By Jamil Raju
No TV…limited cinema halls, mostly foreign movies, night clubs, discotheques, Sunday Jam Sessions at clubs and private at homes with live bands like Keynotes, In Crowd, The Bugs, Dad’s Gratitude etc had everything to offer to enjoy our young and teenage life on weekends and holidays.
What how we reached out to our favourite Elvis, Cliff Richards, Neil Sedaka, Ricky Nelson, Connie Francis, Beatles, Jhonny Contrado, Jim Reeves and Burl Ives ruling us during cool December with awesome Christmas Carols/Songs we still remember for which in entire the then Pakistan, it was Karachi and Karachi only..cycling the memories we cherish today and tell our children about.
Coming to how we reached them with Record Player as expensive a gadget as an Altis Car…and 78 RPM Rekords playable of His Masters Voice Grinding Gramaphone which needed needle change after a few rekords…sometimes made us envious of that dog staring at the speakers..in the ad and sign board of Saddar’s Gramaphone Vompany of Pakistan we use to stare after enjoying a soda at Baluch Ices and another cold drink spot in front of Noorani Masjid..namely Punch Cool which had Pakistan’s first ever Jukebox where we’d play our fav songs through slotting 8 Annas sipping coke I have purchased for 6 Annas…..
The free western music entertainment for us who didn’t have record players and 78 followed by 45 RPM rekords.. (I got mine in 1962 when my dad got one with my fav Elvis rekords on his UNESCO scholarship visit to Europe).
Therefore—our hero we would follow as steadfastly as ever was none the other but EDWARD CARRAPIET a wonderful Christian RJ at Radio Pakistan, Karachi and who among us old fogies of those wonder years of Karachi can forget Eddie’s weekly Satarday night half n hour music program “MUSIC BY REQUEST” which entertained your request letters mailed to him at RPK at least a week earlier as he use to receive hundreds of requests mostly from Grammarians, St. Pats, St. Pauls, St. Lawrence, Convent of Jesus & Mary, Dow Medical students and teens but “Josephines” from St. Josephs beating them all.
My dad being a poet and presenter of literary talk programs as his extracurricular….I had a few opportunities to visit RPK since 1957 and finally met Eddie through his producer Yawar Mehdi. I requested Eddie to entertain my requests and sometimes on phone also..about 30 minutes before the scheduled time of 10 PM…that I still remember the phone number of RPK which was nose front to Theosophical Hall..as “70761”…..
It was thanks to Eddie who swooned us with our favorite songs including the most requested number of the movie “The Millionaires” sung by Peter Sellers as an Indian Doctor and Sophia Loren as his patient.
“House of a Bamboo Door” and “Diana” still make me absolutely nostalgic that I repeatedly hear them.
MUSIC BY REQUEST and Jim Reeves were inseparable with songs like “Crash of No.9”, “I know….” , “But you love me Daddy” the list goes on….but JINGLE BELLS by Jim….will live till eternity. Jim’s near match, my another fav… Burl Ives got me to love this great balladeer from Eddie’s MBR of RPK. His “Little Bit of Tear Let Me Down”…as infectious as ever. Jhonny Contrado’s “Those Magic Changes” is glued in my flashdrive.
Karachi was yearned to be visited by Lahore teens for its jazzy happenings which all vanished which to me..could have been some curse.
Today’s Radio is all but commercial and never have I heard any song being played till end. The RJ must bellow out some of his geniuses or an ad…right when you are enjoying the song…which too is rarely. The FM is 98% heard while you are driving…and not like our wonder years when we use to sit by our Phillips or Murphy or Telefunken or Grudig Radio like Madhubala did listening to her favourite “Zindagi Bhar Nahin Bholey Gi Woh Barsaat Ki Raat” on telefunken huge radio set which use to have the names of cities to roll the pin on it for transmission.
RPK, Edward Carrapiet, Yawar Mehdi and a medium wave band for which an aerial was essential for clear reception…all need to be thanked from Karachi of Past for giving us memories we joyfully remember and swoon.
BTW…Eddie once told me on phone “Ye Sala Tum Every Week Aik Nayee Larki Ko Song Dedicate Karta Hai? ye fake names tou nahin and I said mostly are…which makes my classmate jealous of me…and now the fact is that the most regular requested song by me for a girl was “Only Youuuuu….” and that girl is my wife now.
WESTERN MUSIC became so popular that RPK also initiated “Karachi Hit Parade” followed by Sunday after program by Khatija Naqvi as “Listeners Choice” on the pattern of BBC London’s program by same name which were presented by Margaret Howard and Elizabeth London and they too did play many of my requests by informing through a London view postcard the date and time on mh address.
Radio Pakistan Building on M.A. Jinnah Road (formerly Bunder Road) was built in 1956.