Keran, a razor edge carbon copy of paradise, is a far cry. In the soothing embrace of Keran, nestled in the majestic mountains, my childhood unfolded just like you flip the pages of a romantic novel. Keran cradled me and lullabies hit my eardrum as I was growing on the banks of Neelum/Kishenganga.
The fond memories of my birthplace are etched in my mind. Even today, I can recall my Bachpan vividly. Far from the maddening and noisy towns and traffic snarls, I was brought up in the lap of the nature. Wind wafting and the Brooke beside my house, birds chirping, warbling and trilling is how I recall those happiest days of my life.
I was a studious fellow, a nerd, an introvert who started dating books in school itself. But due to lack of resources, it was difficult to learn, understand, write or speak English. That is when English commentary on radio came to my rescue. In the canvas of my life, God decorated cricket beautifully. It was aesthetically appealing.
Bereft of electricity, tarred roads, television, mobile connectivity, Keran was an isolated zone and our only mode of communication with the rest of the world was radio, a medium of imagination.
Vineet Garg, Prakash Wakankar, Dr Milind Tipness, and Sanjay Bannerjee were not just names to me but amazing storytellers who weaved narratives into a captivating symphony. As a school-going kid, I would eagerly tune in, their inflection resonating through the hills like a family melody. In the absence of live broadcasts, our radio became the portal to cricketing realms.
Radio became our conduit to the infinite universe. As we huddled around the device, every run, every wicket, and every boundary unfolded in our minds like a vivid tapestry. The lush green fields of the commentators’ descriptions contrasted starkly with the terrain outside our windows. Yet, in those moments, we found a connection between our remote existence and the grandeur of the cricketing arenas. It was a shared experience that transcended physical boundaries, bringing the world of sports to life in the confines of our humble abode.
Dr Milind Tipness, with his insightful analyses, became our cricketing guru. His words transcended the static of the radio, imparting lessons not just on the game but on life itself. Vineet Garg’s enthusiasm and Prakash Wakankar’s eloquence transformed each ball bowled into a tale of triumph or defeat.
Sanjay Bannerjee’s mastery in capturing the nuances of the game transported us to the heart of the action. It was as if the cheers of the stadium echoed through the mountains, finding resonance in the eager hearts of young cricket enthusiasts in Keran.
As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting long shadows over the hills, the cricketing commentary became a lullaby, gently guiding us into the embrace of dreams filled with cricketing heroes and impossible victories. The names of legendary players reverberated through the valleys, creating a cricketing folklore that lingered in our minds long after the last ball had been bowled.
In the remote expanse of the Keran sector, where the world seemed both near and far, cricket commentary became the bridge that connected our secluded lives with the pulsating energy of the cricketing world. It was more than just a source of entertainment; it was an integral part of my growing-up years, etching memories that continue to echo through the hills of Keran, carrying the spirit of cricket to the farthest corners of our cherished childhood.
Radio often fills the silence in homes, becoming a constant companion, especially for children. The distinct tones, rhythms, and accents of English commentators become familiar and comforting, a friendly presence throughout those formative years. Between the innings analysis, stories, discussions opened windows to diverse perspectives, new information, and exciting possibilities. The English commentary on All India Radio fostered a sense of shared connection and experience. Discussing the news, cheering for cricket teams, or simply enjoying the shared laughter of a radio commentary strengthened bonds and formed a cherished part of my childhood.
As mentioned earlier, radio is the medium of creativity. The lack of visuals offered by radio allowed my imagination to fill in the gaps. The voices, sounds, and stories became springboards for my own creativity, crafting vivid mental pictures and emotional connections to the narratives being told. So, while English commentary on All India Radio wasn’t a person in the physical sense, it fulfilled many of the roles a friend does. It was a constant presence, a source of information and entertainment, a connector to the world outside, and a spark for my imagination.
The author lives in Keran.