady on screen. Life was indeed very simple.

DD being the first broadcaster was earnest in its 'educational' mission. It literally tried to school the countryside on everything from personal hygiene to lessons in Trigonometry. Even while entertaining, it carried this zeal. My grandmother who can't understand Hindi watched not just a udaan, neem ka ped or a samandar but even Oshin, that dubbed Japanese masterpiece. DD opened up new cultures and triggered a broadmindedness to folks like her in the most unpretentious manner. Contrast that with all the dumb content like saas-bahu stuff the multitude of TV channels throw at us today. Prannoy Roy hosted a weekly show 'The World This Week' at 10:30 in the night and i almost never missed it. My elder sister would be asleep by then so as to wake up early for the morning tuitions. So I would keep the volume extremely low as I didn't want to disturb her. I used to strain to hear the low volume it would run on sitting right in front of the box. That was the easiest way to get world news then. Life still was simple.

I dutifully catched up with all Hindi, English and Telugu news bulletins of the Rini Khannas and Shanti Swaroops in school holidays while at my Grandma's place as that's the only activity that was possible as I was the only kid around. So I should say I was a victim of our government's propaganda and its spin doctors. All we heard was what the Prime Minister and his ministers said. And how all of them shaked hands with their foreign counterparts while in Delhi or their trips abroad. Same 'official' news about the Chief Minister, but far lesser coverage. Now considering that every party has an associated TV channel, I am subjected to far worse propaganda but, thankfully this one is more revealing.

From the days of DD to today's realty TV, life has become more complex. Black and White impressions about society made way to almost completely Grey images of violence, corruption, crime and bizarre entertainment. While its perfectly understandable why these channels cant produce 'brainy' stuff like 'Bharat Ek Khoj', its Ironical that these cash rich channels cant come with good productions like 'Malgudi Days'. While there is almost no honesty left in news channels, entertainment channels are competing to stoop to the lowest. There is little intellectual curiosity left in watching TV now. I still remember how I loved watching the saturday afternoon's regional cinema on DD. Whether Assamese, Gujarat or Malayalam, I watched it anyway with the subtitles. DD was a lofty dream of folks who made us sing 'Mile sur mera tumahara..' while in Todays' TV we are more balkanised, everyone safe like kupmundak (a frog in the well). BTW this is the word I catched in Satyajit Ray's 'Agantuk' on DD many years ago.

As years pass on, the world gets more and more complex with umpteen angles, viewpoints, stakeholders in a single issue so its inevitable our collective consciousness gets more insensitive, crammed and more mechanical. Doordarshan being a prominent player in an era pre-liberalisation and in our childhood reflects the then simple life as clearly as a mirror. We are lucky in this aspect to go nostalgic so vividly. That 'Rukhawat ke liye Khed Hai' is perfectly okay now. It would have given us a much wanted breathing space in today's mad mad world.


Deepak said...

Awesome post, Amar ! I relived my childhood days and I could visualise my childhood home, our 14' Black n White Television, the antenna on top of our tiled house and our school ( where we discussed the previous day's Surabhi etc... ) as I was reading through this post.

We have been very lucky in this aspect compared to today's generation. Life was simple and so fun. We were not crammed as today's genX Y Z.

Turning Point really needs a special mention too as it intrigued us to think way beyond our text books and yes indeed, DoorDarshan has been a pioneer in the way in which it served content for an Enlightened society.

Hats Off to DoorDarshan.

Ravi said...

Great post. Reminded me of all those days. I think Malagudi days with those episodes of swami and friends is probably the best ever serial on indian TV. You can add that animated spider man serial to that list. I can never forget that "spiderman spiderman" song in the beginning. Also mowgli with chaddi pehenke phool kile song.

Raghavendra Keesari said...

Hi Amar, i appreciate you for choosing this theme for your blog, I really miss those days, or i must say those
doordarshan serials, which were crafted so beautifully and interestingly. Whereas, todays serials in different
channels are just trash,nothing compete's them (mostly made for TRP ratings and by wild thinking), to add to the list of serials
like Ramayan and Mahabharath, I would like to inform you, on those days when these epics were been
telecasted hyd city use to come stand still / Curfew like thing, I remember, once there was our close relatives
marriage at the said time , they printed on the wedding card saying that TV's will be available in the function hall,
so that you shouldnt miss the episode, that was the impact which they had generated. Those serials made to know
about our history, Today there is more of quantity, but lacks quality.

Jagannadh said...


Good one. This was a fresh breeze from you. I think DD is still relevant even today for the educational and cultural themes it broadcasts - which is almost missing in all other TV channels.


Amar said...

Thanks Buddies:)

Deepak, The antenna thing is real fun looking back now. All those creeking sounds it made when adjusted hither and thither. Surabhi and its hosts Kak and Shahane sure is a rich, refined program when compared to what we generally get these days.

Ravi, yeah, swami was superb. and so was spiderman and Jungle book. Jungle Book was extraordinary as an animated work. thanks for reminding the superb chaddi song written by Gulzar.

Raghavendra, u made my day :) I cudnt stop laughing at the invitation card. Yeah, i remember those days of Ramayan and Mahabharata when all households punctually stay put before the TV. God bless Ramanand Sagar and BR Chopra.

Ravi said...

In those days, you used to get ice-cream from small mobile carts whose vendors used to go on streets shouting ice cream and we used to rush out to buy ice cream for 50 paise. And also we used to get iced juice in different colored flavours wrapped in a narrow plastic tube kind of a thing. Dont remember what we used to call them exactly but they were a big hit amongst school kids those days especially the orange colored ones.

Amar said...


R u talking abt 'Pepsi'!?

Ravi said...

Yes i think it was called pepsi. Atleast you , me and kids in our school used to call it pepsi

Harisha said...

Good one dude, I don't remember missing any episode of Surabhi. The only times could be when I used to go to my grandma's village in summers. I really miss it now! Oshin was indeed a masterpiece and yes, we used to watch every regional movie. Most of the featured used to be award winning, so it was as though getting treated with only the best.

I feel that people who are grown up watching DD and listening to radio are blessed.

Amar said...

Yes Harisha, we are indeed blessed grow up seeing such rich programming :)

Rambabu said...

Amar, Thanks to you for making us to remember our childhood days with this article. Here I am sharing few…. In my village there were only few televisions. Nearly 20 to 30 people come to my home to watch News, Chithra Lahari and Mahabharata. If it is movie time then I cannot imagine the numbers (House full) so we used to keep TV outside the house.
My parents were great fan of news reader Shanti Swaroop.
As amar said quality of the content in the news or serials is very high in those days.
Thanks again.

jayakrishna.reddy said...

Hi Amar ,

The blog bought all my memories at your house , playing under the goa trees , playing with donna ( the first dog we stole away when its mother was away ), getting donna home ... our rides on cycle ... our long discussions on your house roof top ranging from politics , sachin .... science career .. that was really fun ra ....

good to read the post .