City Life – Abdul Kayum’s Radio, Central Delhi
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
This impressive radio resembles something our grandfathers might have owned and cherished. It comes complete with a frequency display and a rexine cover.
In fact, the unit is only around 10 years old, explains its proud owner, rickshaw mechanic Abdul Kayum. “It still works so well!” says Mr Kayum, who bought the radio at his native village in Bihar. “Never any problems!”
We bumped into him the other day at a chai stall, his beloved radio by his side. He clearly adores it. And he shows us something we didn’t expect in an aging apparatus: a USB port. Plucking a pink pen drive from it, he explains: “This is my memory! It has all my qawwalis!”
He’s got more to demonstrate. The mechanic removes a remote control from his pocket to switch the radio on. How modern is that! “And you can still buy radios like this in Bihar villages, but not here in Delhi,” he reports.
This grand apparatus never really parts company with Mr Kayum. “We’re in bed by around 11, but for the next couple of hours my woman and I just lie there listening to those old film songs of Lata and Mukesh.”
Nobody killed the radio star