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I did not declare a hiatus. But I persuaded myself to go for one when I found the blank page on the word processor still blank (with two stray lines of discrete words) after an hour of struggle. It perhaps was time ripe to go for a break.

The first and last option was to be to go for, Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" which my relocated friend prescribed and left for me to read. "I should utlise this opportunity," I thought.

But I was mistaken. Despite spending a voluminous time, trying to read the book for four days, I found myself at the 20th page only.

I realised, I am stuck somewhere! Just like the gramophone recorder at my uncle's place (the second wonder I faced in the world!).

Every day after coming back from office uncle used to sit with the collection of records and a cup of tea. Sipping at the cup of tea he would listen to His Master's Voice. After tea, there's the daily paper to accompany him throughout the rest of his musical journey. This would continue till there's aunty calling for dinner.

This was something that made my summer vacations at school exciting. With July coming closer my excitement would grow and I would wait eagerly the day we get the vacation and reach uncle's place.

But merely reaching uncle's place was not enough as I would have to wait till uncle returns from office and start his routine musical evenings. He would get a third company for the next few days.

But he never expected an appreciation regarding the collection of rare records he had collected over the years from me. He knew what called my attraction was not his collection but the source of sound. I used to examine each and every visible part of the wonder, scanning through my naked eyes with the hope of one day finding the one singing and playing inside it.

At time I would approach him with the queries in my mind, but he never bothered to answer.

I would stare at the rotating record, needle and the cone until either the record finishes or (most of the time) the needle gets stuck at one of the tracks to start repeating the same line.

The silence or repetition that resulted would bring uncle back to action and he would either change the record or help the needle progress further lifting it to the next track. I start my search again until it again gets stuck. I would resume staring at...

All these excitements ended when one day my science teacher revealed the secrets of recording and reproduction of sounds. I was one of the enlightened lots. But my summer vacations were no more exciting...

That was also when the first wonder in my life ceased to be so, lost its luster. Incidentally the first one was also an audio instrument, the PHILIPS radio receiver my papa had. Something that waked us up every morning sharp at 5:55 with the signature tune of All India Radio until one day I operated on it to find the sound source. The operation was successful but the patient was dead...


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