Last month I was in Delhi for business and as always had several hours to kill before I took the 3am flight back to Hong Kong. I decided to shop for some books and dropped into a nearby Crossword. I saw Shammi Narang – TV news reader from Doordarshan era. I always remembered him for his recital of a legendary poem on Jhansi Ki Rani (written by Subhadra Kumari Chauhan). Shammi was reading from a book and soon I realised he was narrating one of Munshi Premchand’s story – Shatranj Ke Khiladi. It was the launch of a set of three audiobooks by Shammi Narang on Munshi Premchand’s stories.
I sat there for 30 odd mins and really enjoyed the Shammi’s reading. Its been ages since I listened to a story in any of the Indian languages. As a child my life was full of interesting stories – from grandparents, aunts, and of course language teachers. Today our lives are so busy that we’re no longer reading to kids & teenagers – certainly not much in Indian languages. We take the easy of option of placing them in front of TV so that we don’t have to spare time. Sad but true.
Listening to Shammi brought back many memories of listening. It made me feel very nostalgic and I walked out with the audiobooks.