“Ek titli, Anek titlayiaan” very clearly croons into my ears, still as fresh as those Sunday mornings from my school days. It was the Sunday routine. Washing hair, eating the Special Maggi breakfast and watching Doordarshan endlessly was the Sunday ritual for my family. From Jungle Book to those afternoon movies (which most of the time didn’t make a lot of sense then and yet were fun). I clearly remember singing the literacy mission song sung by Kavita Krishnamurthy featuring Girish Karnad, every morning on my way to school. The memories are endless. The joy something you can never express in words. There was this one wonderful, magical channel Doordarshan, fondly known as “DD” in every household. It held secrets (watching a romantic movie like ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ telecasted every Friday was not considered entertainment).
Lives revolved around it. Punishments would mean not being able to watch “Jungle Book” or “Duck Tales” or even “Talespin”. Soap Operas were more serious and taught family values and morals like “Humlog”,“Buniyaad” or “Yeh Jo hai Zindagi”. As I look back now, life indeed seems so much simpler and not because of the school, honestly, I hated school. But what we saw on Doordarshan back in those days had so much more value, so many more options and of course the priceless entertainment. I wonder if the same can be said about our television viewing habits today.
The “Chitrahar” on Fridays were a family affair too. Dinner would be ready, people would gather in one room and everyone swayed to the weekly dose of songs. What I remember even more clearly were those beautiful, creative advertisements (and let me admit, I loved the ads). I have known many grown ups who acted as kids when it came to “Byomkesh Bakshi”. Not to forget how we detested the elders for making us watch the news! It all came for a price. One serial equals to complete homework. A movie equaled helping in the household chorus. But the reward was indeed priceless. I remember enacting out scenes from “Malgudi Days” and even acting like the “Yakku” from the famous “Chandrakanta”. There were times when we pretended to be royalties and loudly sang:
“Nau gadh, vijay gadh mein thi takraar,
Nau gadh ka tha jo rajkumar,
Chandrakanta se karta tha pyaar”
And to let out a little secret, my younger brother was so scared of this “Yakku” character that a mere mention of his name would make my brother do anything we wanted. This also meant dressing the poor fellow up in girl’s-dresses and clicking his photographs! I, like many others, had my first mythology lesson through DD. Mahabharat, Ramayana and not to forget my first super hero – “Shaktiman”, I still sometimes wish I could know how he takes off like he did.
Remember “Alif Laila” or Vikram Aur Betaal”? They almost made me believe in “Khulja Sim Sim” and the fact that Vikram and Betaal were both absolutely real. How can I not mention the famous:
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“Potli Baba ki – the puppet show”, penned by Gulzaar saab. It’s an absolutely endless list and the more I remember the more nostalgic it gets me.
Looking back, it is simply amazing how one channel alone could give us so many options in all possible genres. From the comedy “Tu-tu main-main”, “Shriman Shrimati”, “Dekh bhai Dekh” to thrillers like “Thekikat”, “Karamchand”, “Reporter” to children tales like “Malgudi days”, “Tenali Rama” et al. We got a complete package in one channel. Today we have endless channels but nothing that could entertain as DD did back in the good, old, golden days.
It almost seems like centuries ago and yet I remember most of the programs distinctly clear. Thank god for the internet age, I can still re-visit some of those programs. I can’t promise you the good old days, but I can definitely take you back, even if for a moment.
“To aapse mulakat hogi, agle hafte, isi samay, isis jagah, tab tak ke liye, Namaskar”