Coimbatore: Memories of the 2015 floods that hit Chennai still haunt retired professor Kanakalakshmi Soundaraj and her husband, a retired bank officer, who were residents of Chennai back then and currently reside in R S Puram in Coimbatore.
The two who resided in their apartment in Chennai recall how updates that were aired on the various radio stations helped them understand the situation on ground zero back then. “Electricity connection was snapped for days together. At a time when residents of our building were using gadgets sparingly, due to power constraints, the two of us were more than happy with our radio set.” Kanakalakshmi said.
Seconding her is her husband R. Soundaraj who adds, “the idea was to stay updated of the situation and also learn what is in store for the future as far as incessant rains were concerned. Our battery operated radio proved to be a friend in deed and in need. Like others around we did not have to spare a thought about saving power while using our radio set.” he recalls.
An older couple still chose not to embrace technology who continue to stay away from social media always have the radio playing in their apartment to keep them entertained and informed. Post the floods, the duo who relocated to the textile city have not parted with their radio set. The couple wish that people in neighboring flood-hit Kerala too take advantage of the good old radio set, instead of depending on the various forms of social media and technology that need electricity to function.
Agreeing with them is Abu Tahir better known as ‘Kovai radio kaadalai’ radio lover. A passionate collector of radio sets, of the over one hundred radio sets that he has in his possession, as many as 10 are ‘Made in India’, one of which is manufactured by the G D Naidu, the iconic man from the textile city.
“Even in the contemporary era, despite the advancements in science and technology, the radio has not lost its charm. It will be evergreen.” he quips. Elaborating on the same he said, “take any latest gadget; iPod to smart watch to smart phone, they are incomplete without the radio feature.”
During a natural disaster or natural calamity, when terrestrial communication snaps at the blink of the eye, the good old radio proves to be friend indeed and in need. Agreeing with the fact is Abu Tahir, who said “people in flood-hit Kerala can gather in one place, listen to updates about prevailing and future weather conditions and act accordingly.” he suggests.
Meanwhile, explaining why and how the radio continues to function in wake of a natural or man-made disaster or calamity is M. Jayanthi, professor of visual communication: “Radio networks use dedicated channels for sending and receiving signals. Mobile service operators also use individual channels to transmit signals. In case of an emergency, it is but common to grab a mobile phone and send a text message or make a call. As far as mobile phone networks are concerned, when a majority of people use the same network chances of it snapping are high, which takes place on most occasions. However, the radio will continue to work, never mind the number of users tuned in or the significant damage caused to the landscape,” she said. Remember when pop icon Michael Jackson breathed his last in 2009, the Internet had crashed but the good old radio continued to function.