Television Watching : How I am beginning to sound old at 30

My husband jokingly asked my two year old daughter to suggest a topic starting from T for me, and she immediately said TV. Dont know how she jumped to the topic, though she hardly watches TV. So even though I have hardly watched TV for quite a few years, let me write briefly about it.

For quite some time now, the laptop has replaced the TV in my life. It is not that I no longer watch movies or stuff, but whatever I watch I see on the computer, which gives me far more freedom and flexibility.

But TV still retains its charm, mainly from the memories. I am still from the generation which remembers a time when only Doordarshan was on air. Programmes to watch were few, there was no choice. But it had something which current programmes dont have. It was special, something to look forward to. These days there are so many things on, that there really is no mental space to look forward to other things. 

For instance, Ramayana and subsequently Mahabharata were national rages in the country. For me, they were something which defined why a day was sunday. It was characterized by sleeping late, oiling and washing your hair and watching these serials. The fact that I knew very little Hindi and could barely understand a word which was being said was quite immaterial.

Again serial watching was different. That was not the era of 24 hour , seven day soaps. There were some serials on offer, in Hindi and in the regional language Kannada. I have vague memories of some of those kannada serials. But I do remember that they actually seemed far more progressive and thought provoking than most of the soaps (in any language) which are being telecast now. Maybe because they were weekly affairs, the director and crew actually put some thought into giving it good shape, rather than just filling up time.

Today, much of what I get to see on TV is mindnumbingly tedious, and I have made an active decision not to watch it at all. I think at some level I have already gotten influenced by the flexibility, freedom and active engagement which an online experiece provides and TV and passive consumption seem to be poor substitutes. I dont even follow cricket matches on TV anymore, preferring the ubiqitious but in its own way engaging ball by ball commentary on websites.

In my (still young) life, perhaps nothing has changed as dramatically as TV, since the advent of satellite television. And when I see my neice constantly hooked to TV during her holidays, for the first time in my life, I am behaving like a old fogey, fondly remembering those days, when there wasn’t so much TV to be hooked on to.

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