I found headphones (this also implies earphones) very amusing. Why would man come up with yet another useless product that essentially miniaturized speakers far enough to make them as small as or smaller than the ear? Why would some selfish creature keep his music to himself and not share it with the world? Why would someone like wires to seemingly jut out of his head. Why would someone bother to carry the weight of a silly contraption over his head? Wanna look geeky perhaps, hmmm?
I somewhat tested the waters when I chanced upon a cheap earphone costing just Rs.5. Though a 1-ear experience hardly suffices, it was more than enough for what my begged money could buy. I found it amazing that I could finally listen to music and float around in my imaginary world without bothering didi studying next to me. So headphones aren’t entirely useless, I thought. I was far from convinced though.
How amazing a conventional pair of headphones could possibly sound was yet another serendipity. I had two transistor radios under my ephemeral possession. Tinkering with them once, I tuned into the same radio station and placed myself between them. The aural experience was wonderfully spacial. That was it, I had to defect to the other side and try a pair of headphones myself.
That’s how I ended up buying my first pair of ‘conventional’ headphones, costing me all of Rs.40. There was only one problem: the jack had a stereo pin, while our Aiwa cassette player was mono. Sound was emanating from just one side. In popped Ghosh Babu, dad’s trusted audiophile. He replaced the stereo jack for a mono and my aural world was restored.
Since then, I’ve had affairs with innumerable headphones as technology marched in leaps and bounds. Mono gave way to stereo, cassette to CD, raw to compressed and localized to networked. My newest pair arrived today. Its noise-cancellation is so effective, I can’t hear anything extraneous as I listen to a violin sonata by Bela Bartok in FLAC.
Addendum: This has been my first ‘long’ post in, what feels like, more than a century. I feel all revved up now! Glaring fissures remain, but I’m healing. Blogging is therapeutic, I’m convinced.