October 17, 2000

Childhood music

A few months back I was browsing through a junk shop. I spotted a record player. I remembered the 1970’s. The 70s were wonderful, weren’t they? The sun was brighter and you could cross over into Afghanistan via Iran. I was still a kid when the 1970s ran out.

Those days , I had a neighbour, Anu. I was fond of Anu. She had a big collection of American comics - a rarity in those days in India. Almost every afternoon, after school, I would end up at her place. Anu would always play some rock n roll records, sit by this large window overlooking the hill, polishing her nails or reading a book. I spent countless afternoons, lying on the floor by her record player, watching the record go round and round, and stealing occasional glances at Anu, that she always returned with kindly smiles.

Record Player

The 1980s came around, I left the town. The 1990s followed, I left the country. Encountering that old record player in the junk shop, all those childhood memories came back (If this was a movie, you would hear a Beatles soundtrack in the background). I ended up buying the player. I also managed to find some Beatles, Rolling Stones and Faces records.

One day some friends from work came home. We have this one little intern and the two things she likes are fishballs and Beatles (a strange combination isn’t it?). She was eager to try the record player. She tried playing a Beatles record. It kept skipping tracks which made the intern a bit sad.

A few days later I found another Beatles record which was in good condition. I figured that it would be a good surprise for our intern. I took the player to my office. It was an instant hit. We have a streaming server that we use for our courses. It normally broadcasts some banal music. We hacked the output of the record player to feed into the streaming server. Anyone on our campus could now listen to the records. The streaming setup had a video camera. We pointed the camera to the turntable. People could actually see the record go round and round as they listen to the songs. It was fun using today’s technology to spread some 1970s happiness.


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