Nothing new here, right? We all have been party to the Idiot box and its mesmerizing hold that it has on people, their families and in many cases, full control over lives. There was a time when the Idiot Box or the Telly or the TV (to its real name), was a rarity in Indian houses.. Even in cities like Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta, if you had a television in your house, you were well off.. If you had a colour TV, when the entire society was on B&W, you definitely had relations abroad.
Of course the content at the time too was very simple and mediocre. One Channel. Regional language programmes in the morning, Delhi controlled News at night, with an All India viewership. Hindi or regional film on Sunday, the highlight of the week.. Sunday plans were based on Sunday movies!!
We lived in a world of Ads between the dead beat programmes, but now it is the Ads that people don’t want to see.. It is the continuation of the serial and what happens to the Mother In Law or the bad woman, or how people get screwed just when their life is about to be made..
It is why is the good woman always gets screwed, why are mother in laws so dominating, why does the clean guy the one who suffers the most, how come the bad guy continues to survive, despite all the planning, how could the grand kids be so cruel as to murder their old grand parents for a few thousand rupees..
I have tried to steer away from it, however as one lives in a joint family, where you have your parents, relatives watching some serial or the other, escaping from them is very difficult. Of course, one can just walk out, but then that is also considered rude. It is a democracy after all, and every one in the house does have a right to see what they wish.
Where it does amaze and upset is when all of the above is taken for real and non TV people start living their life thinking all about the characters. Why, when, how, why not.. the list is endless. Very soon we are dragged into their “personal TV lives” and we start losing our reality and start moving into a dream realm that we know does not exist and is fictional, yet we start living there. We are the Ram, the Bhoomi, the Jadgish, the Shyam, the Kishan, the Ayesha and who have you not. We start thinking on the serial and how we would want to turn it around and make sure the bad guys are screwed up and the good people start living their lives. Try calling some one during a key serial time. Half the people will not pick up the phone!
But then, that would be a drop in the TRP’s… Who the hell wants to watch a show where there are only good people. It is truly said, that Indian Television is probably the biggest generator of sadness, hatred and revenge related worlds through their soap operas. Sure you have a lot of the Western and the Arabic world soap operas where they have their own stuff, but we are masters in churning out depression and sadness on a daily basis. We would rather have people lost in some imaginary world and forget their real “pathetic lives” rather than to show them reality or for that matter, provide them with some relief of a lighter side of life?
Shows do state that the characters are fictional and hold no resemblances. Indeed most of them outside of the show, are normal people, some old mothers are no more than actors in their 30’s just doing a serial. However, how many take that as fact! The more our sad stories run, just proves that we truly are a depressed nation.
There may or may not be an ideal solution to this. Of course, one cannot live without the Idiot Box in totality, but neither should one also live with it in entirety. We do have good informative shows that are truly eye openers with a message, but how many really apply that message in the true sense, where it should be and where it should not. A fine line between reality and information is a must. As the world gets smaller through technology, it is imperative that we maintain our emotional balances.
As I recently overheard: If a Guy during at an IPL Match time, calls his girlfriend ,don’t leave him girl. He is one in a Million!!