Unlike these days, Sundays in the early Nineties were kind of different. It was fun day for us, we played lot of cricket at the nearby playground. Sundays were comparatively relaxing for my mother. The other days must had been tough for her as far as mornings were concerned, breakfast, lunch boxes for three kids and also for my father. On Sundays it was my father who used to wake up first in the house. He never missed Rangoli, an Indian music television series aired on DD National every Sunday morning. The Bollywood songs played during Rangoli those days had a typical pattern. It usually started with a classic song from a Black & White movie. My father was crazy for such songs and sometimes even loved to repeat the words after the singer, usually when there’s no one around. Every Rangoli episode included couple of Kishore Kumar melodies, and the program usually ended with a latest Bollywood super hit song. Well, I always tried not to miss the last one.
After Rangoli we had a few minutes of privacy for breakfast. Soon, our TV room started to get filled one by one, mostly by strangers and some known faces. This was the kind of situation which people who grew up in the early Nineties in small towns might have experienced. TV was still considered a luxury those days. Those were Pre Cable TV days and Doordarshan (DD) dominated the way people were entertained. Everyone just eagerly waited to watch Mahabharat which was aired in the Sunday morning time slot. Mahabharat is considered to be one of the longest work of its kind in the world. The epic contain about 110,000 couplets in eighteen sections. There is also a 19th section named Harivamsha. The Bhagavadgita, a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna, is a part of the Mahabharata. It’s a very interesting mythological story with lot of action and thrill. Each episode ran for approximately 45 minutes and began with a title song that consisted of lyrical content and two verses from the Bhagavad Gita. The title song was sung by singer Mahendra Kapoor. The title song was followed by a narration by Indian voice artist Harish Bhimani of a personification of Time, detailing the current circumstances and highlighting the spiritual significance of the content of the episode.
As soon as Mahabharat ended we rushed to the playground. Within minutes everyone would be on the ground. We played cricket for the next three to four hours, and then returned home. After bath we used to enjoy the Sunday special sumptuous meal, and immediately after lunch I would enter the TV room. I could remember few glimpses of the 'News for Hearing Impaired' on TV. Immediately after the News they would telecast a regional movie with English subtitles. I remember watching regional movies, particularly Assamese, Bengali, Oriya, Punjabi on Sunday afternoons. Some of those were award-winning movies. But after watching for an hour we again used to go to the playground and played cricket for another couple of hours.
When we returned home in the early hours of evening we would watch the last part of ‘The World of Sport’. It was a sports program that was aired every Sunday afternoon anchored by the legends like Anupam Gulati and Dr Narottam Puri. I had very little time to get fresh, followed by evening snacks. I had to finish my food in a hurry as I could hear the title song of ‘Vikram Aur Betaal’. It was the serial I never missed. The series contained stories from Indian mythology which were presented in an entertaining way. The concept of the program was based on Baital Pachisi, a collection of tales about the legendary King Vikramāditya and the Vaitaala, a ghost.
After ‘Vikram Aur Betaal’, just like morning once again our TV room got occupied by strangers and known faces. Everyone just waited for the Sunday evening movie. DD used to broadcast only one movie per week. Usually they used to telecast old movies but on some occasions they showed recent ones as well. Sunday evenings were like festival, celebration time, and friends and neighbors used to participate together. But as far as I remember there were very few Sunday movies which we watched from start to end. Every time the power would go off and we all went out for a gossip session. As soon as the power came back everyone rushed to the TV room once again.
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