07 May, 2021

Good Evening, India. A Sepia Peek Into The Far Yesterdays.

Good Evening, India. A Sepia Peek Into The Far Yesterdays.

In 1982, Doordarshan had just turned 17. The only channel in pre-cable television India, the only source of entertainment for thousands of households. Initially at All India Radio, in 1971, I was one of the first to join the news in English. But it was only with the Asian Games in 1982 when DD went national and switched to colour that the frenzy began. Suddenly you were being recognised all over India, schoolboys would follow me in the streets of Jaipur, Indian Airlines would offer me special service and auto drivers would refuse to collect fare. My local butcher in Bhogal, south Delhi, would say, “Aiye, aaj ki kya taaza khabar hai madam.” Amid the buzz of markets, I’ve heard the whispers, “Of course, that’s her, who reads the news on TV,” and the replies, “No, yaar, she is so ordinary (read dark).” Soon, being ‘ordinary’ was no longer acceptable; you had to look your best at all times because TV endowed you with this larger-than-life persona. Overnight, we who read the news were fashionistas. Our clothes and...

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