Currently, I am doing my second stint of having to drive more than 45 minutes to get to work (add 50% on the way back)! This means a significant increase in the FM listening time and laughing uncontrollably at the silly (depends on POV) gags. The downside is, of course, listening "Ek hockey doongi rakh ke..." at least twice a day and the "Jannat ko zameen pe utara hain" jingle of Arun Dev Builders. Or is it Purvankara Developers?
The last time I did the long drives was in Bombay, when the staple was the morning show with Jaggu and Taraana.
Jaggu aka Ashish Jagtiani was a free-lancing stockbroker, columnist, RJ and more than a little fat. Taraana (Kapoor) was a television actress, anchor, RJ and more than a little hyper. Together, they carried on a continuous banter about life in Bombay. They hardly ever cracked jokes but were hilariously funny contextually. My entire group of friends was totally hooked on this hip duo and we even repeated their catch phrases at our parties.
Right now, I am listening to Simran and Varun on Delhi's Radio City 91.1 Whatte Fun (yes, that's the full name of the channel). Simran is this hysterical Punjabi woman who talks about friends in Kanneda and makes loud fun of anything that catches her fancy. Initially, I was a little bemused by the infantile humour but now I am completely hooked on. That's the thing about Punjus. Their hysterics grow on you!
Of course, this other radio channel got banned for poking fun at Prashant Tamang's (Indian Idol 3, for the Rip Van Winkles) Gurkha roots. Hilarious - considering the channel aired the joke in Delhi and Darjeeling burned. Which means - did someone record the programme and relay it all the way to North Bengal, thus galvanising the populace there into violent action? Smokin' joblessness, I must say!
This even beats the other group of job-holding jobless people - the guys who phone in to give traffic updates. Every day, every quarter of an hour, a handful of people call up to say things like "Punjabi Bagh se Rohini ki taraf traffic bilkul smooth hain... average speed 40 to 50 kmph"!
Amazing - and they even put one guy on air, who says out the traffic update of some corner of Delhi with a whole lot of importance.
Of course, the funniest part is that they are a few guys who are the regulars. Almost every single day, I hear Sanjay Mittal and K B Ratan reporting to Mirchi and City respectively! I mean, this is hardcore altruism. No hopes of being on air with Simran, no hopes of goodie bag, no hopes of getting your request played even! Yet, the selfless gents keep at it on a daily basis telling Delhiites about traffic snarls.
The great part of the radio experience is the plethora of fillers / jokes that keep coming at you at great speed.
One is the desi rehash of Knock Knock jokes. Check this one...
- Knock! Knock!
- Kaun hain?
- Sharma kaun?
- Sharmana chhod daal, I love you bol daal!
Babbar Sher is another favourite but I seem to be missing it most of the time due to incessant channel switching.
PS: To end on an unconnected note, I recently watched snatches of a Bengali film called Badnaam on DD Bangla, starring Prosenjit and it had Sunny Deol (!) appearing in a song. He even sang a few lines about the dignity of labour. That's the thing about Bong intellectualism... in any other language, Sunny would have sung about taking a lorry and going from Amritsar to Lahore!
PPS: Also re-listening to a series of five CDs called Immortal R D Burman. In between the songs, there are snatches of conversations by various stars - and they are wonderfully appropriate for the songs that follow.
Gulzar says, "Sangeet ke to sirf saat sur hote hain. Lekin Pancham mein bepanaah sur they, jo humne ek saath jiya hain. Woh sur to beet gaye aur ab ek hi sur bacha hain - chup ka. Yeh sur tabhi beetega jab main beet jaoonga..." And "Beeti na beetai raina" starts off...