Yah Aakashwaani hai. . . यह आकाशवाणी है!

AwMy earliest childhood memory of a musical tune is not so pleasant. While the clock’s second most used feature (apart from the oblivious), its alarm, use to fail, it was the opening tune of our radio, Akaashwani, at 6 am everyday that use to succeed in a way that was not meant for. My brother and I use to hate that crying sounding tune every morning that compelled us to get up for the school.

Incidentally, it was the very same radio that developed my deep interest and love for music in later years.

Radio shaped my life in so many ways. I am sure like me, for many of that generation; the radio was much more than an entertainment.

rdWe had one of those big one, Murphy; a gift from my grandfather. I still can clearly remember the beautiful wooden exterior, the front glass screen that use to glow in red and green as we move the button to fine tune the radio stations. It faithfully served us for many years.

For many of us the radio was also a time keeper. It used to be a true ‘Saathi’ for the homemakers.  From bhakti sangeet to Bollywood and from ‘Vanita Mandal’ to news at every hour, the radio use to entertain and in a way, use to give company to everyone at home. This ever changing background score was an integral part of the daily errands at almost every home.

thumbnailI recall how during the summer vacations at our native place, while we kids still in the bed, for my aunt whose day would start at 5 am, the radio was her loyal companion. As she roamed around, in and out of the huge home, attending various work, fetching water from the well, it was Bismillah Khan’s shehanai to bhakti sangeet, then bhaav-geet to finally news at 7 that use to indirectly broadcast various stages of her work to the rest of us.

During one of the summer vacations, the famous Geet-Ramayan, penned by legendary गदिमा , G. D. Madgulkar, and sung by Sudhir Phadke got me hooked to music. In fact that program led my first stage performance with second prize singing the Geet-Raamayan at the school as well, thanks to my aunt and her radio!

For men, the news, twice a day,  was a must and a serious affair. By the way for many years I had this secret wish to meet Ms. Sudha Narawane, the newsreader from Pune Radio station. And then there was that funny episode “Weather Report”!

Who can forget, especially all the Marathi listeners, ‘Prapanch’ the radio play for which we kids had to stretch our eyes to keep us awake till 9 pm! The two artist who enacted the play, Bal Kudtarkar and Neelam Prabhu became household names across Maharashtra.

The ‘Vividh Bharati’ and ‘Radio Ceylon’ were not just a radio stations but a cult, which generations of men and women grew on. As a Radio fan myself, the first destination during our trip to Sri Lanka last year was the Ceylon Radio Station, now the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. In fact we had a privilege of  requesting a song to RJ Live!

rb-e1550127052958.jpgThe spread of India’s biggest religion Cricket has strong roots in its radio commentary. Not just with the matches in India but I recall how my other aunt, great follower of the game, even use to wake up at 4 in the morning to listen Richard Benaud.

For millions of listeners, Richard Benaud was like a Sanjay of Mahabharat and before we could see on television, we all had seen in our own way those beautiful lush green ground and the outskirt with seagulls at the boundary, thanks to the radio!

Back home from Vijay Merchant, Suresh Saraiya, Narottam Puri to Ravi Chaturvedi and Sushil Doshi, all of them had a great influence on cricket lovers, thanks to radio!

My younger brother was so inspired that his performance of commentary of an imaginary cricket match was the most sought after item in every family or friends’ gathering. He also won prizes for this in college!

The radio not only ‘screened’ the match in our mind but educated us on various aspects of the game too.

Cut to my professional life, late 1990s, once again radio was there, on the shop-floor itself. The workers would be happy manning the automatic plastic molding machines with radio on the background!!

As we celebrate the World Radio Day today, radio has taken altogether different format, physically and in its content. It has become a default feature of every mobile phone.

With Radio’s Mob Apps and numerous radio stations, broadcasting 24 x 7 with a new breed of professionals, Radio Jockey, it has successfully kept the pace with the time. From Amin Sayani to Annu Kapoor and from ‘’Hawa Mahal’ and ‘Prapanch’ to Neelesh Misra, the music and story telling has been redefined by the new talented artists.


I was not there when Indians glued to Radio to listen to PM Pandit Nehru delivering his landmark speech, “Tryst with Destiny” probably the greatest in the history, on the eve of India’s independence towards midnight on or his extempore the day world lost Mahatma Gandhi.

MBBut today, as PM Narendra Modi reinventing the Radio, I enjoy his “Man-Ki-Baat” along with billions of fellow Indians.

Happy listening!

Hakuna Matata!

– अतुल भिडे

13th February, 2019


Incognito teacher-student (Sept.2016)

Incognito teacher-student

No matter where we are, what’s our age or status in society, there is one person to whom we always bow down to, our teacher.

We are blessed with so many teachers throughout our life. There could be few teachers common to some of us. But there is one unique teacher, personalized for each one of us that keeps teaching us at every stage of our life. If we are conscious about it, we can learn better; and that’s our experience.

Unlike in other cases, here the interesting part is that the teacher and the student lie within us. Though there is no formal exam or test to check its learning, the ‘result’ itself becomes a new learning for us.

One who does not hold the baggage of his/her experience and is open to new outlook and ideas gets empowered with new updated teacher. The more one explore, the better he learns.

It’s not just about people that we gain experience from but the product and services that we use too contribute to our experience.

These days the corporates across the globe are being more alert about the experience that their client experience while interacting with the company, while surfing their website or while window shopping at their product showroom.

For us the Rotarians, ‘service’ is our product. If the foundation of our product is ‘fellowship’ the experience that our ‘clients’, the beneficiaries will experience will be better.

In this era of virtual world, meeting people, the starting point for building fellowship, has become a luxury. Let us utilize the amazing platform of Rotary which provides us ample opportunities to come together and meet our fellow Rotarian friends and experience the warmth.

The rich experience bank that each club has through their varied members could be our biggest teacher for life.

This September there is this unique combination of two divine events on a same day. The arrival of God of knowledge, education and wisdom Ganpati at our home on the day we celebrate the birth of one of India’s most respected son, ‘Bharat Ratna’ Shri. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, as the ‘Teacher’s Day’.

May Lord Ganesh bless us with varied experience and empower us to learn from it. Let us come together more often to enjoy and experience the unique gift that He has gifted only to humans, the ‘friendship’.

Let us empower the incognito teacher and the student within, to enrich the lives of those around us and of those we serve.

Atul Bhide

Editor, Hill Echoes

8th September, 2016


Are you a freedom fighter? – August 2016

Are you a freedom fighter?

The month of August has a special significance for every Indian. It was 69 years on the fifteenth day of this month that saw the creation of a new nation ‘India’.

It gave millions their much fought for freedom. But very soon we realized that what we achieved was mere political freedom which though has its own significance, does not ensure many basic freedoms that a civilized society deserves in a democratic system.

Over the years subsequent Governments introduced various laws to ensure basic rights for each citizen. But as we all have experienced the gap between the law and its implementation, we realized that we can’t just depend on the government for everything.

Since last three years our Club has been addressing one such right of a civilized society, the right to clean and safe sanitation through project ‘Right To Go’. As you know we have successfully empowered more than 4000 men and women in rural India with their own individual Toilet block and we will continue our efforts.

It’s time to embark on yet another worthy cause, a basic aspect of our life that you and me take it for granted for our kids; the right to learn that thousands of kids are deprived of due to various reasons.

President Anindya has an ambitious plan for all of us to achieve this through three unique projects, ‘School-On-Wheels’, ‘Virtual Eye’ and ‘Signal School’. It’s a yet another freedom fight, this time against the illiteracy.

Through ‘School-On-Wheels’, we intend to take the school to the doorsteps of poor and needy children and through ‘Virtual Eye’ we wish to empower visually challenged kids through customized software that will enable them to use computers with ease.

The ‘Signal School’ project which is a first of its kind in entire India, will not just educate the street children of our own city of Thane but will ensure that they won’t be there begging on the streets and lead a healthy life.

Friends, let us do our bit, be a freedom-fighter to achieve this second freedom that will empower the Gen-Next of our great nation with the most powerful tool ‘Education’.

Jai Hind!

Atul Bhide

Editor, Hill Echoes


Opening a Window – Hill Echoes-July 2016

In all the inspiring chronicles of our freedom movement, few events are as dramatic, inspiring and significant as the historic ‘Dandi March’. It had deeper, more profound implications and has a unique significance in India’s freedom fight.

Even today, in universities across the globe, it is studied as an ideal example of one of the greatest tools that Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had mastered and used, ‘Mass Communication’.

Gandhi ji used various means to communicate that inspired millions.

In spite of India being one of the most illiterate nations, he understood the power of written words.

Much before his articles in ‘Young India’ and ‘Harijan’ newspapers that became vehicles of his views on all subjects, he had taken over the editorship of ‘Indian Opinion’ published in English, Tamil and Gujarati in South Africa.

From Gandhi ji, Lokmanya Tilak, Agarkar to Arun Shourie, Dilip Padgaonkar, Madhav Gadkari, Arun Tikekar and many such legendry editors proved the importance of written words and showcased effective ways of mass communication

Today though we are empowered with new tool for reaching to masses, the Social Media, the secrete behind its effectiveness lies in the content we offer and the way we present it.

Over the years ‘Hill Echoes have effectively updated the members and other Rotarians on various club activities. Last year it won second runner-up prize in the ‘Narendra Ballal Best Bulletin’ competition organized by RC Thane.

In the Numero-Uno year, Hill Echoes will continue to communicate internally. It will also act as a window for and to the Non-Rotary World. As an Editor, I will strive to achieve this balance to best of my abilities.

Apart from sharing the club events, new features have been planned to showcase talent and special work involving the Rotarians, Anns and Annnets. We will have a separate column by Special Guest in each month. Few prominent corporate from Thane city will also share articles with us in ‘Corporate Corner’.

I thank President Anindya for considering me worthy of editorship of Hill Echoes. I promise to do my best.

Let me end with one of my personal favorite examples of an effective communication, 22 words’ protest to post independent India’s most dark period, ‘the Emergency’; written by young journalist Ashok Mahadevan in Times of India’s Obituary column, published on 28th June 1975:

D.E.M O’Cracy, beloved husband of T.Ruth, father of L.I.Bertie, brother of Faith, Hope and Justica expired on 25 June“.

Jai Ho!


Atul Bhide

Editor, Hill Echoes2-2