Sunset Boulevard ( 4 ) : Sayonara Cassette Walkman

On October 26, 2010, there was an innocuous news item in all the news papers that Sony will stop manufacturing Cassette Walkman with immediate effect. After 30 years of uninterrupted service to music connoisseurs and after sale of 220 million units , cassette walkman is ready to walk into sunset boulevard like many other things of yore. Sony admitted that cassette walkman cannot keep pace with the modern digital age.

The Walkman

Image via Wikipedia

A sense of nostalgia gripped my psyche immediately. I have seen death of Long Play records, not very long ago. I have witnessed fading out of Two-In-One Radio & Cassette Players in not a very distant past and now the Cassette Walkman also walks into the sunset boulevard. I still have HMV LP and EP records and the HMV Record Player at my Deoria home in Uttar Pradesh. I have National Panasonic Two-In-One Radio & Cassette Player too at my Deoria home in Uttar Pradesh. I firmly and vehemently refuse to part with my above mentioned belongings, which are now a  sign of the bygone era and which are salient reminders that I am getting old now, that I belong to a generation, which is on the verge of extinction. Very soon I would slip  into irrelevance. But I don’t care. I love the above mentioned belongings and I don’t want to part with them. I have two Cassette Walkmans right here in my Mumbai flat – Aiwa and Congli.

I saw walkman for the first time , when I returned to Deoria from Allahabad after my father’s death and started supervising my estate in Deoria City and Sonbarsa village in Salempur Tehsil of Deoria District. I used to go to Gorakhpur city of Uttar Pradesh for litigation and to look after my estate in the city and a village called Bindawaliya in Gorakhpur [ now Maharajganj District ].  I saw the Walkman in train for the first time and I was immediately hooked to the device and desperately wanted to possess one. Those were very hard days for our family and despite my unflinching wish , I could not buy a walkman for myself. Years passed with ferocity but passing years could not diminish my desire for owning a walkman. In 1989 I moved to Mumbai [ the city was still Bombay ] and started my innings in the Hindi film industry as an acting trainer. One day I got my Aiwa Walkman as gift from a student of mine. A long cherished dream was fulfilled at last.

The first generation Cassette Walkman, was released on July 1, 1979 in Japan. It revolutionised the way people listened to music. Joggers, school children and music lovers lapped the new device and cherished it thoroughly. It sold only 3000 units in the first month but Sony went on to sell some 20 million units eventually. Its decline started with the advent of CD Players in the 9os. Website of Sony marked the models of Walkman as ” production completed “.

This announcement ended an era and broke my heart. First, Bajaj Scooter and now Cassette Walkman, both ended their journey in quick succession. All old favourites are giving way to new things. Change is inevitable. But parting with our cherished belongings is like ceasing to live.

May be life is coming to full circle. May be in away it is divine indication that one day, and that too not in a distant future, I would also enter my own sunset boulevard. Then nothing will matter.

Silver Sony CD Walkman D-E330, taken from an a...

Image via Wikipedia

World will go on with its uninterrupted journey, paving way for more and more new things, new people and new way of life, discarding old things, old people and old way of life.

Sony Walkman NW-A605

Image via Wikipedia

Farewell Walkman ! With your demise, a very emotional part of my life also ceases to exist. Sayonara ! [ As they say good-bye in Japanese. ] My two walkmans will be with me till my last day in this world.


Mumbai – Maharashtra – India / Vidur Chaturvedi


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