Each one of us have weaknesses. Uncontrollable rage, sexy Steve Madden’s or a congenital sweet tooth that doesn’t help those extra pounds. I also have one – I am a Television Addict- as much as I cannot study without TV.
When you have been a bright student all your life, most people like to assume that you don’t have a life beyond books. Oddly that doesn’t hold true for me. My connect with television dates back to the day when I spoke my very first word and that was a daily soap’s name. I have grown up watching television, narrating an episode to my mother while she looked at me startled and bemused that how her 5 year old remembers every dialogue with the exact emotion and expression. For the past 15 years, there has not been a show on Indian Television that I have missed.I can immerse myself into a show so deep that sometimes I ignore the fine line between fiction and reality. For instance I watched White Collar’s fourth season finale thrice to take note of junctures where Peter made mistakes and how he could have saved himself from getting arrested.
Most of you might think, what is wrong with watching television that I like to keep it to myself? Sadly Indian shows tend to have regressive plot lines and in school watching soap operas was considered tacky. So watching television became a clandestine affair.
While people switch on their televisions to kill time or take their minds off their lives I have not only seen shows but have also given them a deep thought. I am not dismissing the fact that majority of the shows on air have a very backward outlook but undeniably these are the shows that gross highest TRPs. Google Diya aur Bati Hum or Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai and you will understand my point. No matter how aggressively we advocate about women empowerment or caste/creed discrimination, people still hold on to their orthodox beliefs and customs.
I have a friend who firmly believes that one must always look at the bright side and drawing inspiration from that thought I would like to say that there have been some pretty amazing shows or some lovable characters in the not so good shows as well. Hip Hip Hurray which telecasted on Zee Tv showcased the lives of 11th standard school kids. I think the show was ahead of its time because school affairs, ragging, drugs or live in relationships were never talked about in Indian homes during the 90s. Left Right Left was another path breaking show about Indian Military aspirants (until of course they came up with a second season). Radha ki betiyan kuch kar dikhayegi was a delight to watch every Monday because at least in a single show 19-20 year old girls had ambitions for their lives apart from getting married. I have sincerely followed Chandragupta Maurya week after week because it was difficult for me to take my eyes off Manish Wadhwa who evoked life into Chanakya. I made a mental note of every word he uttered- it was pure wisdom. And for a very brief period, Balika Vadhu was a very well conceived and executed show.
Yes, television has landed me in a few embarrassing situations as well. At a very young age I pointed out to my mother that morning sickness is a symptom of pregnancy (Neena Gupta’s show Saans) or a wedding night authenticates a marriage (Zee Tv’s show Amanat).
On a parting note, here’s another little secret. Sometimes I had other reasons that kept me glued to the TV screen namely, Abhay Deol’s dimples, Vikas Khanna’s humbleness (and the way he pronounced Aalu), Osh Kosh Bagosh Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) or Sushant Singh Rajput’s O Re Piya performance in Jhalak Dikhla Jaa 4, all of which by the way make my heart waltz in air.