Listening to Dubai

Have you ever wondered where Malavika disappeared to all of a sudden? You know, the Malavika who used to host the English show on Radio City every night. Ever wondered where she went? I have a very vivid memory of speaking to her once. It was the night before my Analog Communications exam and I was both studying and listening to her show. I should say, listening more to her than the songs. In the middle of the show, she asked a question: What was Avril Lavigne’s first song? At the time, everyone knew the answer to that question. I immediately sent an SMS saying ‘the answer is complicated. I like your show. Keep going. Thejas‘. Two minutes later, I got a call. Even before I answered it, I knew who I would be talking to.


“Hey Thejas. This is Malavika from Radio City. Guess what? Your answer is right. You have won yourself a life-size poster of Avril Lavigne”

“Oh really? Thank you”. I wasn’t really excited, but I decided to feign it.

“Ok, I am sorry. I wont be able to put you on air. But can you tell me something special about Avril Lavigne”

“Something special?”

“yes, anything”.

“ok, Her birthday is on September 27th”

“Huh? That’s awesome! You really know her birthday?”

“Yeah! I do. Because my birthday is on the same day.” I laughed.

“Oh thats great then. Nice talking to you. Someone from Radio City will call you up and let you know… blah blah”

I never went to collect the poster. After all who would want an Avril Lavigne poster? And when your mom doesn’t allow you to stick even Sachin Tendulkar posters on your wall, what really would you do with any bitchy-looking singer’s poster?

I was addicted to Malavika since the first time I heard her on radio. She had some style. And an extra-ordinary confidence. Even before she went live on radio for the first time, I knew about her- courtesy my sister who studied in the same college as Malavika. While I listened to her first show, I expected some goof-ups, some stammers. But when none of those came, I was impressed. And I knew that finally we had someone who could match Sunaina Lall.

The addiction lasted about an year I guess, and one day it was announced that it would be Malavika’s last show that evening. I made it a point to listen to that show and even sent an sms bidding her ‘bye. good luck‘. And that was the end of it. I stopped listening to Radio City after that. Radio Indigo and Radio One were the new kids on the block, playing awesome English songs all night. Radio City probably never recovered from the shock of the advent of these new channels.

Last week, I rediscovered Malavika. On a Dubai-based radio channel. At first I didn’t know it was her. I kept asking myself if I had heard the voice somewhere before. And then, it all came. It was the same girl. She still has the voice, though it has matured a bit. She still has those lines. And she hosts the morning show everyday from 7 to 10. Every morning, I listen to her first thing in office and get transported to the past- to those days in college. Things the Internet does to you!

I also discovered that Rohit Jayakaran too works at the same station. Remember him? The retro dude, the guy who hosted ‘Brunch with the Boss’ for sometime and then moved on to ‘Top 8 at 8’. He was another guy whose voice I tremendously admired. Strong and captivating. Those were the days! If you remember correctly, Radio City had an impressive line up of RJ’s which included Vaasanthi, Rohit Jayakaran, Jonzie, Sunaina Lall, Darius Sunnawala, Saggy and Malavika.

Listening to this particular radio channel has also taught me that the road which is most traffic prone in Dubai is the Emirates road and that it also rains sometimes in Dubai. Over the last week, it has been my source of Indian news as well. They do news updates every two hours and mainly concentrate on India. All the tamasha that was happening in the parliament over Liberhan was first heard by me on the Dubai radio. They also have some Copenhagen related stuff which they keep playing over and over again.

Its amazing how you can enjoy a radio station based in another country, listening to the popular songs of your country on shows hosted by men and women who you had admired once upon a time. I love the internet!

ps: I hope you didn’t come here looking for something on the Dubai debt crisis. If you did, accept my commiserations. Like you, I too lost my money because of Dubai.

6 comments so far

  1. Ambika on

    Thanks for reminding those beautiful days in college, I listened to radio more than studying. “Brunch with the Boss” was one awesome program. Radio city had some informative programs on their list apart from entertainment, which I don’t see now a days. Vaasanthi was a delight to listen.

  2. Shwetha Maiya on

    Yeah I rem. . Nostalgic. . Doing math problems listening to radio and being still awesome at it. . I rem Dad coming and switching off the radio everytime. .😦 I rem talking to Rohit Barker and being on air twice(one being a dedication to my teacher for teacher’s day). . I was on cloud no 9! I used to love hearing Jonzie’s voice. . Sunaina, Darius, Saggy and Malavika were awesome too. . But Radio City has completely lost its sheen. . I switched over to Radio Indigo in my engi days. .

  3. Manikandan on

    U have forgotten Chaitanya Hegde, Sheetal Iyer and so moany other ppl. i miss radio here, they hardly play songs of any other language….

  4. Srikanth G V on

    Radio city in Banalore was ‘THE RADIO CHANNEL’ during my initial working days and I remember the day when they first played a kannada song (from Yuvaraja).
    Then, the options were limited, one FM biggie and another a govt owned FM channel… due to this lack of options I used to listen to the Radio City RJs as well.. initially i wasn’t a big fan of these FM RJs.. later either they got better or I got used to them.. the bottom line was I started enjoying… And one fine day there was a new channel.. and then another, another and another…. only music and crap RJs..

    now days my iPod plays better songs then FM Radios.. especially in Hyderabad…

  5. Saltwater Blues on

    which is this Dubai based radio channel … and how does one listen to it online?


  6. Malavika on

    Hey Thejas,

    Let me begin by saying – you made my day, my week, my entire year!!!! This is Malavika, the same person you d listen to on air in Bangalore and the same person who has now moved to sunny Dubai!

    My colleague ,Lokesh was indulging in some self – googling and we found your blog – and I havent been able to wipe the smile off my face! I m so happy I have even forwarded your page to my mum , who has bookmarked it!

    In every job, you have those days when you think – I wonder if what I m doing is impacting anyone, if anyone really listens …. and then there are days when you find a blog post like this one and it makes it all worth it!:)

    Hope you re fine in whichever part of the world you are (which part is that by the way???), hope you continue to listen to my show forever and ever! Do keep in touch



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