I had just enacted a racier version of Livin’ la vida LOCAL and made it by the skin of my teeth. Even as I huffed and puffed, a signboard announced the proximity to the premises of 94.3 FM Radio One. The temple bells rang against dramatic thunder and lightning; I gently opened the door and announced myself to the receptionist. She directed me to the lounge area. Shades of denim blue and sunshine yellow peaked from every nook and cranny, with festive balloons. The anniversary celebrations instantly lifted my spirits. I parked myself on the solitary vacant sofa. That’s when I noticed them, they were three in all. A young lad fiddling on his laptop, and a very stylish lady talking animatedly to an executive kinda looking man. Were they going to be on air too, I wondered. A cursory glance either end, and I checked my phone, appearing to be preoccupied. 

His signature, deep, husky voice announced his entry, and he had us at ‘hello’. No, no he wasn’t going all Lionel Richie on us, save your breath.  Hrishikay (HK) was polite, he shook hands, and was all ready to have us on air. Yes, so it was us two gorgeous women with one little boy and his guitar in tow. And just like that my legs turned into jelly. No, it wasn’t the HK effect, you silly tweeps. All that running around after all these years of refusing to go to a darn gym almost killed me! But then again, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or so I thought.

We were introduced to Anita who gave us a brief tour before leading us up to the recording studio. You’d think the back office of a radio station would be buzzing with mayhem. But no, this was simply Goa in motion. Heads didn’t turn as people manned their workstations, casually. It was just another day in paradise.  I was almost tempted to give in my application. Thankfully, such thoughts don’t linger for too long and the freelancer in me said happy to be stuck with you.

The recording studio was sunshine personified with just about enough room. Four microphones, three guests, two playlist screens, and one Radio Jockey. We were ready to rock around the clock. HK briefed us about how he worked the scenes. Well, he said it really was simple now, what with a few clicks here and there and an entire playlist was lined up. He did mention that his team worked very hard in setting up the show along with the sponsor ads. Pssst not all did he endorse, but then again they paid the bills, so yes the ads stay. And then even before we could say Mrs. Robinson, we were riding the airwaves. 

Post the first leg of on air introductions, we took a chat break as the keyed playlist took over. Just then a very undernourished Vin Diesel lookalike walked in. He wanted HK’s driver to take his car to the garage for servicing. Here was a man who had no qualms giving up his car in unknown hands but refused to part with his bike. We’d just met Kobad Mobedjina, the man who had very strong say in the Z list of songs that don’t play on air. Not that HK complied with the rules. Right then Anita flitted in for a minute, as HK asked her to get our gift coupons organised. That is when we learnt, it was ANITA on Demand. No high and mighty RJ stuff here. Everyone chipped in with whatever they could do to help a fellow team member. I really liked that. Radio One, take a bow. We love you for more than just the fabulous retro music!

If you ask me about my time on air, I swear I have no recollection except that I really, really behaved myself! Well, I had no clue who all were tuned in. And god, the last thing I needed was mom reprimanding me. She does such things in public, you know. But the fun was all in our chats, off air. There was a time when Popee and HK were animatedly discussing fitness routines. I excused myself and Popee almost made way for me, too. (She will be smiling when she reads this.) Oh, then that time when HK announced that he got an EARNEST certificate for not missing a single day of work the past year. Needless to say, his family were deeply disturbed and told him he needed to be ashamed of himself. The immediate repercussions were seen in a month long exile from work, finally! We discussed a whole lotta other stuff that I can’t put on the blog. If I am going to kiss and tell, I might as well be paid for it!

HK is really a multi-tasker. He spoke, tweeted, RJ’d, arranged for drivers and gift coupons, even as we did the mandatory celebrity photo shoot. During conversations, I realized he and I were neighbours, almost. And our daughters shared the same name, too. What can I say? Great genes think alike!

All those who listen to Good Morning Mumbai definitely know of Pooja from the contest department. Yes, the lovely Pooja M is as sultry as HK makes her sound. We finally met! Such a sweetheart, I felt like I knew her forever. She and Anita asked us to wait for the anniversary celebrations. Well, we had chai and biscuits, and posed for the camera, yet again.

Before I knew it, the thousand miles (or so they seemed) that I had traversed, came to naught. It was time to say goodbye. Memories is what I came back with. Yes, I was ON AIR with Hrishikay on 94.3 FM Radio One and I lived to tell the tale!

And oh, remember that kid with the guitar, Raul. Ya, the same fella. He waited patiently through all this chatter, and then bowled us over with a special radio jingle he’d composed. I won’t say more. I recorded it for posterity’s sake. Enjoy.




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