Newsreaders (BH: D311)

June 11, 2012

An intense nostalgia is invoked when one hears a familiar TV newsreader's voice spill into the street from some home during a night stroll. Innumerable nights over the years come flooding back.

None of the news is remembered. They've always been something about politics that didn't matter in the long run. Not worth remembering. Yet memory seems to have preserved the doppler effect on a newsreader's voice when one walks by a home with an open window or an exceptionally loud TV.

Why is there so much attachment to these voices? Is it because they have invariably broken trains of fretting and frivolous thoughts? Were they the favorite refuge for a brain returning home tired from a day of education but remembering only snatches of breezy conversations? 

The newsreader voice distracts from the umpteen romantic re-imagining of conversations that were much too dry in real. Perhaps the unnatural nature of electronic reproduced sound from a distance triggers some alert.

It was Hemalatha's voice that broke into my consciousness. She has been reading news, as the teenagers say, like forever! I remember her marriage to fellow newsreader Kannan was a favorite bit of Thiruvananthapuram trivia in the early 90s.

It is Rajeshwari Mohan's voice that I remember the most. I wondered what happened to her. Googling told me that she won an award in 2007. I haven't seen her reading the news lately. 

Then there was Maya who migrated to private channels from the Doordarshan. Balakrishnan still sports thick, black hair and beard. His voice deep and clear as ever. 

Before the Malayalam newsreaders became popular, the entire nation had only the National channel's Hindi and English readers to watch. There was a particularly gloomy Sultana that I remember from the Hindi side. English stars were Rini Simon, Neeti Ravindran, Udaybir Sarandas, Minu Talwar, Sunit Tandon and so on. So many names I don't remember. Faces and voices, I do.

Waiting to see who the newsreader would be was itself a ritual at home in those days. News hardly mattered. Kids were instructed to look up to these celebrities to learn pronunciation. 

Nowadays, the abundance of channels have made sure that news, once again, doesn't matter. Unfortunately in the bargain, newsreaders too have lost!

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