For the new generation of children who grew up watching YouTube on smartphones, radio is a thing of the distant past. But there are still some who enjoy tuning on to ‘Aakashvani’ and are thrilled at the buzz of the transistor that once served as the common man’s exposure to the outside world and satiated his craving for entertainment.
Meet, Kali Prasad Panda, a radio buff from Salipur area in Cuttack district, who has a rich collection of over 300 vintage radio sets of different models and types at his house. For Panda radio is very much a part of life and gateway to the world outside.
Panda is often found squatting on the floor while clutching an old radio to chest in his asbestos-roofed house in Bastapada village. He has a penchant for old Odia film numbers which are still aired on Akashvani. Most of his radio sets are in functional condition and he uses them sparingly. Panda’s crazy fascination for radios has earned him the sobriquet of ‘Radio Man’ in the area.
“I developed a fascination for radios since my childhood days. Those days radios were in great demand. I used to listen songs on my father’s radio set and afterwards I got hooked to the gadget. I was terribly upset when it developed a technical snag. I tried to repair the transistor and was successful at my first attempt. The incident resulted in an increased fascination for radios and I began collecting and repairing different models, both old and new,” says Panda.
People in the neighbourhood often drop in at Panda’s residence for a glimpse of his rich collection of transistors. Panda welcomes them with open arms and shares many anecdotes about his life’s tryst with radios. He would encourage them to listen to radio for its’ quintessential features.
“No other broadcast medium can replace the radio. It has a unique and special appeal to human intellect and emotion. People should start listening to radio once again to feel its special charm and appeal,” he says nostalgically.
Panda’s family members also support Panda’s crazy passion.
“My entire family is proud of his extraordinary collection of old radio sets. We sit together and listen to old songs over his radios whenever we get time,” says Panda’s wife Chapala proudly.