TODAY -

My Robot - Giant Robot

Tarun Nongthombam *

My Robot - Giant Robot
- Our beloved Giant robot -



Growing up in late seventies and early eighties was bliss. As a child, we were enthralled by keku-lotpi but sometimes mayep-khongba tamo would visit our leikei. His visit could be in a marriage or an evening sumang-lela and the song Bombay-methai, a must play for any event. We would sit beside his gramophone and were elated to see the HMV's logo of a dog looking at gramophone's horn move in circles.

Our leikai was fortunate of having people who worked in Victory and Pratap talkies. Once in a while they brought projector from the hall at night and showed films for the leikei and we strangely called it as touring. But interesting thing was, they showed only one picture most of the time and that was "Roti Kapra or Makan". If you have seen swades picture of sarukh khan, you can imagine what we did. The only difference was we all took one morah each from our houses.

But the big change in our lives was the introduction of television with the coming of Asian Games-1982. The first television set which I saw was on the first floor of a building in Moreh market now Paona international market near keishampat. I joined the crowd, which had swelled up on the road; all were trying to catch a glimpse of the magic box and we all saw it through the window of the building. Some tried to get on higher ground by bringing cycle rickshaw and climbing on it to get a better view.

As our family could afford a Television set only in 90s, my entire TV watching as a child was at our neighbor's house. The show which made a lasting impression to all the kids of that generation was a science fiction serial telecast by Doordarshan called Johnny Sokko and his flying robot or we simply called it as GIANT ROBOT. It was about a child called Johnny and his flying robot with a head that resembled sphinx.

It was originally a Japanese serial made in 60s but latter dubbed for the American Audience. Our good old Doordarshan broadcast that in early 80s once in a week, every wednesday evening if I remember correctly. We had only one national channel to watch and it was a super hit with kids' and grown up.

Johnny was a member of a secret peace keeping organization called Unicorn. He commanded the giant robot from his wristwatch by saying "Come on Giant Robot" and gave instructions which the robot obediently followed. The giant robot would fly; fire rockets from his fingers and rays from his eyes. They together fought against the evil Gargoyle gang.

Another joyous thing we did in dark was to chase tandan and see with amazement how it glowed amidst the yelling of our parents. During those days, power supply was very dim. All say it came from Assam so it was dim rightly or wrongly. It was regular and not like pathetic power condition we have today but there was always a risk of going off.

Once power went off just before the start of the serial. As a kid it was a long wait of a week to watch the giant robot and missing it was a terrible feeling. With no inverter and portable generators, the only chance to know what happened with the giant robot was on the next day in school with friends who were fortunate to watch. We could only hear the story with our jaw dropped and cursed ourselves of what we missed.

All the kids of that generation are now in late thirties or early forties and have matured to a young father or a mother. Present kids with their colorful power rangers might say "GIANT ROBOT? What a funny looking robot!" but for all of us who have grown up in those days, it was our only robot, our beloved robot, our giant robot.


* Tarun Nongthombam contributes regularly to e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at nong_tarun(at)rediffmail(dot)com
This article was posted on March 04, 2012.



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