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!