Friday, July 11, 2008

Me and Mr.Bose

I know it's an ungrammatical title. But 'Mr.Bose and I' doesn't convey what I want it to, so please excuse this deliberate error.
The Mr.Bose, or Boseji, in his more desified version, that I'm talking about refers to a small Wave music system from the hallowed House of Bose, which, I believe, is way up in the hierarchy of sound equipment the world over. The Sometimes Resident Engineer wanted to buy it for me as a birthday present last year, or rather he wanted to buy it and wanted to justify the purchase by calling it my birthday present. Prior to our famous trip to the US last year, we had agreed that no birthday presents were required since we would be quite broke when we came back.
But when the SRE gets a bee in his bonnet, the man is unstoppable. Apparently, if we bought the system before a particular date, we would also get a free IPod. Now, if what you really want is an IPod, then why not just buy an IPod. ( The younger son had already got one, which the fond father had bought him on one of his trips abroad). But no, the man wanted a free IPod and a Bose music system. He wanted to carry the IPod to entertain him on his travels, on his long flights etc. etc. Plus it was free with a Bose. A Bose- not any old music system, but a BOSE!!!! If you claim to be a music lover, how can you possibly say no to a Bose?
Fine and dandy, my friend, as long as you don't call it my birthday present!

I did strongly voice my reservations, as we already possessed
A) a WorldSpace radio (in the dining room), which is clearly heard in the kitchen as well.
B) a home theatre system connected to the TV in our drawing room
C) the computer in our bedroom, which can play discs!
D) a cute little Akai system which can play tapes, CDs, VCDs and MP3 discs as well as radio.
E) a radio cassette player in my parents' room.
F) a retired Discman which had earlier been bought for long distance travel, but was now an embarrassment to be seen with, in this new zamaana of tiny devices!

The SRE thought my reservations specious. Well, he who pays the piper calls the tune, and so we went visiting the Bose showroom.

The Bose showroom is just amazing! Wonderful systems, and a beautiful show in their soundproof studio. The sound quality is exquisite. We left with a Wave in our hands, and collected the IPod a few days later.

The IPod story: I admire the gadgetry- the tininess of the contraption, the sound quality, the amazing technology that has gone into the thing. Wow. When the younger son flaunted his, I'd appreciate it and admire it and occasionally listen to it. But I'm one of those people who does not enjoy using headphones of any kind. I like to listen with my ears free and open to the sound.
So M'sieur IPod was definitely not my baby. The SRE realised that loading it took some effort, but persevered and soon had some of his favourite music on the gadget. But, strangely, he didn't enjoy it as much as he thought he would. He'd travel, but wouldn't take it with him. This was, sadly, a very short lived romance. Our elder son came a-visiting, and was delighted to take it off our hands, saving it from certain decay and death from disuse. Smart cookie that he is, accepted it, but not as a birthday present. That had to be separate. Bah. Anyway, the fond parents indulged the NRI student son. When he comes home later this month we'll find out how that particular IPod is faring.

The Bose Wave story: I admire the machine. It is beautiful, small, fits nicely where the Akai used to sit, on a set of drawers fixed to our bedroom wall. One drawer is full of cassettes, which the Akai used to play. Some CDs sit on a rack- mostly the bhajans that the SRE likes to listen to while he gets ready in the morning. Other CDs are occasionally imported from their home in the drawing room.
(Major sibling rivalry occurred. Banished to the guest room and rarely used, the Akai died of neglect- something I discovered when I thought of playing it while I tidied the linen cupboard.
It's been repaired since then, came back working fine, but now it only plays cassettes. It probably thinks we have enough CD players already. I will take it to the Akai hospital again- since we ought to have at least one music system in every room!)

Boseji swallows CDs- you insert them into a tiny slit and they disappear into the maw of the machine. All functions are controlled by a slim, small remote. Boseji seems to be a system of great taste- all bhajan CDs were played without a whisper, as well as Beethoven's Ninth, to which it did great justice, and my Hindustani classical discs. A couple of months later, though, Boseji gave me my first indication of its true potential for trouble. It did not like the CD of Barsaat ki Raat (such delightful songs- Zindagi Bhar Nahin Bhoolegi Woh Barsaat ki Raat, Na Toh Kaaravaan ki Talaash Hai, Yeh Ishq Ishq Hai etc.). Boseji said 'Disc Error'. Very well, we will eject the offending disc. But Boseji seems to be a masochist. Refuses to eject the damn disc. I press various buttons on the remote. Nothing happens. I'm seriously thinking of unplugging it and carting it off to the showroom, when switching the mains off and on somehow ejects the CD.
To my great relief, may I add. I tenderly carry the poor rejected Barsaat Ki Raat to the drawing room and play it there.

(Boseji is also supposed to have a clock and an alarm etc., but the clock has a mind of its own and slowly slows down. I could have lugged it to the showroom, but since we haven't really bought it to tell the time with, it doesn't seem worth the bother. So, if you wake up in the middle of the night you are supposed to ignore the green luminous numbers hanging in the dark, and switch on the table lamp and look at the nice little alarm clock that does tell the time).

I thought that Boseji liked what I can only call the good stuff! I was delighted when it rejected a Gurdas Mann CD and happily played Rabbi's new offering, Aavengi Jaa Nahin. ( I was most distressed to see the SRE thumping it in an attempt to extricate the CD. You have to use wiles and trickery, pretend you aren't up to anything, and magically the CD will emerge). But then it also rejected Kalapini Komkali's wonderful disc with Raga Nand. And gave me a hard time ejecting it. (I just brought the disc here to check, and it's playing now- so Boseji doesn't permanently hate a particular artiste- I guess its a matter of mood).

It is well established that Boseji is temperamental and has many 'nakhras'. Boseji is also quite the sadist, where I'm concerned. Last week we were gadding about the South City Mall, trying to pass time till it was time for the movie (Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na) to begin, when we strolled into Planet M. We saw a CD of patriotic songs, beautiful old ones like 'Hum Laaye Hain Toofan Se' etc. which the SRE and I both liked. Then we realised that it was an MP3 CD. Given Boseji's track record, I had very grave doubts about its ability to play an MP3. Boseji's brochure has been carefully kept away, and you wouldn't think you'd need a brochure for equipment with not a single button or knob on its face or body! The younger son thought it would play. The home theatre doesn't play MP3, and the little Akai, poor thing, is not in the mood for any CDs these days.

Well either Boseji is out to get me ( remember, I'm the one who didn't want more any more music systems breeding like rabbits in my home), or else is a true patriot- of course it played the patriotic songs. Bah.
Well , I like the songs, so I should be grateful! Unbah?

I have come to the conclusion that as a true maestro, Boseji is entitled to all these tantrums and aggravation. Even Kishori Tai is supposed to be quite the prima donna. So why not Boseji? Boseji of the sound quality par excellence is surely entitled to a few idiosyncracies.

However, I do get my own back. Boseji also plays FM. So I enjoy playing all the trendy, silly, mast fillum songs on the FM, and poor Boseji can't do a thing about it. Crazy numbers like
'Dil dance maarey' and 'Pappu can't dance saala'. However, I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed- equipment in my house is known to have a mind of its own!


SUR NOTES said...

Mr. Bose is an eccentric, quirky snob.
And Mr. Akai, the quiet, efficient, but somewhat hurt underdog.
The discman, a fat redundant soul, who doesnt care either way.

Nice set of people you have out there dipali, shall come visiting soon.:)

??! said...

The last para just cracked me up! Brilliant revenge.

dipali said...

@sur: Indeed we do! When are you coming?
@??!: I'm sure Boseji will have something nasty in store for me. Have to stay one jump ahead:)

Banno said...

Oh, we keep going and peeking at Mr.Bose in all his finery and with all his siblings at the mall. But going by what you say, he sounds a difficult one to have around the house. Though fun. Specially with all the filmi tunes.

dipali said...

@banno: I haven't yet started on the SRE and his credit card. That piece of plastic can upset all my budgeting plans:)I had always thought of any member of the Bose family as way beyond our means, but hubby's determination (pig-headedness? Is that too rude?) plus his credit card carried the day.

Sukhaloka said...

If it was Bose... Baby would be similarly determined, and unlike you I would do NOTHING to stop him! :D
Gotta hear the output from Boseji soon - expect me even sooner than you have been! :P

Anonymous said...

Glad that you could be persuaded dipaliji.. the bose is an incredible gadget - i have one and have never regretted buying it.. the sound quality is just amazing.. :)

Usha said...

hahaha. Some of these quirks with machines seem familiar. But go girl, I am rooting for you. We can't let the machine win!

Preeti Aghalayam aka kbpm said...

mine obsessed obscenely over something called ONKYO - i had never heard of it then and have not heard of it since either. it lies around indolently somewhere at home. although its meant to be a DVD VCD FM whatever or the other, it refuses movies. plays music occasionally. He tried to angle for another similar thing yesterday at the mall (i have an urge to buy something electronic kenny. okay go buy a battery operated egg whisk smirk smirk). i managed to veer him away from there to royal purple ties... i will consider myself warned off Mr.Bose (and his Mrs. if any). thanks dipali. this is real useful info to file away!!

Airspy said...

my husbands company gifted it an iPod a few years back. He was super excited,it seemed to indicate that we were up with the times. In its initial days the ipod went to our friends house filled quarter of its memory with songs. And then it went into hibernation...Last month we bought an ipod dock + speakers. We placed it in the living room curio stand. And thus, defying the very rai·son d'ĂȘtre of ipod, we listen to the music through the speakers.

Yesterday was the last straw...he has ordered a casette to MP3 converter, so that he can put all his casette favourites into the iPod.

dipali said...

@suki:This is the little chap in our bedroom, haven't I played anything on it for you? Come anyway!
But tell me, you've heard music in our sitting room- the Pioneer sounds pretty damn good, as does the WorldSpace. We weren't deprived of good sound quality earlier either!
@silent one: No no, I do appreciate it. I just tend to be more careful in what I buy than the SRE is! Anything to rag him with:)
@usha: Soul sister! These damn machines think no end of themselves, no?
@2 b's mommy: Thanks:)
@kbpm: No no, don't be warned off. I'm growing to love Mr.Bose, and we have a feeling that the drawers he's sitting on may be slightly slanting, hence the ejection hiccups. The husband threatened to thump him again yesterday, but I dissuaded him. Have kept a few sheets of tissue paper under the system- let us see how the system behaves. Methinks you should get rid of the ONKYO and buy a Bose.
The Akai chotu ain't bad either- it played everything it promised to:)
@airspy: Lovely having you here!
I guess IPods are designed for actual and perennial teenagers.
Let's see what my twenty-eight year old has to report. I would love to get my cassettes converted to CDs as I have a vast collection of some wonderful music, much of it recorded from All India Radio's classical music programmes.

Itchingtowrite said...

mr sony is no better

Preeti Aghalayam aka kbpm said...

ha but i LIKE my ipod and have jealously guarded it against marauding family members since april. of course it helps that i have Neil Diamond and Fleetwood Mac on it. :-)

dipali said...

@itchy: all of them seem to be mahaan characters:)
@kbpm: What fun: I haven't heard Neil Diamond for ages now! The son wasn't marauding, somehow the SRE just disconsolately gave up on it. As I said, earphones somehow annoy me, and on walks I'm generally happy with my own thoughts

the mad momma said...

Mr Bose and his little iPod pal have been guests in our home a while. they've behaved rather decently until now but I am guessing that is because i terrorise pretty much anyone who steps in :D

lovely post.

dipali said...

@the mad momma: Thanks!
I must learn to terrorise all inmates, starting with the SRE:)

Anonymous said...

hhehehe.. nice post...i think mr. bose sounds like a fun person to b around albiet a little music obsessed!!!:P

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's not nakhras - maybe Boseji, like a true Bengali, likes its unscheduled tea breaks :)

neha vish said...

I just go drool at Boseji.

dipali said...

@churningthewordmill:But of course! We all have some OCD, no?
@lekhni: That is brilliant. ( I live in Kolkata, I'd better duck)
@neha: Oh, Boseji is drool worthy, no doubt!

dipali said...

@itchy: Sony de nakhre and all!

Mystic Margarita said...

Lovely post! Maybe we should try and dig up a connection between Boseji and a certain Mamta Banerjee, given Boseji's penchant for whimsical idosyncracies and spontaneous 'bandhs'! :p

Anonymous said...


Awesome post. First time at your blog and completely loved it. :)

Will be here more often.

Squiggles Mom said...

Loved the post :) and the ending was brilliant!

Anonymous said...

I was 'laughing my you know what' off :)
We have three ipod shuffles and one ipod touch @ our home. Sadly I don't listen to any. The husband swore that if he has the mechanism to plug it in to car radio, we will use it. So TWO months were sepnt looking for one. Every other day he would visit the electronics store and bring back a gadget to connect the ipod to the car stereo. NONE worked, at last he was forced to geta gadget from apple store - none of the cheap stuff for ipod. The damn thing wouldn't respond to anything less than $100. The best part? He had to get two different gadgets - one for the touch and one for the suffle. Apaprently what works with one does not work with the other.

Rohini said...

I just got a new iPod and am loving it!!! I am planning to buy one of those connector thingies then all my fave music from the iPod can play off the system!!!

dipali said...

@mystic margarita: There could be a political connection- you never know:)
@shekhar r:Welcome here! Glad you enjoyed the post.
@squiggles mom: Thankoo
@utbt kids:these gadgets can be very demanding, in more ways than one!
@rohini: You are one with-it, red hot mama! Enjoy:)

Nat said...

this post was fun to read...had me chuckling all the way

Mira's mom said...

Hi Dipali - lovely post! Thank God - I don't have Mr. Bose with his idiosyncracies at my place. But, the birthday drama is very well done in our home too :-). First time here, hopped on from Sur's blog, which both you and I frequent quite often I suppose :-)

Unknown said...

I am terrible with gadgets. I have only recently learnt to operate the DVD player because the son insists on watching his movies. And now he's even learnt to do his own loading unload and play button press, so am not required even for that.
Brill post.

Roop Rai said...

lol can't stop laughing. thanks!!! :)))

mr. bose is indeed fantastic.

Anonymous said...

Thank your lucky stars the SRE wasn't keen on a Bang & Olufsen system! Those esteemed gentlemen wouldn't have rested easy till you had hocked your home to pay for their services. Now you know what I am up against!!

Choxbox said...

lovely post dipali!

we regularly give away perfectly working music systems since we are 'upgrading' all the time. bah.

dipali said...

@karmickids: Guys and their gadgets- they start early, no?
@roop rai:Thanks:)
@desigirl: we must have bought the cheapest Bose around, but nonetheless a Bose. Post international vacation even this should have been a big no-no, but the husband man got senti: what to do?

dipali said...

@choxbox: Thanks. Yes, the quest for perfect sound leads to these purchases, but often there isn't all that much time to enjoy them(:

Indian Home Maker said...

Bosejee ki kahani made a very interesting, hilarious read!! This is really funny and really listen to a lot of music!! said...

Hey Dipali, that was hilarious.The pups are extremely cute!

here and there in n out said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
dipali said...

@indian home maker: Thank you. Yes, music is a very important partof my life:) Welcome here, and thank you.

Mampi said...

Boseji ko mera shat shat pranam.

Wonderfully written. I simply could not stop laughing throughout the post.

dipali said...

@mampi: glad you enjoyed the post. Glad I made you laugh:) Hanstey raho, Mampi Puttar:)