Being a couch potato

I do watch TV shows, either on the good old TV or viewing them online on hotstar, youtube and other apps. Is that so cringeworthy?

Recently, in a tweet chat by blogchatter about the 90s, I realised the first thing that many people remember are the TV shows like Chitrahaar, Mahabharat, Ramayan, Alif laila, Krishna by Ramanand Sagar, Byomkesh Bakshi, and many others that were popular few decades ago. Since there were not many channels, they had to include all categories into one channel. This meant that there were not much drama shows like today. In those days, it was okay to watch television as it was an entertainment medium. But now, when I say I watch Indian tv shows, people start mocking me, claiming that it’s useless to watch saas bahu serials all the time.

Everywhere I have seen people bashing homemakers or women at home, berating them of watching mindless stories and crying drama through television serials. How hypocritic it is to watch English films on Netflix or spending huge amount to watch films like Bahubali and other high budget films on theatres or watch 10-12 players running around a ball or tossing them out of stadium, when you look down at others who watch television. There are people who may cannot afford to go to theatres to watch these films or do not have the subscription of Netflix or access to movie websites, or neither have any interest in sports and news, and have to suffice with the entertainment provided by the television.

In my younger days, I too used to do the same, as there was very less outing as family or with friends to watch films in theatres. Our quota of movie came from the 4pm Sunday movies, or the film festival being aired on festivals, especially during Onam and Christmas. I remember watching Titanic Premiere during one of my Christmas holidays. I remember being called out to the kitchen exactly when the painting scene came too!!! Though, I realized it quite later why I was called away from the TV!

I also have seen children getting glued to the television even if they don’t understand anything being shown. So I do understand why people are concerned for their children being addictive to these. Women do follow these shows too when they are not preoccupied with something else. Some men says women are always plotting, crying, being sacrificing and many other things on these shows. But have you seen any familiarity in your own household too? It happens in real too but in a very subtle manner. Most of the women watch these shows just like how every one of us watch movies, knowing that they are fictional stories and understanding that the characters and actors are not the same. Just like people were hyped about why Kattappa killed Bahubali, or are excited about India winning T20, they are also enthusiastic about how the smart daughter navigates the new household. After a while, when our priorities change, or when we lose the interest in whatever being shown, we slowly divert our attention to some other productive things. And then after few weeks, some new show comes into picture, and we get attracted to it. The cycle repeats. The problem arises when we procastinate doing other important works and resort to TV to fuel our laziness. The same old problem of our childhood – whether to play or to study? Finding a resemblance?

I cannot tolerate the bashing of creative arts. I cannot ever think of writing long dialogues or stretching a given story to 5-8 years, or create a different love story from scratch. I myself have been drawn to the characters of the tv show, anticipating the twists and turns of the show or even trying to write out the next confrontation with dialogues and screenplay. What a creative muse it is.! Rewatching some scenes makes me aware of the nuances of scriptwriting. The second time I watch the same scene, I try to look into the mind of a writer, imagining how he/she foresaw the climax/ending and prepared the characters in the same way well in advance. Since many channels are now available equivalent to the one and only Doordarshan, the need to create more content arises. Hence maybe the quality of tv shows have come down. But will it not be unfair to the actors, writers, creative team, technicians and production workers, if we cannot appreciate the effort they put in to create these daily soaps. It’s an industry providing bread and butter to lots of people. But it’s a culture mindset that we tend to categorise such jobs to a lower strata of the society unless you become superstars overnight.

I have always been a sucker for stories., specifically those on relationships. It makes me think and sometimes overthink on the humanity and the complexities of the relations we formed on this earth. Culturally, it has helped me appreciate the diversity of Indian festivals. Living in the extreme south part of India, I came to know of teej, karvachauth, and Lohri festivals much before they got popular in apartment societies. If we could ignore the masala in the drama shows that can extend to weeks, we can know of the rituals performed in Bengali and punjabi weddings. Language wise, I was much ahead fluent in my Hindi compared to my other classmates at a very younger age.

So go on, chill with Netflix if you have a subscription, or maybe catch some repeat shows on TV for free this weekend, and maybe some old movies on love too…Shahrukh Khan?! Why not..? Its the perfect season to start binge watching!

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