By Samir Shukla
It’s a Wednesday. The record, shiny and black, glistened as I looked at the songs on each side to check what I wanted to play and hear. I placed the vinyl LP on the turntable and put the needle down. I was playing this on a portable turntable, so the sound wasn’t booming, but it felt right. It sounded right. There was a bit of pop and hiss in between the songs, as a record should behave. The room felt happier. I started swaying, moving to the warm sound of analog music, it felt like a summer breeze. Music is meant to be heard in such a manner, analog, old school.
This digitized, rapidly becoming artificial world needs some serious analog love. In the meantime, the old reliable vinyl records are still around, new generations are discovering their sound. This is analog life for digital kids, indeed.
I stared at the record spinning on the turntable. A lovely circular motion. The hour moves with it. Time is always spinning, to the young it moves slow, for the rest it moves quickly. Where did the time go is a common complaint. Where did the day go? Sometimes days move like that. This day, with the music playing, it is moving at a leisurely pace. I’ve had this record for 40 years, bought it back in college. 1983.
Time seems more interesting in specific blocks – 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, 40 years. A popular block of time is 25 years. It is a quarter century. When one is 25 in the flush of youth, time seems like a trusted friend. Well, add another block of that quarter century and the middle age of 50 smacks you in the knee. Yeah, that’s what that ache is, not old age creeping in, but time the equalizer giving you a reminder. Before you know it, a quarter century has passed.
I like these blocks of time. They give a sense of pacing. This month of May, this year 2023, marks Saathee magazine’s 25 years of existence. It’s our 25th anniversary. A quarter century.
We began the magazine on a whim, with a folded 4-page flyer and run off on a copy machine. Over the years of churn and technological hops and bounces, we have printed the magazine, black and white at first, newsprint later, and full glossy color for many years, continually month after month. The internet was still fairly young when we started Saathee in May of 1998. The madness of social media and smart phones still a few years away.
Incidentally, print media is also analog, old school, an older friend of records. Print still has gravitas, something you hold and flip and keep on the living room table for later perusing. It is static, yet visually dynamic. The digital hurricanes today pummel us daily with a deluge of content. Cutting through the noise is a challenge. Putting down that handheld beast of incessant information is difficult.
A suggestion. Slow it down. Grab a cup of chai, set aside the digital devices, and pick up a good book or a magazine, hey, if you happen to be reading this on the print version of Saathee, you already have something worth reading. :)
Over the years, we have had challenges, pretty much as any business or enterprise does. But it is a joy to produce this content, the lovely print magazine and our related digital versions. Passion is a good word. The bumps and the triumphs along the way have been thrilling, humbling and educational. We have evolved as an information source, evolved as people, as first and second-generation immigrants, as citizens.
The warm month of May beckons even the grayest of spirits. Outdoor season is cranking up, for music, travel, festivals, gatherings. We will celebrate Saathee during this month of memories, and then roll forward. The record continues to spin. It’s time to flip it onto the other side. Your companion and friend, Saathee, is here with you.
It’s time to flip the page, continue flipping the pages, for another round of time weaving into months and years. Nice, clean blocks of time. Stay with us for the ride. If you just recently discovered us, join us for the ride.
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