My generation is the last one to have grown up in a world without screens. Being an army family we were often stationed at faraway places in India where the TV signal was too faint to be picked up. It was an occasional luxury to see a snowy screen in black and white that showed a hazy picture after much manipulation of the rooftop aerial and imploring of the Gods. Our neighbours were kind about sharing their big black telephone with us in case of an important call.
One day a magic box called the ‘cassette player’ arrived. It was a source of great pleasure as we could listen to songs of our choice as and when we liked as opposed to waiting for them to be played on the radio.
A radio that was presented to my parents at their wedding travelled with me to medical school. All through my time there I planned my life around it. My favourite station, All India Radio Urdu Service finished broadcasting at half past 12 at night and hence bedtime was 1 am. By the end of my 5 and a half years there, I had to use sharpened matchsticks to enable the worn little bandwidth buttons to maintain electrical contact. I depended on it. It was my most prized possession, my window to the world.
I remember standing in queues to make phone calls from a manned telephone booth without a door or walls. At the time it wasn’t fun as my side of the conversation was easily audible to all present. There was no time or space for small talk as I was most aware of everyone around especially those awaiting their turn.
That was a beautiful world and so is this. Now it’s so wonderfully easy to stay connected with people all over the world, to share our thoughts and ideas. Our screens can be our windows to the world and allow us to connect across previously unfathomable distances. It has been a blessing for me to be able to share Saagar with you. Thank you for walking with me.