A beach, midnight… and radio


Flickr: Photos from fredericknoronha

Know what? I wouldn’t waste my time sitting on a Goan beach called Calangute at midnight. After all, I’ve grown up in the place, and have known the beach areas as far less consumerist and less-hyped.

Above is Calangute (incidentally, it deserves a better entry on the Wikipedia) as seen on a post-New Year night currently. It’s the same place (almost) where in the early ‘seventies the Barneto kids and us (Ricky and myself) collected dead mackeral by the sackful. It was only later that we realised this was caused by pollution from the Zuari Agro Chemicals fertilizer plant, and the dead fish could be safely used only as natural manure! (And while taking a look at the Net, one came across this very unusual presentation…)

Anyway, the other day, Sajan, Stalin and Jessica — my friends from the community radio network in India — were down. So that’s where I ended up. At midnight.

As I was mentioned to them, I got involved with the CR-network by accident. (Okay, not entirely by accident, because since my school days I’ve loved radio, and been a great fan of it. Even now, my weekly quota for TV would be something like 30 minutes — each week! To show my consistency, maybe I could say that, as a kid, I tuned in to Radio Sweden (just an example), wore its tee-shirt, and in later years, got interviewed by it, and even visited its broadcasting centre when the chance arose.)

But in the case of the community radio campaign, it started like many things in life, by chance, serendipity and accident (almost). Coming across the issue in the alternate media, an email to Sucharita Eashwar (whom I’ve never met till this day), joining a 1999 (if one recalls right) Unesco-sponsored conference in Hyderabad … and starting a mailing list as a follow-up. Happily, the mailing list continues. Through it, we were able to network, share the CR idea with others, and campaign. On November 16, 2006, community radio became a possibility in India. It now depends on how effectively the authorities implement their own policy. And we’ve got to be ready to push further for it.

While we caught up on issues and ideas, there was this fireworks display. See above photo. Why? Just to keep the tourists entertained, I guess ….  and we were tourists too 🙂

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