Trampling the Idiot Box Revolution #MondayMusings
There was a time in my childhood when I grappled seriously with the disease called TV. On off days and in holidays, me and my brother immediately after waking up in the morning used to switch on the TV first thing and would sit in front of it. This got followed by bomb shells exploding on us from another corner of the house. No, I did not live in a war zone. The bomb shells were actually my father’s stern reprimands which caused us shudders making us switch off the TV hastily and we would eagerly wait for him to leave for office.
In those days, I used to religiously watch all the Top 10 songs programmes as if those numbers were critically important, even more than the maths’ numerical and geometrical problems which made a tangential incline against my round head. At this, Papa would wonder and ask me what value addition I was creating for myself watching the same songs over and over again, albeit on different numbers and on different channels.
Then came the biggest thud without the sound effects. After all who were we, being the grief stricken meek innocents, to lend the sound effects to the event when the cablewallah was called to disconnect the cable connection at our parents’ behest? With tearless eyes, shut lips but pained hearts, we bid goodbye, forever, to the long cable wire which we were so used to see dangling from the street light pole in front of our house finding its way inside, all the way to our TV set. I was the first hand witness of the fading glorious days of our TV set because it never ever lighted up like the good old golden days.
Same was the case with husband’s home too but atleast his parents used to get the cable connection re-installed during the summer vacations.
Moving ahead in time. Year 2015-16.
Both set of parents have become old and grandparents. Getting old and retired from their respective jobs means they pass most of their time watching TV. My parents are obsessed about news – any news, same news, local news, national news, international news, news debates. My in-laws’ obsession lies with satsangs and bhagwad kathas (holy discourses by saints) during the day and daily soaps in the evenings. In the daily soaps, women rule the roost. They run the show, they are the ones scheming and conniving and they are also the Devi ones, the epitome of tolerance, sacrifice and goodness. Whereas in the satsangs, the holy gurus & the preachers can be seen and heard preaching to the ladies – ‘tumhare jeevan ka param kartavya apne pati aur saas-sasur ki sewa karna hai. Isi main tumhara udhaar hai’ (The primary duty of your existence is to serve your husband and his parents.) When these lines fell upon my ears, my first thoughts were – ‘so much for parity’. How ironic?
Dhruv and I have been living alone ever since husband left the Indian shores to work in UK in October. Living alone, I have the reins completely in my hand and I love it especially regulating the TV watching time at home. If I would have had a complete say, we would not have bought the TV in the first place when we were settling in Bangalore a year ago.
Living alone also results in loving and caring grandparents visiting and staying with us. First my parents visited us in December staying with us for 2 months and then came in-laws who stayed with us for 10 days. This led to the creation of TV revolution in Dhruv’s life on the same lines which he experiences on visiting their homes. This time the revolution was occurring on his home turf and it called for celebration.
This reminds me, this year the T20 cricket world cup is taking place in India and I am having the pleasure of not getting to watch it with husband missing from home.
Well. Yes okay, the TV revolution.
Thus, Dhruv became aware of the names of all the news channels (Hindi and English) and began rating the speakers in news debates – “Ye wala achha bol raha hai, wo wala bahut achha nahin bol raha hai” (This one is speaking well, that one is not speaking too well). In one news capsule, which for some/no reason ran for an hour, he saw a woman gave birth (not the actual process, though) in a train’s toilet and the new born baby slipped out on to the tracks. He was later found by the railway guards, miraculously hale and hearty. Watching this, the conversation followed –
Dhruv – Mummy, which train was I born in?
Me – You were born in a hospital and not in a train. Hospital is the place where babies are born.
Dhruv – Achha to kya jab main paida hua tha to koi news bani this kya? (Okay, did it become a news when I was born?)
When I told him his birth was a big news for us as family but not for the news channel. And then he wanted to know why not?
During those days, murders, rapes and scandals kept the idiot box blaring the entire day which stopped only with my intervention. The beauty about staying with one’s parents if you point out the discrepancies, they can see the different perspective. Therefore, both mummy and papa moved to their respective smartphones for their unlimited news updates. What happened next is going to be a matter for another post.
With in-laws, I found Dhruv improving his concentration skills since he was pressing his brains hard to assess and analyze who was the good girl in the serials and who was the bad one. The plot in one of the prime time serial revolved around a scary looking, absent mindedly laughing witch and how the the protagonist was fighting her out. This scared Dhruv terribly. He flipped the remote changing channels and accidentally discovered Doraemon, hitherto unknown to him. Now Nobita’s problem is same as Dhruv’s – homework, thus he became Dhruv’s best buddy. Doraemon, thereafter, hijacked the evening TV viewing slots leaving the serials’ audience anxious and waiting for the daytime to catch up on their shows with Dhruv away in school.
The grandparents have left now. With them, Dhruv learnt the art of changing channels by himself, another step forward in becoming self-reliant giving two-cents to my regulation.
On Saturday evening, I was waiting to watch a show on Nat Geo and the channel’s signal went off, bang on time. I gave a complaining sigh and he consoled me – “Never mind. If Nat Geo is not coming then we can watch Star Plus.” Staying positive, not losing hope and exploring alternatives are in his genes, passed on from me. My answer to his positive note was “It would be better to switch off the TV then to reach a point where we are forced to watch Star Plus serials.”
On Sunday, when all my efforts to get the TV shut up after hours of watching failed to create favourable results, the cable TV digital card was nabbed from the set top box and grounded. For the next 20 days, we are going to spend time without the idiot box.
What a relief I foresee!
Linking this post to #MondayMusings hosted by Corinne Rodrigue