Manmeet Singh Gill
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, October 17
The present-day ‘digital natives’, equipped with i-pods, internet and countless mobile apps for music, might find it strange and difficult to grasp that Raju Arora, owner of Mani Music Palace near Pipli Sahib Gurdwara in Putlighar area, still sells cassettes or tapes.
At a time when cassettes’ successor music CD (compact disc) too has become extinct, Arora is perhaps the only person having a shop dedicated to old music paraphernalia. The demand for cassettes has gone down after the popularity of CDs in the 21st century.
For some years, the music companies continued to produce cassettes along with CDs. However, with the internet taking over, the sale of CDs too diminished. It was around 2014, the music companies altogether stopped producing cassettes.
But old customers still visit Arora’s shop for buying cassettes. “Just this morning I received a message from one of my old customers residing in the US. He has sent a list of 41 cassettes. I have 27 of them in the shop,” said Raju.
“Earlier this week, a person from New Amritsar came looking for a CD of Naseeb Apna Apna (an old Hindi movie). Then there was a customer who purchased a set of seven cassettes,” said Arora, adding that almost every day someone comes looking for old cassettes or CDs.
With change in times and preferences of music lovers, Arora’s profits too have come down but to stay afloat he has diversified and opened a ready-made garments shop. Raju also owns Saral Audio and Video Recording company, a firm named after his son Saral Arora.
“The happiness which I see on the faces of music lovers when they find an old cassette which they had been looking for years encourages me to continue in the business. Some of them are ready to pay anything for an old cassette but I always charge them what is just,” he adds.
Arora had opened the shop on October 19, 1990. “Before opening the shop I learned the business from my paternal uncles — Narinder Thukral and Brij Mohan Thukral — who owned TMC cassette company,” he revealed.
Talking about the change in times, Arora said, “Most of the kids these days do not even know what a Walkman, Tape recorder (player) or a deck is? They would find cassettes outdated. But those who had got a cassette of selected songs recorded and gifted it to their loved ones would still travel all the way to Putlighar to visit the shop and meet Raju Arora.” He boasted that in those days orders for cassette recordings from youngsters were so huge that he would ask them to collect the cassette after three days.
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