November 12, 2012

The Lonely VCR

Remember video cassettes?
Before floppy drives, CDs, DVDs and external hard drives, those little black boxes contained people’s entire worlds. Mine as well.
As I disposed of over 50 of them a few days ago, I was fondly reminded of how important they used to be to me. 
TV recordings of Disney Hour, numerous animated movies – from Cinderalla to Chip ‘N’ Dale to the Asterix series, taping of documentaries by National Geographic broadcast on Oman TV, figure skating, old hindi and bengali movies. 
My personal favourites – the Miss World competitions where Miss Venezuela would always look the best but not speak a word of sense and a recording of the A R Rahman concert in Dubai. 
Not to forget the video recordings of our trips around the world when we had a video camera the size of a bazooka and lugged cassettes along with us wherever we went.
When I say that I saw DDLJ and other popular Bollywood cinema of the nineties for the first time almost ten years later, when I came to India – most people stare at me with gaping mouths. I caught up on two decades of Hindi music, courtesy Radio Mirchi in Pune. 
Thinking of my very limited means of entertainment, I honestly think to myself – how did I do this? How did I live 17 years without television, friends, parties, extended family? And how did I turn out to be such as  so called ‘people’s person’ having been on my own for most of the time I can remember?
I guess I worked around it. Maybe these cassettes helped me. 
There was a feeling of sadness while I threw them away. All those cassettes who had been my friends, accompanying me when I was bored, excited, troubled or even happy.
I will remember them.

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