Tabs moved backward; forward. Knobs turned clockwise; anticlockwise, till the frequency was adjusted.
Headphones, check. Mike, check. Song list, check.
I waited silently for my cue during the brief sound scan. Today will be tough, I thought to myself. Gradually, I pushed the red tab forward. The engineer then gave me the green signal.
"Assalam-u-alaikum Pakistan! ", I spoke on the mike. "This is your host Iqbal and you're tuned into The Sunday Morning Teens Show, only on Radioactive 96FM. Hope you listeners had a good start. After all, the way you spend your morning can affect your mood for the rest of your day. Today's show however, is going to be mellowed down a little... Omar Akram, one of our regular callers... is no longer with us. He passed away four days ago in a tragic accident. And today's show is in his memoriam..."
Omar drowned at the Paradise Point in an act of heroism. His attempt to rescue a little girl's life from the strong blanketing waves turned successful. The girl survived. However, Omar had to sacrifice his own life in exchange. After three days of extensive searching -which included helicopters- Omar's body was found by scuba divers in an underwater cave.
Omar was an ardent listener of my show. His weekly calls had almost become a customary segment in the aired program. So much so that I was perturbed it may raise suspicion from others that his calls were fixed.
Truth is, I had no idea who he was. I might have spoken to him every Sunday for a minute. I might have become an expert in recognizing his desi accent. I might have known that he and I both were unashamed fans of Gloria Estefan. But I was still clueless as to who Omar was, until I did the memoriam show.
The response to the program was unexpected. Numerous text messages and calls were taken; conveying solidarity to the bereaved family and condoling his untimely demise. I learnt about the endearing personality Omar had; from his tearful uncle to his nostalgic second grade teacher called to read out eulogies. Omar was a compassioned and doting father to his six month old devoted pug Laddoo; who had now stopped eating. I also discovered the charitable nature of Omar. He wanted to make a change. Make a difference. Volunteer at the Karafilm Festival, a beach clean drive, teach the intellectually challenged, he had done it all. His supervisors poured out praises for him. Omar used to be a cheering and lighthearted member of his large circle of friends; several of his grieving peers called in to narrate anecdotes they shared with him.
I now knew who Omar was. I never have a face to picture whenever I spoke of him and I do not own a copy of his bio-data. Yet I knew so much about him. It was as if I had met him. Several times. In reality, he was a friend I never met.
That show was much more than just an emotionally charged, mournful episode. It was a poignant experience I had undergone.
My friends and family were excited for me when I started the year long job at the radio station. They however thought it'll be a 'just-for-fun' experience which would benefit me less, and distract me from studies more. Honestly, I expected so too. But the radio experience proved much more than 'just-for-fun'. It was a year of education which could not have been received otherwise.
Omar wanted to make a difference. And so did I. I wanted to make a difference in my life, which is why I joined the radio in the first place.
For a long time I didn't feel like I had a lot of people to relate to. Being shy, I didn't find myself in a lot of conversations with people I didn't know, and when I did, I was uncomfortable. Bonds did form with whom I call friends, but out of circumstances. I was determined to change this. I grew an urge to interact with different people, and get to know them. Radio proved to be the perfect medium. Every week I touched people's heart. And they touched mine. The thought that someone in a village, in a war affected zone, or in a brand new Mercedes is listening to you, knows of you, and will probably pray for you if you ask, ignites that warm feeling inside me. I had spent my New Years, Christmas, and Eid -all on air- with fervor. We shared moments of intimacy and excitement.
Having made innumerable friends like Omar, I realized the power of unity, of connecting people. Even though I had no political position or a higher rank, I could affect other people's lives. My show provided the youth of Pakistan a forum to congregate at. Think alike, and think positive. After Omar's death I started propagating the idea of bringing peace, the idea of protecting your environment
... the idea of making a difference.
Omar made a difference. And so did I.
"...unfortunately we have now run out of time. I'll catch you guys next week at the same time, only on 96. I'm leaving you guys with a Gloria Estefan number, 'Remember Me with Love'. Stay tuned in as RJ Raheel will take over on the other end of the track with his show 'Jukebox96'. Take really good care of yourselves. God bless. Allah Hafiz."
*The third / last paragraph("Assalam...") was after the three asteriks initially, should i put it back there?
Also, what topic would this come under?
Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.
Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.
Thanks A LOT!