The tale of a Walkman

The recent news of Sony discontinuing the Walkman brand marks the passing away of a fine legend. The other day while loitering through the world wide web, yours’ truly came across this news item announcing the news. The brief article written by a nostalgic fan, made me go back in time, to a period when computers were hardly there, when we had physical music collection, when a cassette had 12 songs, nothing more, Apple was almost dead as a company, the list goes on.
It was one time. A fine time. Yours truly was celebrating his 15th birthday. Due to my unruly attitude towards electronics, I just screwed up both my portable radio and cassette player. I got both due to my successful ability to collect merchandise, in this case Nido milk powder tin caps.
The story is like this. I just decided to leave the comforts of Abu Dhabi for the comforts of a boarding school in my native state in India. For my 15th birthday, I requested my dad a Sony Walkman, fully promising that I would take good care of it, to which my requests were granted, fortunately no questions were asked.
I decided to take good care this time of my Walkman. It had a great FM player (at that time FM stations were becoming popular in Abu Dhabi), it played original cassettes lovely, screwing up the duplicate ones, it lasted with me for 6 years before I gave it to my sister.
These 6 years chronicled a great time in my life and that Walkman stood with me throughout. Even these times, mp3 became a standard. I liked the Walkman as well. Simply because. you would listen to song in full; rewind it back hoping you will reach the beginning of a song, not any excerpts from the earlier song; fastforward a song hoping you will reach the end of the song, not wanting to spoil the beginning of the next song; the list goes on. The best thing was, there was no scrollbar, there was no spin wheel, just pure manual operation.
Just as today is good, those days were good too. BASF tapes from Germany were known for their superior sound quality. People knew about Tips. T-Series, HMV cassette companies and so on. You used to get the original Hindi MC for 50Rs, English 150Rs and a fake one for 20RS. The fake ones were marketed well, they lasted for a good one time hearing and I remember how I cleaned the head with WD40 after each time I heard a fake cassette!
Another aspect of the Walkman was that, it stood out. Jogging, walking etc., clipping the walkman to belt buckle ensured that you not only listened to the song, passers-by mistook you for someone special. Owners of zune and ipod would agree, you won’t get that feeling now..
Whatever said, these timeless players had their mark on time. They spearheaded the innovation of making music personal to everyone, cassette collection in addition to music collection was a hobby (remember those white, opaque BoneyM cassettes, or the transparent Taal cassettes). Who could forget Made in India or Thriller cassettes ? Can today’s iPod, Youtube, iPhone generation beat that following?
Let me conclude. Walkmans were truly legendary. As they say, all good things in life come to an end one day. So did you. RIP.

Published by Tenny Thomas

I have tried to do the best in every circumstance that I have been thrown into. Blogging is one of them.

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