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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Remoteless control

Today every TV comes with a remote. It is the default. Our three year old does NOT know that there is a power button on the TV which can be used as err.. "backup"!

Last week she was watching a kids DVD while eating dinner and when she finished her food, I told her to stop watching. She promptly took the remote and ran away. "how will you off it now?!" said the little tease and her face shrank when daddy casually walked past the TV on the wall, pressed a button on the side (she did not even see me press it) and the TV went "blink".. poor thing was devastated that she could not one up daddy.

Now, as usual this post is somehow steering to a remote when it should be going the other way..

The old TV in that photoblog, which seems to have stirred so many memories, has some appendages. A small box with a needle that keeps moving around 220V, called the voltage stablizer and an antenna on the terrace. A three pronged antenna mounted on the little parapet wall two floors above, connected to the TV below by a flat 1/2 inch black vinyl covered umbilical cord.

The TV had a rotary dial that went from 1 to 30 (if I remember right) and why 30 we do not know for there were only two channels! But you got the two channels to alternate in many of the 30 channels by moving the rotary switch in combination with the antenna position. In other words, there were 600 ways to get the two channels!

In those days, monkeys and I-spy playing kids would roam the terraces quite freely and once in a while, pull the cord or rotate the antenna by mistake and that would send the adults cursing.

The men would blame the kids when they saw Sunil Gavaskar launch into what could have been a "glorious cover drive" only to be suddenly replaced by millions of teeming black and white insects on the screen matched by a bzzzzzzzzzzzz sound!

"indha pasangalaaaa..."(these boyyyyys...) would come a menacing scream from the menfolk, only to be nullified by "nethu mandhi korangu mottai maadikku vandudhu nna! adhu dhan antennava thirupi irukkum" (yesterday a big male monkey came to the terrace with his harem. he must have moved the antenna) from the ladies concerned for their kids back!

The elders would quickly quiet down, because in their hearts, they knew!

They knew that getting that picture back in time to see the action replay of that shot and determining if the ball made it to cover or the slip cordon, was a two person job. A kid willing to swing the antenna on the terrace and a person twiddling the dial on the ground. So the little one(usually me) would be dispatched to the top.

Konjam left..

Konjam right..

go back..

and the directions would be relayed through an open window and like a sailor navigating a boat on a rocky sea to 1/2 degree precision, the antenna would be returned to its rightful position. The smarter kids who knew that this nuisance would haunt them for years, what with real monkeys roaming the terrace and all, would leave pencil or chalk marks to align the pole to the parapet wall, only to realize that it really didn't matter.

Gavaskar, was out! and bringing back that picture was as good as bringing in a telegram into the house that read "Gavaskar Dead. Stop. Mourn Immediately. Stop. Gory action replay to follow. Stop."

The antenna saga went on for almost a decade before the now ubiquitous remote even appeared on the scene.

Now, we just take it for granted!

Just for the fun of it, I should send Jr. and the little one to climb on the roof of our house every now and then and adjust a fake antenna.. Just for the fun of it, Gavaskar or otherwise.


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I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 1:46 AM, Anonymous Jairam wrote...

Am sure the kids would love the experience of a skeletal antenna controlling the lives of all us die-hard Gavaskar fans.

I remember when I was a kid, I used to hate it whenever we got the bzzzzzz noise when Rajiv Gandhi was giving his speeches.

Dunno why, I ve always liked Rajiv on the screen.


I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 10:58 AM, Blogger Kavi wrote...

What coincidence ! I wrote about the 9 o clock news and Gitanjali Iyer in the Doordarshan days !

And here you go about the antenna !


I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 7:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote...


You wrote exactly exactly the same thing which i have (or many of them at that time) experienced.

I went to that time...

What a sweet time. After watchign Oliyum Oliym discussing the songs in the street if it is really good.

(e.g. Agninatshathriam - Raja Song)


I am not responsible for comments posted by others... At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote...

Ek,Do, Teen, Char - TV Serieal, Ramayan / Mahabharath, Gavaskar Great Test Series - 1 hour Cricket program on Sundays...

Sometimes when TV went blank, we used to beat with Broomstick in the side of the TV and will come back again.

Trying to CEYLON channel by changing direction (i am from Srirangam Trichy) we used to get from some areas. Somebody use double anttena

Very few TV brands, Solidaire, Crown,BPL

What a peaceful life that were

I can relate to your Car Festival in Madras with Srirangam Car Festival and Temple functions.




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