The city has its draw. The village has its pull. The soul of the modern-day individual oscillates in this tug-of-war.
“Ah, I wish to retire, and live in the solitude of the greens.” But then also “Oh, but I guess I would miss the buzz of the city, you know what I mean…” Words, we all can kind-of relate too.
The meandering began on a relatively cloudy day, from the jams of the city, through ‘kuccha’ short cuts, onto the highway, that narrowed down, closer to the destination, which was not the usual Indian tourist place, but a rather off-beat one in the Nuh district of Haryana. Well, as they say, it is not the destination but the journey that matters.
The journey, interspersed with fields of varying colours, shapes and sizes, with vendors selling produce on the roadside, with cattle and other livestock serving their masters company on the splattered lonely stretches of roads, gradually being filled with urban traffic, seemed like an unfinished canvas. Does the human leave any space untouched?
The destination, a community radio station “Alfaz-e-Mewat” FM 107.8, bang in the middle of the village, was the destination – a simple, yet clean building with smooth lines, attractive with its sheer energy. It not only played host to the radio station but also to the hopes and aspirations of its team members and the thousands of people who tune-in.
The objective was not just to visit the radio station for the sake of visiting, but also to understand the charismatic draw of the medium called ‘radio’. The infrastructure of the station, with its modern equipment, depicts a serious and professional image, which is re-emphasized by the presenters, who come from all walks of life, and carry stories of strife, accomplishment and destiny for anyone who makes a good listener.
Whether it is Sohrab Khan who not only has the gift of the gab, but the gift of listening, understanding what people say and reading their emotions between the spoken lines; or Fakat Hussain, who feels strongly about the freedom of expression that women should have; or be it Mufeed Khan, who has tirelessly worked towards promotion of health and nutrition; or then the story of Shakir Hussain, whose journey finds roots since the inception of the station – they all are stories of grit and determination, of learning, unlearning and relearning, and the sheer courage to do that.
“Alfaz-e-Mewat” FM 107.8 broadcasts 13 hours during a day, reaches 225 villages, and addresses a whole range of topics from the amalgamation of traditional and modern practices in agriculture, to radio school programs; programs for adolescents and youth or a health and nutrition series for women and children, and even programs for children – you name it, and it is carried in a creative and informative package on this station.
The challenges are many – finances, content development, sustenance and enhancement, infrastructure, logistics, technical aspects, and the list goes on. But then, as the famous quote goes: when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Journeys are not always about travelling to physical places, but sometimes on the emotional/spiritual journeys people have been on. The journey to the community radio station was one such journey – of understanding what it means to struggle when the going gets tough, to be born tough but become tougher with each passing challenge, to understand what your people need and strive to deliver solutions to them, to sleep at night with a smile on the face – content, that you are living life to the fullest, not because you are rich in the worldly desires, but in the sense of the blessings bestowed.