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Tuesday, June 28, 2011
OFFBEAT: Tune in to Uttar Pradesh's human radio!
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"It's 4.15 in the morning...time for the weather report," crackles a loudspeaker perched atop a temple here. For the next 30 minutes, the voice dispenses several useful nuggets of information, including train schedules and local news, a pattern not broken for the last two decades. An efficient community radio service? Actually, it's a 59-year-old lab chemist.
Meet Raj Narayan Mishra, a delightful one-man radio station.
"I have been doing it since 1988. I rise early at around 3 a.m. and after getting fresh, I straightway head to the temple to make the announcements," Mishra, a senior lab chemist in the Kanpur Medical College said.
The temple he is referring to is located a few metres away from his house in Rura town, some 150 km from Lucknow, where he has set up his 'information centre'.
"Be it train timings or information about government health camps or missing people, I try my best to provide every kind of information that could benefit the locals," he added.
Mishra uses eight loudspeakers - four at the temple complex and the rest spread out over various residential areas - to reach the maximum number of people.
"The announcements have not only become a routine for me but have also become an integral part of the lives of the locals. They appreciate me for assisting them in planning their day-to-day activities," said Mishra, who makes the public announcements twice daily.