4.21.2007

Whatever you'd call it

The action starts around five o’clock in the evening. The whole street becomes resonant with a single jingle that seems to enrapture the residents into staying inside the house. A quivery, baritone voice begins its highly sentimental recital, threatening to move the audience to tears by weaving sad, wailing words into the song.

Ladies and gentlemen, what you had just heard was the title song of the worthless yet alarmingly popular soaps (or "TV-serials") we have today. Marking the beginning of a full half-hour performance by some very talented actors and actresses in town, it warms up the spectators into the verge of tears while instilling in them the seed of anticipation of what would follow after the previous day’s incidents.

Real life is easily forgotten as the viewers merge into the melancholy, repulsive and extremely domestic scenes happening one after the other. Youngsters learn all facts of life from this trash which takes place everyday. The heroine is on a high off glycerine and the villains are ruthless figures who live, eat and breathe only one word – revenge. (One such villain had to flee an entire state because he was constantly attacked by persons on the street as punishment for the crimes he did on TV). Old women draw examples for life from the characters in the serials, swear by them and even cite dialogues from them. A few observations:

1)The name (of the show) is invariably that of a female.
2)Something in every episode makes you think that the director gets his bread and butter from tugging people’s heartstrings.
3)After a few minutes you engage yourself in better, less boring activities such as finding the exact angle between the thumb and forefinger in order to effectively pick your nose, or determining whether the cat on the wall far away is sleeping or just pretending to.
4- or was it 5?)The surprise is when you discover that the commercials are five minutes long.
watever)At the end, you sit up and feel yourself all over, rub your eyes and say “What the heck”

The bedlam continues long into the night...

The idiot-box is finally switched off after much hesitation and the people experience an awful empty feeling (as if they had pulled the plug on a loved one). They wipe their eyes and shuffle off to their chores, their minds preoccupied with sympathy towards the woman who was deserted by her drunken husband or the she-devil 'villainess' at whose deeds they had clenched their fingers barely a few minutes back.

Disclaimer: I dunno what is the case of other parts of India, but this is based on my observations in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Sometime ago there was an ad in a local magazine featuring a computer with a TV-Tuner card. The ad showed a mouse (the digital variety) in tears… with a footnote – “Now you can watch 'serials' in your computer”. Well. That just about sums it up.

Sad... but true.

9 comments:

Macabreday said...

he he...well said...i remember when i was in kerala, I could never get my hands on the tv remote before 10:30 pm......that was when all the soaps and "comedy time" would end... my ammachy just would not let go of the remote....
and hey....is that serial sthree still playing? ha ha...what a sensation it was when it first started.

The Smokin' WDM2 said...

@mac: yes that bloody thing is till running!

Sneha said...

haha. so true. they spread so much negative energy through these preposterously non-sensican soaps. the pity is that people actually consider it worth their time to watch this crap! have they not heard of History Channel, NatGeo, Travel & Living and soooo many other channels which air worthwhile shows? sigh. the best we can do is wean whoever we can off these shows and avoid them like the plague!

StandbyMind said...

Well in this case..I am very sure that I am the Luckiest Guy around man...No serials in my home..never ever..My Mom doesnt watch this shit at all..
all hail ma mom!!!

:)

The Smokin' WDM2 said...

@sneha.. those are my fav channels too! include VH1 also:)

@standbymind: evn my mom doesnt watch the shit(hail ma mom:) byt granny does :|

The Blue Indian said...

er..There is no reference anywhere whether you are referring to the southie soaps or the ones of hindi kind, all starting with "K" and made by some maniac lady going by the name Ekta Kapoor!
But I guess, the situation is equally 'grim' everywhere!!

And yes, even I am lucky to have "no-soap-watching" mom (or anyone for that matter!!)

@Sneha
Forget about NatGeo or History Channel, even Pogo and Cartoon Network is much better than this Krap!

The Smokin' WDM2 said...

@blue-indian: ok so the stupid soaps dont stop with the south...

Nitin SJ Narayanan said...

well....i'm lucky though....


my mom hates soaps....


and i hate em too....especially the ones with the bahu and stuff like that....


anyways...watch some clint eastwood films by that time...and did you know i get tears when i'm sleeping....and thats definetly not because of the TV..!!

Sidhusaaheb said...

You have very aptly described a scourge that has descended upon this country.

I think the soap-operas or 'serials' should come with a statutory warning, like the one on cigarette packs!