Meet the Odisha carpenter who carves vintage radio sets

Bhubaneswar: Only a lucky few get to live and breathe their passion and Rajendra Sahu, a carpenter, is one of them.

From Odisha’s capital city of Bhubaneswar, Sahu steals time to give shape to his imagination. He has been carving radios of varied shapes and sizes since past decade-and-half.

“I make radios just because it makes me happy. I return from work by 7 pm and start with the daily ritual of making radio,” said Rajendra. He prepares the cabinet with plywood, sunmica and cane whereas the circuit board is affixed from discarded ones.

Picture Courtesy: Subrat Kumar Pati/ Facebook

“It takes around five days to assemble a radio. I browse through online sites looking for designs,” said Rajendra, who also collects antique radio sets from various parts of Odisha.

“I grew up listening to the radio. There’s a charm to it that the gadgets today fail to deliver. My father too was very fond of them. He would make radios, but I learnt to make them by myself,” he added.

Picture Courtesy: Subrat Kumar Pati/ Facebook

He will have 13 of his handmade radios on display at the fourth edition of International Radio Fair beginning February 12. “Last year, I had exhibited two handmade radios at the fair and people loved them. So, I decided to put up more of my work on display,” he said.

Sanjib Kumar Manna, an antique radio collector, will also have vintage radio brands ranging from Murphy, Phillips, Garrard, Philco, Zenith, among others, at the fair. “I have been collecting radios since 2013, mostly from rural pockets of Odisha and other states. I have been participating in the fair for the last two years and the response has been heartening. Though, people here do not pay much for the radios,” he said.

Picture Courtesy: Subrat Kumar Pati/ Facebook

Also on display will be radio equipment, Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM), auxiliary studio and a sand art by Sudarsan Pattnaik on the theme ‘World Radio Day’. “We will also have a radio repairing shop where people can get their old and new radios fixed. There’s a selfie zone too,” said Subrat Kumar Pati, convener of the fair.

Members from international broadcasters like Voice of America, China Radio International, NHK World Radio Japan and Bangladesh Vetaar will also join in. Seminars and cultural programmes will be conducted simultaneously.

The three-day fair organized by Outreach aims at increasing radio listeners and sensitizing broadcasters on the importance of radio in public service. Besides, various awards and trophies will also be given of which, Suresh Agarwal from Odisha’s Kalahandi, will receive the Radio Listener of the Year award.

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