When the clock strikes 9, RJ Anmol mans up the microphone of 107.2 MHz which is not so famously known as Radio Nasha. After a day of grueling legal manoeuvring at my boss’s chamber, I had finally boarded that late night metro to home that is always decorated with tired homecoming lullabies being reflected in their beholders’ eyes. Irked by the mechanics of a routine life, I decided to give preference to radio over my iPod playlist for this not so long but weary journey. And as far as perks of this choice are concerned, I was quite satisfied by the welcoming melodies of Dhal Gaya Din.
Well, the soothing voice of Lata Mangeshkar was not the only thing that touched my heart that night. More profoundly, it was the request made by a man with a thick voice – Tahir.
RJ Anmol has a special late night segment where he randomly calls one of his listeners and tries to fulfill their one request. On the auspicious night of Eid, one of the lucky listeners for this segment turned out to be Tahir. “Eid Mubarak bhaijaan” said Anmol while familiarising himself with the man on the other end of the line. “Aapko bhi bohot bohot Mubarak” replied a spontaneously charged up voice. After explaining the theme of the segment Anmol asked Tahir for his one request to which the middle aged man replied –
“Bhaijaan, meri bas ek hee khwaish hai. Meri ek paanch saal ki beti hai jiski awaaz sunne ko main taras gaya hu. Agar aap mujhe uski awaaz sunwa do, Allah talah ki kasam, main do saal tak koi khwaish nazdeek nahi rakhunga”.
(Brother, I have a daughter for whose voice I have yearned for years. If you could make me talk to her, I swear by God, I won’t ask for anything else for next two years)
Startled by this request Anmol asked the man about the reason for this request. As he’s usually met with requests for old love songs or funny confessions, the thinning of his voice evidenced the fact that this is probably the first time that this cheered up quirky RJ is taken into a sentimental ride on his own show. Talking further about his request, Tahir mentioned that 3 years ago he was separated from his wife Reshma who also managed to get the custody of their only daughter. Since then, Reshma has put an embargo on Tahir’s any communication with his daughter. Despite understanding the extreme difficulty of fulfilling this request, Anmol promised Tahir that he’ll try his best to fulfill the request while the mystic music of azaan provided for an unexpected yet contextualised divine interruption.
After taking Reshma’s number, I was again introduced to some music. As Asha Bhonsle’s Aao Na Gale Lagalo Na transpired me to a much needed groovy state, a part of my mind was stuck on what would happen to Tahir’s request. After a couple of interluding songs, the time finally came when Anmol called up Reshma.
Anmol: Hello Reshma ji, Eid Mubarak
Reshma: (in a joyous voice) Eid Mubarak, aap kaun? (Who’s this)
Anmol: Ji main Anmol bol raha hu Radio Nasha se, meri ek choti see request hai. (Ma’am, I’m Anmol. I have a small favour to ask for)
Reshma: haan boliye (yes..)
Anmol: Mere ek show hai jisme main sabki ek request poori karta hu. Ek request mere paas Tahir jee ki hai jo apni beti se baat karna chahte hai. ( I run a show where I fulfill people’s requests. One of those requests is from Tahir who wants to talk to his daughter)
Reshma: (suddenly the tone becomes distantly and anguished) ji ye nahi ho sakta aur hume is baare main koi baat nahi karni hai ( Listen, this can’t happen and I don’t want to talk about it)
As Reshma was about to put the phone down…
Anmol: Bhabi Bhabi suniye.. (Ma’am please listen…)
Reshma: Hume koi baat nahi karni ( I don’t want to talk)
Anmol: Bhabi aaj Eid hai. Humare khatir nahi toh Allah ke khatir hee kisi ko uski khushi ada kar de. (Ma’am, it’s Eid today. If not for us, at least for Allah’s sake, please agree to offer a man his deepest happiness by fulfilling his innate desire)
After seconds of awkward silence and building tensions, the pause finally breaks with Reshma’s voice.
Reshma: Aarzoo idhar aao.. (Aarzoo come here..)
As the line was held for Aarzoo, not only Tahir but I guess every listener must have waited in sheer anticipation to witness what might unravel in just minutes time.
“Hello..” said Aarzoo sounding clueless about the nature of the conversation she was about to indulge into.
After that hello, what happened for next 30 seconds warmed my heart to its every vein. As emotions swelled in Tahir’s throat, his voice became thin and his tone gentler. In a brief period of conversation where he could only share greetings ended with his daughter saying, “Abbu, aap aajao mujhse milne” (dad, won’t you come to meet me?). Sensing the baritone of the exchanging tones, Reshma abruptly intervened by saying ‘that’s enough’ and disconnected the call.
After the abrupt disconnection of the call an awkward silence followed which was for Anmol to break. As he began to ask Tahir about his feelings, a voice from the other end, that has undergone a multiple variations in tone throughout this outplay adorned satisfying gratitude. “I don’t know how to thank you” he said. “What has happened to me today, I’m not sure whether I deserve it or not, I would never cease to be thankful for it.”
As the last word had been spoken, last tear, shed, Anmol went back to his chair and I was again treated with some serenading melodies. This time, Geeta Dutt.