Monday, July 13, 2009

Indian Television Syndrome

1. You wake up in the middle of the night looking impeccable.
You're in your best sari and coordinated jewelery. Dark circles is a word unknown to your skin vocab. Your hair, oh your long dark hair is still straight, sometimes with little symmetrical waves at the very end.

2. You're a woman in one of 3 profiles:
(a) The innocent, very nubile, fair maiden loved by her parents, and ready to be married off to the handsome, richish person from a good khaandan. To become paraaya dhan only after kundlis have matched of course.
(b) The hardened housewife, facing angst in her new home. Keeping a brave face and sacrificing your own desires for the man you love/ his siblings/ your in laws. The glue that holds the khaandaan together in the face of the great calamities that befall the average Indian household on a daily basis. Later to turn into benign and benevolent mother in law to sample (a) above.
(c) The evil vixen type aunty whose eyes gleam with glee at the suffering she has managed to bring upon those she resents the most. Generally tends to wear heavier make up than (a) and (b).

3. Parampara (tradition) is very important to you:
What has been done for centuries is obviously the right thing for your precious household. The women are the bearers of the burden that is family honor. The men sit back, relax and eat the delicious food that is first served up by the mother, later by the gharelu wife. Women can work and all that, but only after they've done everything the in laws, siblings and other assorted relatives need. No compromises there.

Women will unequivocaly blend into the new family and like a pre programmed robot, forget about the family they lived with all these years, then proceed to autogenerate feelings of love for the in laws she only just met today.

Women will observe reeti rivaaz with utmost dedication - karva chauth for the long life of their husbands, adopt the family surname as their own and give the family *good news* within a year of the wedding.

If by any chance the woman in question cannot conceive, she will either be shunned to a life of misery and finger pointing or sent back to her parents home (much wailing and crying at this announcement).

Any arguments against the above, especially logical, will be countered with mentions of Indian Culture (TM). You will be led round and round with well rehearsed arguments such as this until you are too confused to remember what you're original point was. You will then be stuffed with lots of delicious food (after all, mehmaan is like bhagwaan) and sent home.


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I've watched too much Star Plus in the last 2 days and I'm reeling from the utter nonsense TV continues to spew in the name of entertainment. Really, it's depressing to see how channels are only regressing further into the past instead of encouraging people to pursue rational thought.

No wonder you still have single men on Star Vivaah (the TV version of shaadi.com) making demands for a pretty, fair, slim girl who will blend into their family and cook well while the women are asking for partners who will double up as friends and understand and support their careers. What a strange collision of expectations!

Is it just me, or were we better off in the 80's with television serials like Nukkad, Rajni and Byomkesh Bakshi?

10 comments:

Mumbai Diva said...

Much better off then. The lack of mad competition for TRPs ensured that we got good stories and amazing content. Now it is one mad, idiotic nonsense after another. Reality TV is even more irritating. I caught one new show where 20 something boys were dancing in their underwear and some girls had to rate them. It was beyond disgusting.

unpredictable said...

Mumbai Diva: Yeah I agree. It was actually fun watching Dekh Bhai Dekh and Zabaan Sambhaalke. Same for Star Bestsellers etc.

How could TV programming only have gotten worse when minds are supposed to be progressing?

Bj said...

Er..slight generalisation there...i guess the hindi channels are like that but from what I remember seeing on the tamil channels, it's almost the opposite..most shows there are female corporate honcho centric..of course, the essentials like cooking etc are still done by women, albeit of the previous generation while the main protagonist runs a business or fights with a bad male villain..

mespacehere said...

The serial themes have become so tediously repetitious and absurd :(

I second you. How could TV programming only have gotten worse when minds are supposed to be progressing?

unpredictable said...

BJ: I am of course referring to the only TV I've grown up watching in Bombay - i.e. Hindi serials. Sounds like Tamil TV is moving in the right direction, I wonder when the Sony's and Star pluses will reapply.

Though my larger point was, in a time when everyone is supp to be moving fwd, what are these serial makers pushing us further behind?

Mespacehere: Sigh. Alas.

TW said...

w.r.t Tamil soaps. Gawd! they suck too even tho as BJ pointed out, they seem to be more matriacrchially centric.. but they are all bledy sob stories.. I haven't seen ONE with a happy story line :O

in general, Darling, they all suck but still better than American TV shows like "Real Housewives of XX county" or "Desperate Housewifes" and ofcourse the quinessential "The bold and the beautiful" or "Days of our lives" !!! How sad is that??!!! :OOO

Mogambo said...

I love tamizh/hindi serials because:
1)Every time I make it back home, I can pick up *exactly* where I left off a year ago. How you can not love such a wonder?
2)They always ask you to "go inside/upstairs and rest" after flagellation, self or otherwise. Here, I have to drag myself back to work after the daily round.
3)It will make all evil m(s)-i-l realize that they better be good or else their d(s)-i-l (and/or) grandkid(s) will start this megasuperduperbig conglomerate and pwn them. Oh yes they will.

And like such as.

So many good things and you choose to see only the bad. Why, say?

santosh said...

its not just the serials, but if you look at the early morning programmes...it starts off with astrology and adverts for various gems and rings to ward off the "shani effects".

In a sense its all very logical. We are only supposed to be consumers, with the "freedom" to buy pepsodent or colgate. So we are not supposed to think of anything that is happening in the real world.

Quirky Quill said...

Catch Ladies Special on Sony. all profiles you mentioned in the post are absent :)

Anonymous said...

The reason the programming is much worse IMHO is that TV is now watched by a lot more lower middle class and lower class families. To cater to this (huge)market, the most senseless soaps are made. 'News' channels have also become like entertainment channels coz of this!