Friday, April 11, 2008

Radio Ga Ga

They're everywhere. You can't escape them. Their incessant screaming seeps through your skull and messes with your brains. They gibber at you excitedly while you're at restaurants, malls and on your way to work. Their non-stop banter bounces off your eyeballs and lodges itself irretrievably in your psyche. Their ghoulish laughter rings in your ears hours after they've gone. They shriek in amusement as they watch you grow more and more dependent on their histrionics to tide you through your day.

What is most alarming, however, is that their numbers are swelling rapidly. The handful of RJs at Bangalore's solitary FM radio station in the early 2000s has now self-replicated to form a whole tribe of hysterical, airheaded babblers, chattering across 30 stations today. Unfortunately, I have never been able to catch a live specimen so far, to ask it the questions that I've always been dying to:

Are you sure you haven't been genetically altered? What do you have for breakfast before you let fly on the world like that? Do you sound like CDs on fast forward even when you're off work?
Will you ever have spouses? who aren't deaf-mute? Or children? How are those gonna work out if your spouses have permanent headaches from your incessant chattering? Ok I don't want to know the answer to the last one.

I must admit though, that there are a few chatterers that stand out from the maddening clamour. They gibber a little less, and make just a teeny bit more sense than the rest. This is my tribute to them. You kinda sorta make-ish my day, so, ummwell thanks.

Malavika (Radio Indigo): What! You lefta? Just like that! Why?? How can you do this to me, Bikerdude, your most adoring (and regretfully silent) fan? My mornings to work were made so much more bearable by the cheeriness of your happaladha-hittu voice. Your good humour and understated wit, especially when those obnoxious schoolkids called in and asked you to "playya song f'my muddher", were so charming. I will miss you I say. Come back! Wail!

Prithvi (Radio One): Boss, you're the man. Aha what a lovely RJ you are I say. I crown you the undisputed King of Kanglish. Your crazy humour and voice impressions are awesome. OK they're also slightly girly, but hey we like that. Oh and guy, could you ask your people to redo that jingle for your show? The one that has "Gooooood morning 'aa-Byengloora'" clunkily dubbed over the earlier 'Bangalore'? Apart from that, very good boss, congrats ok? ok.

Radha Thomas (Radio Indigo) : Sigh. When your deliciously husky voice hits the airwaves every Sunday, I stop wherever I am and listen intently. To the slightly run-of-the-mill but gorgeous jazz that you play with such coolness. Mid-middle full garagase Gayathri voice also. Aha, what a. Thank you for being born ma. Enjoy ok?

Rohit Barker (Radio Indigo) : Ahem, what can I say. You were awesome when you started, until you had that lobotomy a couple of years ago. Seriously boyo, what gives with the hysterical giggles and the brain dead jokes these days? We want the old Bright Barker back. We miss you(ish). Luckily the extra brain space seems to have been substituted with fairly good taste in music. And that Saturday thing you do with the gravelly voiced DJ whatsizname is really quite lovely, so great going!

Darius (Ex Radiocity): Well you're tough to ignore, aren't you. Taking some time off the air after all those death threats from the people you humilated during your call-in shows? Ah ok. Take, take.

Chaitanya Hegde (Ex radio city, now somewhere on a satellite): Putta, I can't say I dig your music, but your voice has a lovely reassuring tone to it that we all really like. So keep talking, but keep that finger off the play button, Ok? Ok bye.

Priya Ganapati (Ex Radiocity, now Mumbai, no?): Hai so nice. Full RJ ki Rani you were. Where you went off I say? And more importantly where did you take your awesome, awesome alter egos: Sister Stella and Lingo Leela? Boss! you guys used to make my day back then, with those slonguaze lessons and gogonut oil melodies for maaaladies. Come off back no, what is there?

Chamrajpet Charles and Prof. Ulfat Sultan (Radio One): Dude, you rock. Even a die-hard cantonment type like me can't get my dinglish to flow as smoothly as you do. 'Ow y'all manije so well I dunno men buggeh. Muss'be all dose quarters and bubba curries y'all eat hevery week, neh? What-tever you say baba, when I meet you I'll take off one xerox of your foot and hang it off on my wall only. Oi teri xerox ka taanga! Much love.

Sheetal Iyer and Vasanthi (Where are you these days ma?): Aiyo, sweeties you are I say. Sweetal and Pleasanty you can change off your names to, no? Nice job OK? Oaakay.

And finally, my all time favourites:
The nameless RJs on All India Radio (AIR) FM:
Dear saars and medams,

Kindly note that I am terribly in love with all of you. I am fascinated by your polished, measured tones, resultant of decades of practice in the dharna tent with an apricot seed in either cheek. I am highly entertained by your tinkly genteel laughter whenever any of your readers from Kaval Byrasandra sends in a joke. The detailed explanations provided after each joke are greatly appreciated by goldfish embryos, rock dwellers, politicians and waiters at Mocha.

Thanks to your intelligent discussions on various fascinating subjects during the Rajkumar favourites hour, my knowledge on piles, streptococcal infections and commercial chakkotha cultivation has advanced immensely.

I realize that you have approximately 88,743 hours of flute recitals in your archives, and am only too happy to listen to them incessantly, at the risk of going slightly mad at 7 every evening. I even approve of your long stoic silences between songs, when I assume you take your well-deserved tea breaks.

Live long and prosper, AIR, I love you. OK? OK.

As for the rest of you:
I'm not saying you aren't good. I'm not saying you are, either.


Anonymous said...

I miss Lingo Leela ans Sister Stella, men! So good no they were? And I stopped off listening to radio only after Priya Ganapathi left. I was her Sunday evening Retro Show devotee. Come off back no Priya...

Anonymous said...

hey BD, I cannot imagine how AIR has changed for the worse. I am not familiar with the FM channels at all. But I guess AIR bangalore aka govt channel is still the same with the mysterious music (starting at 6:00, i have never figured out in these 30 and odd yrs what instrument or a group thereof emanate such a sound, the music i refer to as the edge, the thin line between melodious music and dissonance) followed by devaranaama (they would play appropriate saangs based on the deity of the day),vaartegaLu, raitarige salahe, kaarimkarigaagi karyakrama, vanitaa (hengasarigaagi karyakrama), chitrageetegaLu (eega keLi Dr.Rajkumar haagu saritaa abhinayada keraLida simha chitrada haadu, Dr.Rajkumar mattu Vani jayaram ivara dhwaniyalli, ee haaDannu koriruvaru tumkoorininda rajappa, meena, puttraju,doddshetty, kyaatsandradinda boregowda matthu baLaga haagu guravebhaavi inda hanumakka, linganna mattu maneyavaru.. etc)
It used to be superbly funny. And unlike TV stations which go on and on, Radio used to shut down during working hours if I remember correctly or have some boring programs from akaashavaani's vaaNijjya vibhaaga (commerce division)....And O'boy those ads Gopal hallu puDi, ujjwala urea, Co-optex SeeraygaLu, surf sOpina puDi, lifebai sopu, Super 501 bar sopu were awesome !! They would also have some kind of a rooster sound between ads more like the rooster being horribly tortured. Do they have all these on FM too? I miss them.

plush said...

hehe...correctu..lingo leela mathe rohit barker modlu sooper aagidhru..iiga aa yappa so-so...

Therestlessquill said...

Tch. It's looking like I am stalking you now, men. So I sent mail. So where is official sounding reply? Till then I CAN'T USE YOUR BLOG POSTS IN MY PAPER!!! Ok? Ok.

So in unofficial capacity, another nice post, although I don't know any of those people wrote about so I probably missed the essence entirely. But every city has nice and not so nice RJs no? Like Kamla Ka Hamla and Angry Ganeshan in Bombay, among others.

anoushka taraporevala said...

many moons ago, a dear friend of mine from yr city introduced me to sister stella via a sound byte. i have never forgotten her. where IS she? happily married to the dohgter she had cresh on?

Pri said...

che paapa give this boy permission to use your blog no.

so i used to have this crush on rohit barkar until one day tragically i saw a picture of him in bangalore times and poof the crush was gone. anyhoo while i was still crushing i would text radio city all the time. enter all kinds of contests. i always won though.

let's see i won the 'describe why your college is the coolest in the city' contest. my grand prize was nothing. then i won 'what is the best make out place in bangalore?' contest. people were calling in saying 'under the bed' and 'that buffalo mating place' etc. i said planetarium and won off. again i won no actual prize. then one day i think they felt bad for me so they gave me passes to some special strings show after which we were forced to talk to cute guitarist and that other fool. it was an awkward conversation. also every time we had a sleepover we would call and request songs and giggle stupidly. i also loved to record my own voice on the radio and listen to it over and over again. so embarrassing gah!

hegde did have the nicest voice though. didn't we discover his lame blog? what happened to it?

Pri said...

by the by i think i recognize macha here on the right.

PizzaDude said...

Do you remember Jonzi (ex-RadioCity) ? Man, I was a huge fan of his and his request show. Initially I think he used to host it along with Gita Modgil and then he went solo. I wonder what happened to him :-?

Karan said...

Tell the above boy his favorite person in the whole world moved to Dubai and hosts some internet radio station from there.

PS: For your reference the word verification word i got was: yqgjdsa

Plis to be seeing there-was-this-man's a.k.a. once again's blog comment section on latest post for understanding.

maami said...

I may have no idea about the RJs you talk about,but I can assure you they can never be a patch on the abysmally pathetic levels of RJs in the place I reside.Stopped listening to the radio even during smog or sandstorms to avoid listening to their putrid blathering.Prefer the moody blues of B.Jayashree instead.
A bouncy read as usual.

lilith said...

i remember there was this rj on radiocity who wished bangalore "happy good friday". :) she used to host that morning show when they first started. it's a wonder you haven't met darius and charles in person. they were all over those college lit fests things and koshy's, and couldn't be avoided even if one wanted to. ahh i miss bangalore and its terrible intellectual snobbery.
p.s. just read your wedding post -- bleddi yegzellent as usual.

Bikerdude said...

anon: Totally no?

anon2: To be fair to them, I really like their programs sometimes. Free from the nonstop jabber of modern day DJs. And some of their classical recordings in their Amritavarshini channel (102) are awesome. So I wouldnt write them off as a lost cause yet.

pri: Gaaaahahah u were one of those huh? Yes the macha on the right is the wannabe me in college. Boom box and chuddie included. Except father india would give one boom on my head and one box on ear if I did anything of the sort.

pizzadude: All too well. To be honest, I never thought much of him :) Always wondered what became of him, thanks for stalker update Karen.

Karen: What man, mad you went eh? Nothing i understood. WHy I should go to whatsiznames blog to see same comment?

maami: Same thing here too, except not so much Hindi gibber. Its mostly English and Kanglish , but the songs most stations (except Indigo and AIR carnatic) play are the same bollywood junk.

lilith: Gaahaha I remember her. Well if its any consolation, there is no intellectual snobbery on the airwaves any more. Mainly cos there is no intellect. Pity.

The Quark said...

I miss each and every one of these characters. Darius was from Joseph's, where I studied and it was fun to see him on stage.

And of course, priya ganapathy was god level.

But honestly, it is hard to appreciate all this unless someone reasonably witty brings them together, like this. And anyway, this is another level. Puuuuuuuuuure genius pa! nakkan superu.

10yearslate said...

Anon 2 avarige jayavaagali. Nanna favourite andhre aa jaaheeraathugaLu!

Eevagloo nanna makkaLige haadi thorsodhu

"Horlicks kudiyo abhyaasa, amma kalsiddhu, baalyadalle!"

"2 idli parcel!
Mallige saar mallige.
Aenu, nim idli-naa?
Illa saar, nim shirtu.
Nunn shirtu! Ha ha ha.
Yaavdrindha ogedaddhu?

Super Rin BiLupu! Minchinanthe hoLeyuva Super Rin BiLupu!"

Ayyo bhaaL missing.

Penguin said...

Ayyo, orrey missing is happening. Suresh Venkat on Radio City (first first he used to come no?) was sooo bloody good man. Though I've heard his face is not that good. But then, with voice like that, who really cares about the face I say!

Abhipraya said...

When the first FM channel came I wasn't in Blr and how I would run for the radio the moment I landed here. Now I barely turn on the jabber marathon. Rohit Barker was bright? Man I missed that one. And I was one of the many peepals who wanted to kill off Darius.

Chaitanya Hegde is on Radio Sparsha Except for his voice there's nothing going for him though and Vasanthi (who has many many many fans among dudes) has quit radio and joined television channel :)

And c'mon AIR rocks! FM or otherwise.

Bikerdude said...

restlessquill: Sorry ma wrote, see.

anoushka: sorry for you also ma, i think i missed a chunk of comments when i was replying. hey do you have that clip of Sr Stella where she talks about Dr Josatel (a joally fello, jeste graacking joakes and-duh reeely inderested in oalde Ingleesh soangse?) God hilarious that was no?

thequark: gaaahaha been a while since i heard nakkan superu :0 Thanks boss :)

10yrslate: heheh yes yes remember very clearly though all my radio ad memories were in Malayalam "Mazha, mazha- Kuda, kuda. St Geoooorge Kudagal." and "Varoo varoo, munnil varoo, Det Powder maargam" etc. Hai koi lauta de mere beete hue din :(

penguin: yeah wonder what happened to him. he was nice though sud-suddenly English breakdown will happen off I remember.

abhipraya: Yes I completely agree that AIR FM is really refreshing sometimes, and is the only channel that actually cares about non mainstream music. Their Amritavahini (varshini??) channel 102.1 dedicated to classical music is just fantastic. I listen to it all the time (err the 4 hours that it is on air atleast), notwithstanding the endless flute recitals. Long live AIR.

weed said...


I haff been following your blog for a long time now, osssum i say!
i am realllly appreshiating.
i am all giggles when i yam reading.

RustyNeurons said...

wow, that is quite a bit of radio you listen to..
I could never handle my irritation for long when they were on the air - nice voice or not..
But yes, Lingo Leela was my fav.. and so was Rohit Barker..
You should HEAR these morons on FM here in G'gaon. You will love every one of those blokes back in bengalooru.. sigh...
[btw, what's with word verification thingie? too many fansaa? ;P ]

Prats said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prats said...

yappa...full fan association...and just for RJ...and whatte remember all the names so well...what you did??? research...or you also full line addeeing..
What happens to Kiran sreedhar, rashmi, ashwini...don't ask me where , what when....I only hear names...

But very good dedication this looks

maxdavinci said...

donno bout the kanglish yaar-jhays but loved the sarcasm...

too good scootermama....

keep em comin...

Anonymous said...

Hey..u missed Geeta Madgil..I had a crush on her voice...She had even come in my dreams and danced with me [:)]

kavitha said...

rofl @ the letter to the RJ's!

and the pacha coloru jinku cha guy is quite a stud muffin ;)

Bikerdude said...

weed: Interesting nick, many mercis :)

rustyammow: why not updating blog with gurgaon galatas I say? No no some fellows were posting hajaar comments in portuguese, french and all saying kindly click here (virus link) and here (virus link) itseems. Some paapa commenter will click off and get virus means me only they will scold no, thats why.

prats: aiyo illama I only listen on my way to and from work ashte, and only to some 1.5 channels. neev helid RJs yaaru nang gottila. Where they come?

maxdavinci: Dangs ba :)

rk: Oh to that level it has ripened aa? Verrri gooood :)

kavitha: Oh thank you thank you blush blush. It is wannabe self portrait. Last time I attempted in previous post i ended up making myself look like george michael so err this is improvement no?

Anonymous said...

and this is to be why that we are louuwing you!
ps: what do u use for the illustrations?

RustyNeurons said...

ohhh... there also, faafularity!!!
Ggaon has not yet hit me :) will start postings.. soon.
Btw, the drawings this time showing macho men around :) why like that?? self portrait? ;P

playbyrules said...

did you forget jonzi? afternoon request show in the early days of radio city. that guy did a good job too. malavika left off :(

Manasvi. said...

Glad to know you love AIR. Many people call it old fashioned. But those who work there would only know the effort it takes to be a part of AIR. and the number of restrictions we have to consider before every word is spoken.

Bikerdude said...

anonymous: ah thanks ma. I use Visio's squiggly line tool with a lot of mouse dragging, cursing and re-drawing. Wish it was easier to draw on computer. Thanks for asking :)

playbyrules: YOu and pizzadude have to get together and start a jonzi fan club I say :) Never was a great fan of his, but yeah I agree he was a cut above the rest.

manasvi: Yes I definitely do. We didnt own a tv until the mid 80s. AIR was our only window to the world and its tough to be ungrateful to as powerful a medium as that. Good going :)

Bikerdude said...

Err just a small correction. AIR's carnatic FM channel - Amritavarshini, airs on 100.1 FM not 102 as I'd earlier mentioned.

mem said...

i used to listen to thge radio all the time now they talk to much and too many people are selling property.

Vasanthi was so chirpy in the morning. My mother fell in love with her and her morning sunshineness and would cluck dissapprovingly at my morning grumpiness. You could even call vasanthi and get her to give wake up calls to people.

Recently i turned the radio back again to find the vasanthis and jonzis and i found one lady asking 'neevu ondhu cockroach na hididithre cockroach yen feel madathe? yen helthe? ...sms me with your reponses' (i kid u not.)
offed off the radio i did

freespirit said...

penguin: Suresh Venkat is a producer with CNBC now and lives in Bombay. He visited me last weekend in Malaysia. I'll be sure to pass on the message that his 'fans' are missing him!

And those who miss Chaitanya Hegde, his blog is here

Bikerdude said...

mem: Hehh yeah those are the brain dead ones- dime a dozen these days. Shudder. Too funny about the cockroach thing and I completely believe you. The rubbish we hear on the radio these days!

sthreespirit: Thank you kindly for ignoring me off nicely and writing comments to everybody else on blog. What I say? Ohoho. Thanks for the Hegde link :P

V said...

"Mid-middle full garagase Gayathri voice also"

damn! it's been so long i heard/spoke something like this...

i used to listen to sheetal iyer's show back in 2001? i can't seem to recollect when radiocity started. but yeah, there were just two radio stations back then. radio city and the AIR eff yum radio. i'm surpised to know that there are 30 now!!

freespirit said...

BD: saari saar. mishtyk ho gaya. solpa adjusht maadi. btw, i was in bengaluru a few weeks ago and made sure to go check out that cauvery theatre Magic Box tourist spot i've been following on your blog so diligently. It looks kinda neat and seems like traffic congestion has let up at that spot...only to re-congest at another spot down the road!

usha said...

I'm not much into radios, except on lazy Sunday afternoons..
A nice book, a mug of coffee and gud old Hindi songs on AIR. best combo ever, I say!

Bikerdude said...

v: :) Yup and counting. All pretty much the same rubbish though.

sthreespree: Aaan wokaywokay. Yes no? About magic box. Nonnnsssense it is. but hopefully after the next biggie is completed things will be better.

usha: Totally boss. For me its the barber shop and AIR :)

Poojitha said...

Alright post pl!!!!

DubaiBoy said...

Jonzie was in Dubai till recently doing a kick ass evening show on 106.2 FM. I hear that he is now on worldspace.

priya ganapathy said...

One of my friends told me to check out this blog and man, i haftu admit, u guys made my day!! Full majaa happened. I can't believe that there are quite a few who still remember the 'Core FM team of Radio City!' and so many who loved the Retro Show & the Late Show. I had an awesome time while I was there, and it feels utterly wunnerful that u were listening. For those of you who need an update on my life - I quit fulltime radio but now host events, do voice-overs and am back to writing. Travelling a lot... but if I find a radio station that's calling out my name - u can be sure to hear me on the airwaves;-) Till then, take care and thanks for ur wonderful messages! Yours in music n madness - Priya Ganapathy/Lingo Leela/Sister Stella

Bikerdude said...

dubaiboy: Thanks for the update!

Bikerdude said...

priya ganapathy: Wow, thanks for dropping by. your shows were definitely my favourite back in the day. glad you're doing well. do come back and entertain us asap. we feel lost without you (and your multiple personalities) :) Sweet of you to drop a comment!

Sreekanth said...

Sooper maga...

Chaitanya Hegde's sunday morning show is something i rarely missed. I somehow feel his kannada was more natural than others (though RJs hardly spoke in kannada those days). Be it local slang or the colloquial style of speaking, he was THE BEST. After him, that show was managed by Kiran Shreedhar and others, but trust me, they were not even closer to him.

And, how can I forget Sheetal? She introduced me to the likes of Shailendar (her favorite, if I remember right) and Mahendra Kapoor on her daily 11 a.m show.

Btw, my friend asked me to visit ur blog when we were discussing something abt hebbar iyengar and marriages...where is that?

Anonymous said...

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