India's grand old entertainer, Doordarshan celebrated it's Golden jubilee last week. Yeah, it's celebrating fifty years of it's existence as India's official broadcaster. No, I don't watch Doordarshan or in fact much of TV for that matter... I came to know about it from a private FM channel again.
The radio jockey was going all praise over DD turning 50 and asking listeners to phone in and tell everyone about their favourite DD moment. The faint first memories that I have of myself watching DD are glimpses from the everybody at home assembling in front of the TV for watching there favourite Buniyaad go a step farther. [Yes, Ekta Kapoor neither invented nor discovered family dramas.] Of course I remember Shanti too, Mandira Bedi never got tired of coming back on to the screen every afternoon, day after day after day. [UTV again beat Ekta Kapoor to daily soaps] And then there was Sports Broadcasts, whether it was the Hero Cup, The 1996 Wills World Cup, Leander Paes's bronze at Atlanta Olymics of '96 or Zidane's moment of glory at Fifa '08. DD was here there and everywhere, juggling time and resources pretty efficiently I'd say.
Having a 'Cable Connection' was considered something elite and taboo at the same time at the lunch break conversations of us 7th graders.
And then things began to change. Cable TV became as much about Discovery, BBC and National Geographic as it was about Star World and AXN. You just had to have it to have a taste of 'The World'. WWF(E) was never a DD trademark and so wasn't Prannoy Roy's NDTV. And the good old terrestial antenna caught in the web of cable signals carrying coaxial wires, slowly lost it's esteemed place atop the rooftops. You had to have 5 different Sports, News, Family Entertainment, Movie and Foreign channels to complete a TV viewing experience. [I do love cable TV for ESPN, HBO and WB though.]
And slowly, DD was left to be that official broadcaster of the nation that nobody had the time to see.Of course it isn't anywhere near with regards to quality of the content or presentation that we have on the Satellite channels. And who needs to be blamed for that, is anybody's guess..
So what's my favourite DD moment? Quite a few come to mind when I think of that...
- One fine afternoon, you could only see the pictures and not hear anything. I later got to know that Rajiv Gandhi had been assassinated. Don't know how, but I happen to remember that.
- Of course being home on Sunday mornings to watch Jungle Book, Duck Tales and Tales Pin is something I can't forget. I still cant find a Cartoon channls that airs those shows.
- Some of the really well presented social service messages that were aired after every hour or so. Remember "एक चिडिया - अनेक चिडिया" and "मिले सुर मेरा तुम्हारा" ?
- Watching the friday night movies that went on for about 5 hours thanks to the plethora of advertisements that DD used to get back then.
- Buying a Radio that broadcast DD so that I didn't miss '99 WC during my summer sojourn at Palampur, where we didn't have a TV.
- Remember the "Sorry for Interruption - रुकावट के किये खेद है" screen that used to pop up so often? It became a part of the Indian legend and folklore for ever. Modern day satellite channels hang up too, it's just that they aren't courteous enough!
Well none of these happen to be the actual DD moment for me. It's way too recent, when I lamented India's early exit at ICC WC '07 and decided to do something about it. So I got a TV Tuner card from my uncle's and we built a special set top dipole antenna, that could easily catch the free-to-air DD terrestial signals. And sure enough, I witnessed India's triumph at the ICC World T20 right there in my room, without a cable wire. And to this day, I haven't been able to decide what satisfied me more...
So what's you DD moment? Come on, say!
Listening to: Feelin' Way Too Damn Good, Nickelback, The Long Road