Sunset Boulevard ( 9 ) : ” A Streetcar Named Ambassador “


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JUNE 17, 2014           00.20 A.M.

AMBASSADOR

1958 – 25 May 2014

It pains me a lot and saddens me to no end as I write this blog about the demise of Ambassador car. It was owner’s pride once upon a time. It was a car of power once upon a time. It was object of desire once upon a time. People of my generation affectionately used to call it ” Amby “, a streetcar named “Amby”. And it is sad to know that my ” Amby ” now ceases to exist . Today, while I am writing this blog, I am grief-stricken and numb.

But I have now become immune. It is the 9th blog about vanishing objects of my younger days, my growing years, my formative period. My first blog in the Sunset Boulevard section was about ” Bajaj Scooter “. I wrote it on December 28, 2009. One fine morning I read in the news paper that HAMARA BAJAJ wont be manufactured any more. The year was 2009. Within 5 years [ from 2009 to 2014 ] , 08 more objects of my growing years left me for ever, leaving a flood of sweet-sour memories to remember and mourn. They just cease to exist now. After ” HAMARA BAJAJ ” it was the turn of ” FAMILY PHOTO ALBUM “. Then it was the turn was of ” VANISHING GRAVES “, ” CASSETTE WALKMAN “, ” KAMALISTAN STUDIO “, ” CHAVANNI “, ” ROAD MILESTONES ” and ” LAKSHMI TALKIES “, a cinema hall of Allahabad.

Now I know that anything will disappear any time and will cease to exist. Ambassador car is the 9th to walk into the sunset but certainly it is not going to be the last one. Few more things of my younger years will vanish soon and will become memory and history. One day I myself will walk into the sunset boulevard. But as long as I am alive, it hurts me as I find that a particular object of my life, a part of my being, an integral paraphernalia of my younger days will be no more with me. Ambassador is the 9th but definitely not the last one. With Ambassador, a part of my life is gone forever.

Ambassador - The Symbol 0f Power

Ambassador – The Symbol of Power

 

The Ambassador was a car manufactured by Hindustan Motors of India. It has been in production since 1958 with few improvements or changes and is based on the Morris Oxford III model, first made by the Morris Motors Limited at Cowley, Oxford in the United Kingdom from 1956 to 1959.

Despite its British origins, the Ambassador is considered as a definitive Indian car and is fondly called “The grand old lady of Indian roads”. The automobile is manufactured by Hindustan Motors at its Uttarpara plant near Kolkata, West Bengal. All the prominent Indian politicians of yore used the Ambassador. Some like  Sonia Gandhi, used the Ambassador till now.

As of 25 May 2014, the Hindustan Motors has suspended the production of the Ambassador

Decline & Fall of Ambassador

Decline & Fall of Ambassador

My father was fond of Chevrolet cars. So we never possessed the Ambassador in Deoria. But I do remember the red-beacon fitted Amby of the ruling class of my generation, which used to inspire awe and admiration in me. Years have passed. Ambassador slowly lost the glory and power attached to it. It, in its later avatar , became popular as a taxi. What a sad fall of the grand old Ambassador! And now it passes into oblivion. Its journey is complete.

 

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I mourn the death of my Amby.

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise would also like to join in mourning.

RIP ! my Amby. Your enviable fortune got changed in the changing times. Alas ! Time is cruel.

 

[ I have quoted some facts about Ambassador from Wikipedia. I am indebted. ]

 

VIDUR

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Sunset Boulevard ( 8 ) : ” Lakshmi Talkies : अपना सिनेमा हाल था ये “


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 17 , 2014           11.40 P.M.

Today when the Hindus , all over the world , are celebrating Holi and rejoicing in festivity , I am sitting in my study in Mumbai and writing this blog about Lakshmi Talkies , Allahabad with tearful eyes . I am struggling for words . I am unable to form sentences . I am full of emotions . Lakshmi Talkies will not ring a familiar bell for several anonymous people or the lovers of cinema . May be some will be familiar of some Lakshmi Talkies of their own cities . But here I am talking about Lakshmi Talkies of Allahabad , Uttar Pradesh .

Few days back I saw the following post on the facebook time line of Shri Neeraj Sri :

अपना सिनेमा हाल था ये …
Lakshmi Talkies - Katara - Allahabad

Lakshmi Talkies – Katara – Allahabad

When I read the post and saw the photograph , I became numb . I was stunned . I was shaken . I was saddened beyond words . I was emotionally disturbed . I spent a sleepless night .

Even now as I am writing the blog , my heart refuses to believe that this is a reality . I was a regular patron of Lakshmi Talkies during my Ganga Nath Jha hostel days . Lakshmi Talkies of Allahabad was a part of my life . Lakshmi Talkies holds a special place for me because Lakshmi Talkies was an integral part of my Allahabad University days . It’s magnificent structure is still fresh in my memory . So when I saw the above picture of a desolate Lakshmi Talkies with moth – eaten walls , broken window panes and barbed wire fencing , I wanted to cry . I wanted to mourn .

I , after passing High School , left my birth place Deoria in 1967 and went to Allahabad for higher studies . Deoria had two cinema halls at that time but being in a small city like Deoria , they were not grand or magnificent , like cinema halls of bigger cities . Allahabad was much bigger city compared to Deoria , so the cinema halls were also huge and opulent . I landed in Allahabad in July 1967 with glitter in my eyes , hope and dreams in my heart for my better future . I , as a 15-year-old small town boy , was fascinated by Allahabad , the city and its atmosphere . Slowly I started getting acquainted with the city of Allahabad . Being a movie buff , I started looking about cinema halls and thus came to know about Lakshmi Talkies at Katara . Lakshmi Talkies management had this strategy of re – releasing old Hindi films . So for me this was a boon because I could now watch all the old classics which I had missed in Deoria .

” Door Ki Awaaz ”  [ 1964 ] , a film directed and produced by Devendra Goel was the first ever film which I watched in Lakshmi Talkies . The Joy Mukherjee , Saira Banu , Pran , Johny Walker and Om Prakash starrer film has some popular Mohammad Rafi gems like , “Ek Musafir Ko Duniya Men Kya Chahiye ……………………….” , ” Husn Se Chand Bhi Sharmaya Hai , Teri Soorat Ne Ghazab Dhaya Hai ……………..” , ” Muqaddar Aazmana Chahta Hoon , Tujhe Apna Banan Chahta Hoon ……………………………. “ , and a lovely duet of Mohammad Rafi with Asha Bhosle ” Haathon Men Haath Hothon Pe Afsane Pyar Ke ……………………” , and the last but not the least , a song sung by Mohammad Rafi , Manna Dey and Asha Bhosle ” Hum Bhi Agar Bachche Hote Nam Hamara Hota Gabloo , Babloo , Khane Ko Milte Laddoo , Aur Duniya Kehti …………….. Happy Birthday To You …………………” . All these lovely songs were tuned by music director Ravi .

The film , the songs and the whole movie going experience is still fresh in my memory even after 47 long , strife – torn and eventful years of my life .

The last film I watched in Lakshmi Talkies was in 1971 . It was a Hemant Kumar produced and Asit Sen directed ” Khamoshi ” [ 1969 ] . During the same year they also opened a skating ring in the western side of the compound . It was a new experience .

I completed graduation in 1971 and left Allahabad and came to Bombay [ now Mumbai ] . One year after I left Mumbai again and came to Allahabad to complete my post graduation . So I was in Allahabad and staying in the same Ganga Nath Jha Hostel again from 1972 to 1974 before finally bidding adieu to Allahabad in 1975 . During this period I did watch couple of films in Lakshmi talkies but I don’t remember them .

But I do remember a concert of Pandit Ravi Shankar with Alla Rakha Khan , which I was fortunate enough to attend . One evening my friend Pramod Vajpayee came running and informed me about the concert . It was in aid of some NGO . So the ticket rates were low . We went , bought the tickets and took our seat in the packed hall . That evening is still fresh in my memory . It was a life – time experience .

And now 40 years later in March 2014 , I read this posting about the closure of Lakshmi Talkies on the facebook time line of Shri Neeraj Sri and the world of my emotional memory crumbled at one go . A part of my life is gone forever . A silent witness of my many lonely evenings is going to be silent very soon .

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I condole the demise of Lakshmi Talkies .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to express grief and pain .

Farewell Lakshmi Talkies !

Neeraj Sri has rightly said , ” अपना सिनेमा हाल था ये … ”

VIDUR

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Sunset Boulevard ( 7 ) : ” Vanishing Milestones “


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JULY 07 , 2012           01.00 A.M.

I wrote 1st blog in the ” Sunset Boulevard ” category on December 28 , 2009 . It was about Bajaj Scooter . There was news that owners of Bajaj are discontinuing the production of their iconic Bajaj scooter permanently . A sense of nostalgia gripped me and I wrote about ” Hamara Bajaj ” . I never thought that one day I would be writing 7th blog in this category .

Recently when I visited my native place Deoria , I suddenly noticed that ubiquitous milestones are slowly but steadily vanishing from the roads . Such iconic part of one’s life is now giving way to some metallic mileposts and no one is noticing it .

What is a milestone ?

As dictionary explains its meaning ; ” a milestone is a stone functioning as a milepost .”

Later on the word milestone started carrying other meaning also . A milestone is refered to as ” a significant event or stage in the life , progress , development in the life of a person and / or a nation . “

Since olden times , milestones are used on the roads to show a mile of distance from one place to another . In those days of yore when ” Google Earth ” and ” Google Maps ” were yet to appear and digital maps with the ; GPRS [ Global Positioning Radio System ] or GPS [ Global Positioning System ] technology were yet to become a part of our lives , a milestone was the only indicator or sign which indicated that we are travelling on the right path .

Roman Empire

Milestones were originally stone obelisks – made from granite marble or whatever local stone was available – and later concrete posts. They were widely used by Roman Empire road builders and were an important part of any Roman road network . Many Roman milestones only record the name of the reigning emperor without giving any place names or distances.  The first Roman milestones appeared on the Appian way. At the centre of Rome, the “Golden Milestone” was erected to mark the presumed centre of the empire : this milestone has since been lost. The Golden Milestone inspired the Zero Milestone in Washington, D.C., intended as the point from which all road distances in the United States should be reckoned.

Zero Milestone (1923), The Ellipse, Washington...

Zero Milestone (1923), The Ellipse, Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Byzantine Empire

A mile-marker monument, the Milion , was erected in the early 4th century AD in Constantinople . It served as the starting point for measurement of distances for all the roads leading to the cities of the Byzantine Empire , and had the same function as the Milliarium Aureum of Ancient Rome . The Milion survived intact until at least the late 15th century. Its fragments were discovered again in the late 1960s. A fragment is re-erected as a pillar.

Post Medieval Europe

In Europe , the distance measured typically starts at specified point within a city or town , as many roads were named for the towns at either end . For example in London , United Kingdom , a plaque near the Eleanor cross at Charing Cross is the reference point from which distances from London to other towns and cities are measured . In the UK, milestones are especially associated with former Turnpike roads .

 Modern highways

The historical term milestone is still used today, even though the “stones” are typically metal signs and in most countries are based on metric rather than imperial units of measure . Also found today are more closely spaced signs containing fractional numbers , and signs along railways, beaches and canals .

Milestones on Indian highways typically have white backgrounds with yellow tops (on national highways) or green tops (on state highways) . The names of cities and distances are painted in black . The names of the nearest towns and cities are written along with distance in kilometres . On undivided highways , both sides of the milestones are used , telling the distance to the nearest cities in each direction . The highway number is written on the head of the milestone . The sum of the distances of two nearest cities in each direction from the milestone is listed on the side .

I am posting recently clicked photo of Zero Milestone of Deoria city . It is freshly painted because it is just opposite the District magistrate’s Bungalow .

A Milestone at Deoria

A Milestone at Deoria

A Milestone at Deoria

A Milestone at Deoria

This huge stone structure , which gives the distance of various city from Deoria , is also freshly painted and it stands just in front of the District Magistrate’s Bungalow . These three are a part of my life . I have seen these three milestones or mileposts since my childhood days . I am a wanderer and am used to see milestones while travelling  .

A Milestone at Deoria [ Larger Version ]

A Milestone at Deoria [ Larger Version ]

 These photos , which I have taken from the internet , tell us that a milestone is the part of our civilization since the days of Roman Empire .

Slate milestone near Bangor, Wales

Slate milestone near Bangor, Wales (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Newell Green milestone

Newell Green milestone (Photo credit: sleepymyf)

Milestone, Bath Road

Milestone, Bath Road (Photo credit: Pete Reed)

Zero Milestone (1923), The Ellipse, Washington...

Zero Milestone (1923), The Ellipse, Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Milestone

Milestone (Photo credit: A.M. Kuchling)

But alas , things are changing . Roads of yore are gone . Now Highways and Expressways have taken their place . And with the advent of these Highways and Expressways , milestones are also gone . Now metal mileposts with fluorescent colours have taken their place . On my numerous journeys , I have noticed these new age milestones but it never occurred to me that old milestones of my childhood will vanish one day .

These metal milestones are more convenient and easy to see during night because of the fluorescent colours , but the older version of the milestones have some distinct charm and some romantic attraction .

New Age Milestone

New Age Milestone

New Age Milestone

New Age Milestone

On my recent visit to Deoria when I travelled to my wife’s village Ghortap , I noticed the pitiable condition of the milestones . You can watch yourselves . You can’t read the name or distance because it is almost buried in the ground and also not painted . And remember , this road connects Deoria to Kushinagar , a Buddhist pilgrimage centre where Gautam Buddha attained NIRVANA . Several foreign dignitaries visit this place quite often .

Current State of Milestone

Current State of Milestone

Current State of Milestone

Current State of Milestone

Current State of Milestone

Current State of Milestone

Current State of Milestone

Current State of Milestone

Milestones of foreign countries are also going through the same phase .

Milestone, Bath Road

Milestone, Bath Road (Photo credit: Pete Reed)

Milestone, Datchett

Milestone, Datchett (Photo credit: Pete Reed)

Very soon these new age milestones or mileposts will replace our age-old milestones made of stone or rock . People of younger generation will forget about these ubiquitous milestones , which were so intrinsically attached to our being not very long ago .

New Age Milestone

New Age Milestone

Alas ! One more part of my life will cease to exist very soon . There is no official announcement . There is no official order of discontinuation of old milestones . But I know it wont be seen anymore . It wont be around few years after .

Milestone will be googled and it will only be seen in some dictionary or encyclopaedia .

[ Some information about Roman Empire and Byzantine Empire is taken from Wikipedia . I express gratitude . ]

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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Sunset Boulevard ( 6 ) : I Lost My Chavanni


When I wrote Sunset Boulevard for the first time about my Bajaj Scooter, I thought that in my life I wont be writing something like this ever again. I assumed that all the familiar things of my life, all the cherished asinine objects of my childhood will be with me till I breathe my last. But Alas ! I am writing the 6th version of my Sunset Boulevard. One more object of my childhood fancy is destined to walk this path, which is metaphorically known as Sunset Boulevard. It means walking the path of no return. After sunset there will be a new dawn , a new morning but that will be a totally new dawn, that will be a totally new morning. Things and objects which leave us and which finish their journey wont ever return in our present life.

Indian coins have seen many changes and they have gone from one shape to other. In my early childhood there were copper coins. When I grew older, those copper coins, those objects of my childhood fancy were changed to aluminium coins. My evening pocket-money was 10 paise. It used to be princely sum in those days of asinine pleasures. It would seem impossible but I used to buy many things to eat with this princely some of 10 paise.

Slowly some new coins were introduced and a new shaped CHAVANNI came into being. My joy knew no bounds when after due requests, I started getting CHAVANNI for my every day evening pocket-money. I remember and that too very vividly that when I got my first CHAVANNI for the first time, I bought many things : MOONGPHALI, CHINIYA BADAM, PATTI AND CHURAN. God ! so many things and just one coin ! Days seemed to be happier and rosy. Every evening I used to stand near the gate of our Deoria mansion and used to wait for my father to return from the Civil Court , Deoria. His arrival was source of immense happiness. I used to be extra obedient and took every precaution of not disturbing  my father so that I could get my due CHAVANNI . My younger siblings were very envious of me because they were still getting 10 paise and they desperately wanted a CHAVANNI.

Slowly my two younger brothers ; Devesh and Atul and one sister ; Kiran also graduated and started getting CHAVANNI. We used to have our own preferences but some times we used to pull our CHAVANNIS and thus with the princely some of 1 rupee, we used to buy BUDHIA KE BAL  and used to feast on it. [ I don’t know why , but we used to call it Budhia ka Tanta ] I am giving very old photo of me and my two brothers and one sister. My younger sister Neelima was yet to be born and thus is not privy to many of our childhood fancies.

Alas ! government of India decides that the iconic CHAVANNI of my childhood will be discontinued from June 30, 2011. In fact all the coins below the denomination of ATHANNI [ 50 paise ] will be phased out. Government of India says that Ferritic Stainless Steel, which is used to make these coins costs more than the value of the coin itself. But matters of heart do not know or understand logic. I was sad  when I heard  and read the news.

25 paise (Indian)

Image via Wikipedia

One more familiar thing of my life, one more iconic object of my childhood fancy is being phased out. For me it is not just phasing out of CHAVANNI, but it id death of an object of my childhood joy and happiness. Today CHAVANNI can’t buy anything. But once upon a time it used to buy so many things for me every evening.

VIDUR

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Sunset Boulevard ( 5 ) : Alvida Kamalistan


Few days back I read a terrible news. It was about the closure of Kamalistan Studio of Mumbai.  One by one all the film studios of Mumbai are downing shutters. Swanky malls ,  shopping complexes and residential buildings are taking their place in this tinsel town. Great and historical Bombay Talkies at Malad ceases to exist. Its ruins are still there and they silently tell the glorious past history of the once so famous and premier studio of India. My heart wept when once I read in news papers that big fire gutted the extensive part of the remains of Bombay Talkies. I also saw photo of the dilapidated bungalow, which once was the residence of immortal Devika Rani and her husband and owner of Bombay Talkies, Himanshu Rai. Legendary Ranjit Movietone , though the building still exists at Dadar, is also defunct. Shree  Sound and Roop Tara Studios, both at Dadar,  gave way to commercial complexes. Seth Studio of Andheri – East closed few years back. Its neighbour, Guru Dutt Studio also closed some years back. Situated near by, Natraj Studio, also transformed into commercial complex. Asha Studio of Chembur, situated near R. K. Studio, which belonged to Bhagwan Dada Palav once, was gutted in fire and was later sold. And now news comes about the Kamalistan Studio of legendary film-maker Kamal Amrohi. His descendants sold it to some builders of Pune.

Logo of Bombay Talkies

Logo of Bombay Talkies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In mid 50s, Kamal Amrohi bought 223 acres of land situated on Jogeshwari – Vikhroli Link Road for 2.50 lakh. It was not utilized for many years. After stupendous success of ” Pakeezah ” in 1972, Kamal Amrohi started construction work on this land for his ambitious forthcoming project ” Razia Sultan ” in 1983. Sets erected for the film ” Razia Sultan “, are now part of the Kamalistan Studio. Elaborate sets erected for ” Razia Sultan ” were later used for sevsral successful films like : Dharam Veer ( 1977 ), Suhag ( 1979 ), Naseeb ( 1981 ), Coolie ( 1983 ), Raaj Tilak ( 1984 ),  Mard ( 1985 ), Hum Aapke Hain Koun…! ( 1994 ), Hum Saath Saath Hain ( 1999 ), Jab We Met ( 2007 ) and all the three Golmaal series films.

Over the years, barring 16 acres, rest of the land was either sold or taken over by the government for public utilization. But remaining 16 acres were there and it was not a loss making proposition either. Kamalista Studio was the biggest film studio of Mumbai after Film City. But all these things are now the things of the past. Soon it will be razed to make way for swanky residential complex.

Ashok Kumar

Ashok Kumar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have personal fondness for Kamalistan Studio and some sweet memories are also there to linger on in the dark corridors of my existence. Almost two decades ago when I was struggling to find a foothold in the industry, I shot here for a serial ” Ujale Ki Ore “,directed by legendary Hrishikesh Mukherjee. The cast of the serial was headed by legendary and immortal Ashok Kumar. I could watch Ashok Kumar and Hrishikesh Mukherjee working here. Today I consider myself fortunate because they don’t make people like Ashok Kumar and Hrishikesh Mukherjee any more. One more serial , written by me ,was shot here, but it did not see the light of the day. I went through elaborate make-up test for a film here, though the role was scuttled subsequently. Later on for 5 long years I lived near Kamalistan Studio and used to pass through the road many times. I personally know Tajdaar Amrohi, the son of Kamal Amrohi, who visited me at my institute few years back. He is such a nice human being. But alas ! Everything is always changing in this ephemeral world.

With Mr. Shandaar Amrohi - Elder Son Of Late Shri Kamal Amrohi

With Mr. Shandar Amrohi – Elder Son Of Late Shri Kamal Amrohi

Kamalistan Studio wont be there any more. And it will happen sooner than later. Definitely I will pass through Jogeshwari – Vikhroli Link Road several times in future, and every time I will remember legendary Ashok Kumar, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and some sweet memories of my nascent , insignificant and non-existent acting career.

Alvida Kamalistan !

Thou shall be part of my life as long as I will live. R. I. P.

[ Mumbai August 04 , 2012 = I wrote this blog in 2010 . I made a factual mistake , though inadvertently . I have mentioned that Mr. Tajdar Amrohi visited my institute . Gentleman in the photo posted above is Late Shandar Amrohi and not Mr. Tajdar Amrohi . I came to know about this through Bilal Amrohi , who is Mr. Tajdar Amrohi’s younger son and is currently getting trained by me . I regret my unintentional error and offer my apologies . ]

Vidur

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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.

Vidur

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Sunset Voulevard ( 3 ) : Grieving For Graves


Never in your wildest dream would you imagine that one day one would be sitting and grieving for some vanishing graves. It sounds bizarre. But it is true. Few days back there was a disturbing news in Times of India about the demolition of graves of some Bollywood legends. Graves of eternal Madhubala, immortal Mohammed Rafi, legendary Sahir Ludhianvi and inimitable Talat Mahmood were demolished in Juhu Muslim Cemetery to make way for new graves. As the news spread, fans and connoisseurs were saddened and a pall of gloom spread everywhere in the art world. Some were silent, while few were vociferous and condemned the vandalism. Managing body of the cemetery says that this was inevitable and an absolute necessity because of paucity of land for new graves. Some puritans added that in Islam cemented and permanent graves are forbidden, so there is no harm in the turning over the graves.

Logic seems infallible. True, as per the tenets of Islam, cemented graves are against the basic teachings of Islam. And after 30 years you can demolish existing graves and reuse the land. Scarcity of land is definitely a problem in Mumbai but emotionally I was heartbroken when I read the news. And once again heart refuses to accept the logic. Taj Mahal is the most glaring example of a permanent grave. In India so many mausoleums of saints, faqirs and sufis were built by devotees and general public flock to them for darshan and to offer prayers. Mausoleum at Ajmer is famous worldwide and is a fine example of such permanent graves. Of course in India, this is Hindu influence on Islam but it is a reality. So I wish and hope that the trustees could have made an exception to these graves also.

I am not saying this to contradict the religious tenets of Islam. I shall be the last Hindu to do this. I am just making an emotional plea and giving vent to my feelings. An exception could have been made and the trustees could have found a way. Madhubala, Mohammed Rafi, Talat Mahmood and Sahir Ludhianvi are jewels of our country and they certainly deserve better.

Their graves are gone and now there is no trace of their existence. One more familiar thing of my life has been pushed on the sunset boulevard. It’s sad, very sad !

Vidur

http://www.vidur.co.in

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