Jamshedpur, Feb 22: With the turn of a knob the radio crackles to life filling air with timeless melodies. In this age of digital devices where small is beautiful, the new generation may not be aware of huge shutters that used to be operated only under the strict supervision of the head of the family.
Radios may be making a comeback, but they are not what they used to be two decades ago. They have reduced in size or have ceased to have an independent identity as they are built into mobile phones or vehicles.
As most of us don’t get to live and follow our passion but there is a man who has been following his passion since past several decades. Sixty-four-year old Chinmoy Mahto has been carving radios in various shapes and sizes.
“Radios have always fascinated me. As my parents used to say I fell in love with radio when I was only four year old. My father was in air force and when he was posted in Burma, he brought a Japan made radio and I fell in love with it. I still vividly remember that people used to gather at house to listen radio,” recalled Mahto. Over the years, he started collecting radios and has preserved them with care.
In an attempt to preserve radio sets for posterity, set Chinmoy Mahto of Kadma on a strange task fuelled by passion to collect discontinued sets. With nearly 200 radio sets of different era in his kitty, Mahto is on the lookout for more to expand his collection.
A slight turn towards the right side of his room gives you a glimpse of an extraordinary collection of vintage radios starting from a Philips model of 1957 to transistors.
Through his journey of collecting radios right from childhood, he kept his passion alive during his professional life too. “People have different hobbies, but from childhood, radios have been my first love. Initially, I used to collect radios from my friends. They used to give it for repair, but with the TV hitting the market, many gave their sets to me,” he says. He made new friends, who extended their support in his endeavour of collecting vintage radios.
This strange passion for vintage radios led him to collect models of various brands though he is modest about his range. “ Old radios are like a treasure for me. Though I do not have all the vintage models and am focusing on collecting as many as possible,” he said.
Most of his collections are drawn from well-known brands such as Philips, Sanyo, Sony, Phillips, Siemens, Kaide, Elta besides a working model of a radiogram, which combines a radio with a record player. An advocate by profession he also runs a driving school.
Mahto, heads the Guide International Radio Listening Club (GIRLC) that he started with four other radio passionate in 1974. GIRLC still has about a 100 members today and regularly meets to discuss about radio programmes.
His life revolves around radio and various programmes that go on air every day. He starts listening to the radio from 5 am every day that continues till late night. He is keen about programmes in Bengali, Hindi, English and Urdu that are aired from across the globe.
He added that listening to the ear-friendly radio kindled creativity in listeners to visualise things as they emerged, unlike the television sets that just made one sit glued to the screen.
The Guide International Radio Listeners Club (GIRLC) in Uliyan, Kadma also celebrated the World Radio Day on February 13.