Baanuli is Kannada for radio, more specifically the All India Radio or Akashvani. Did I write about my training in radio before? Anyways....
This was after my first year at uni. We had a very long break of over three months and I was all enthusiastic about the media. After a bad week trying to work in a newspaper, I went back home. A lot of the staff at AIR Madikeri were friends of mine and invited me to train there for a while. And boy was it fun!!!
The office was pretty close to my house. Let me be frank, I have never really listened to the radio much. So I went there not with much interest. It was more like something to do for me. That was the time, the Madikeri station got a new computer with software designed for radio. The staff there was as clueless as I was. Nevertheless, that one month was all of trial and error, lots of experimenting and teaching the rest of them.
More than all this, what impressed me the most was the reach of radio and the kind of impact it had on people. We would get hundreds of letters everyday asking for songs, appreciating the programmes. Amidst all this would be that one sole letter that made everyone think that they were doing something good. I remember there was this one person who for some reason was bed ridden. He wrote saying that the radio was his only companion now and that he passed time listening to radio all the time.
I remember the debates we had at uni about which media was the most effective in reaching out to the people. All of us would conclude that it was radio in most cases. Though I knew all this theoritically, it was only at AIR that I actually felt the impact radion was making. It was all overwhelming in a way.
I am not very comfortable talking on radio. You give me a piece of paper and a pen or give me a computer, I will go on writing for hours on end but I cannot talk. One person there forced me to go on air once and I narrated a story I had written. It was aired too, though most of those who listened said it did not sound like me at all. I think it was just two days after this that we got a letter. It was from someone in a small village in a remote corner of the district. He wrote saying that he liked the story very much. That compliment is one that is most special to me because it came from a village I had never even heard of.
Now that I work for a newspaper, I write a lot of stories. I am sure many people read them in all corners of the state. But it is not the same, somehow.
Akashvani was special to me because there I was very very close to the people, th farming community, the sons of the soil, literally speaking. Now I get to meet CEOs, corporate people, ministers and the like. A number of them are wonderful people. But it is not the same, just not the same.
Would I go back to radio? Not for a job. But to connect to real people... oh yes!