Much of the Hindi I’ve picked up is thanks to Vividh Bharathi.
True, we started Hindi when we were in the second grade (I think), and we did have zealous teachers who tried to force us to learn Hindi by, among other tactics, imposing a fine if we spoke in any other language during the Hindi period.
However, the true learning came from listening to the mellifluous songs on the radio. Notwithstanding Binaca Geet Mala, which faded in and out on scratchy tones, Vividh Bharathi was the de facto tutor. Programs like Manchaahegeet, Manoranjan, Chayageet, etc. were all looked forward to very eagerly. If we fancied a song, we listened to every program carefully, and if the song was played, we wrote down the words hastily and later practiced it with due diligence.
The fact is that most of the old songs had such beautiful lyrics, and it was delightful to spot and understand the words we had learned in school. We got a sense of the language, its rhythm, its meter and its poetry.
I realized this only recently during my night walks (yes, I am terribly inconsistent with my mode and timing of exercise!), when I began listening to Aaj Ke Fankaar again. I loved the sound of the familiar phrases rolling over me.
Tujhe Maein Chand Kehta Tha, Magar Usme Bhi Daag Hai
Tujhe Suraj Maein Kehta Tha, Magar Usme Bhi Aag Hai
Tujhe Itna Hi Kehta Hoon
Ki Mujhko Tumse Pyar Hai
Tum kasin ho nadaan ho najuk ho bholi ho
sochta hoon main ke tumhey pyar na karun
main tumhey pyar na karun
Ek Ek Din Ab Lagta Hai Ek Saal
Tere Bina Ab Mera Bhi Hai Yahi Haal
Aa Pyaar Kar…Duniya Se Dar…
Mat Door Ja…Mat Paas Aaa…
Maein Sheesha Hoon Pathhar Nahin
Koi Zor Jawaani Par Nahin
Yes, I was listening to a Rajendra Kumar special. The examples are not exactly spectacular, but there’s something about them. My own absolute favourite with respect to lyrics is Mausam’s Dil Doondtha Hai, especially the Bhupinder version, which is just out of this world!
I feel a bit sad that Lil D can’t learn Hindi the same way, by being exposed to the beauty of the language through popular songs. Instead I have to actively discourage her from listening closely to songs like:
Hey chikni kamar pe teri
Mera dil fisal gaya..
Strongly yeh jadoo tera
Mujhpe chal gaya
Aa Re Pritam pyare
Banduk mein na toh Goli mere
Pallu ke neeche Chupake rakha hai
Utta doon toh hangama ho
Arey aankhon mein robe hai
Pocket mein note hai
Natkhat mijaaz hai
Rangeela coat hai
Soorat masoom hai
Neeyat mein khot hai
Payjama tang hai
Dheela langot hai
But I guess I don’t really need to worry.