Surabhi: Memories, memories and more memories

As I sit here, thousands of kms away from IISc, there is no reason that I need to miss my country and the people. But imagine getting all emotional over an otherwise perfectly usual video! I have been in Rhythmica for so many years, have preformed for many programs, watched many, missed many. But no other program ever made me feel this close to home as this one. Reason: Rhythmica performing the title Music of Surabhi!!! THE definitive program on Doordarshan (anyone, remember which channel this is????)

Those memories of my Mom fussing over us about finishing our dinner fast and Dad helping us get over our backlogs of preparing for school the next day came flooding back as I saw a euphoric Sathya play the oh-so-familiar tune of Surabhi on his violin. And I cried! For Surabhi? You’d say it’s silly. But for me, Surabhi was much much more than a program. It was more like a phenomenon. My personal trip to those far flung places of India that I can possibly never hope to visit otherwise. All those and much more came right to my house, with a complete description of the place, people, culture, food, customs! And of course, I can never delete the image of Renuka Sahane and Siddharth Kak sifting through the post cards they got as answers for the Sawaal Jawaab Section! Initially, they used to put them in a small box, which was replaced by a medium sized ‘handi’ later on, which was further replaced by a bigger ‘handi’ and Phew! Then, they started walking in between piles and THEN, they walked between pillars made of postcards! I could never get over the tingling sensation, waiting for the sawaal jawaab section, trying to guess what the answer to the question last week will be. I frankly even wrote a postcard once, I guess my first (and last) in my life, thanks to the SMS and e-mail answering these days.

Surabhi was much much more than just a series on Indian culture. It was a friendly way of teaching this country (and its people) that look, there is SO MUCH that you don’t know. So much to learn, to appreicate, to love………..about India. And there are such vivid memories of Surabhi in every single person’s mind who ever watched it. One particular episode is so well etched in my mind that I even remember what Siddharth Kak said in that episode. There was an egg-shaped thing that was shown and we were asked to guess what it was. Siddharth Kak, in a very mellow mood, says: Pichhle hafte ke sawaal ke liye is baar record sahi jawaab aaye hain. And I could feel that all familiar goose-flesh over my skin. I knew it had to be some egg of some sort. But he said, SIRF EK. People had guessed left right and center about which animal’s egg it was! But all against the guesses, it turned out to be a fruit that needs to be boiled and on boiling, yielded silk-like threads. I was so thrilled as I walked away with a valuable piece of information, which has never left me.

As I sit back and watch the Rhythmica team playing Surabhi, getting so emotional that it brings tears to my eyes, I ask myself: What is it that made Surabhi so special? The anchors, whose smile made you feel, it’s ok. NO ONE can learn everything about a country like India, we’re here, don’t worry. To tell you all that you don’t know. Or was it the simplicity with which the things were shown? Even to those who don’t understand Hindi, it was a delight as the visuals were great. They had a language of their own. Or was it the signature tune? So authentically Indian, complete with mridangam, violin, morsing, tabla………and frankly, I don’t have an answer. Just truck loads of memories………every single one of them, sweet and worth cherishing all my life!



  1. girish said,

    March 14, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Yes, Surabhi was a phenomenon! Nothing less!! Gone are those days, i guess, when we would watch only DD, in fact only a few select programmes, of which not a single episode of surabhi was never missed!

    By the way, its been ages since i heard the music of surabhi. If you have the mp3, please send it across….

  2. Pritesh said,

    March 14, 2007 at 12:53 pm

    I have only the link to the Music played by Rhythmica. If you want, I can send you that……….

  3. Tata said,

    March 14, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Very Good

  4. Rajdeep said,

    March 14, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    I have forgotten the Surabhi tune 😦
    Will have to check the link now 🙂
    But yes, nothing as yet can be compared with Surabhi, the simplicity with which they passed so much information in each episode. Hope i could get my hands on the DVDs of Surabhi someday 🙂

  5. chandra said,

    March 15, 2007 at 12:33 am

    very good one!

    DD used to have really good shows those days. surabhi indeed was a very good show. your article brings me fond memories of how our entire family used to have an early dinner and sit in front of the TV for SURABHI. Renuka’s hearty smile, her nice haircut and Siddharth Kak’s calm and composed way of talking – it was an amazing combination.

    several years after surabhi, in an art gallery in mumbai, in 2004, i happened to see renuka sahane – she had become a little old but still as charming… a sudden unexpected encounter like that brought flurries of sweet old memories to my mind.

  6. Pritesh said,

    March 15, 2007 at 4:20 am

    Thanks Tata, for dropping by and leaving a comment! 🙂

    Rajdeep, this is one of MY desires too. To get to see those episodes full of information about this vast phenomenon called India, that happens to belong to us all! 🙂

    And yes Chandra, the charm lives on. I still find her every bit as charming as she was earlier. Ah, those days when DD used to air some classics like Tamas, Hum Log, Hum panchhi ek Chawl ke, Kashish (I had like this HUGE crush on Sudesh Berry those days) :D……….

  7. Karthik said,

    April 22, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    Hey Pritesh,

    Ya, Surabhi was a really good show! very popular. Second (or is it fifth or sixth? ) everything you’ve said about it. Very good post Pritesh!

  8. puneet said,

    October 14, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    i got a mail this morning that i wish i could share with you, but relying on 6 degree of separation, i am sure you’ll get hold of it. it reminds us of the old days when DD was the only channel and it was great. not only surabhi, there were many others – bharat ek khoj, turning point, byomkesh bakshi, not to mention ramayan and mahabharat…only to be replaced by stupid reality shows, hyped news channels, and the k saga…really. those were the good ‘ol days. sigh!

  9. benny said,

    November 3, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Dear sir
    Ilike to contact the Producer

  10. benny said,

    November 3, 2008 at 12:58 pm


    i like to contact the producers

  11. gmravi said,

    June 3, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Oh man! Surabhi was so brilliant. It was and still remains such a unique program. You will find the first ever episode of Surabhi that was aired on


  12. Twinkle said,

    September 21, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I would like to have surabhi images. please. It was a great, never before and never after serial.

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