April 05, 2005


Some kids are born with it!
Some kids acquire it!
Some never seem to catch it!
And I belong to the first category…
Yes, I am talking about the ‘couch potato’ syndrome… glued to the idiot box, watching what comes and waiting for the one about to!
Right from my childhood, I’ve been a TV addict. That is one of the main reasons why my parents refused to give me a cable connection. “Idhaye ippadi paakarai. Cable potta avlodhan- on padippu kettupoidum!” They used to tell me.
From baby hood, my eyes refused to shift focus from the colourful blinking thing; so much so that I demanded to see adimesan (my childhood blab for advertisements) and ‘oliyum oliyum’ if I had to eat.

Baby Sandhya grew up and still no one could shake off her TV addiction! Come on, old habits never die and one acquired in babyhood’ll take a looong time to give up! So whether it was ‘Shanthi’ where a deglamourised Mandira Bedi played the protagonist, to ‘Junoon’ whose Tamil dubbed dialogues are objects of ridicule even today, I went on to watch every damn thing Baird’s invention dished out in ‘Desh ka apna channel- DD’. I watched TV so much that my Hindi picked up three-fold this way- much more than what my teacher could produce!

A few tantrums and heart melt later; my parents gave cable connection for a month during my holidays. That whole month, I watched all the TV my grandparents would have watched all their life! Well, mostly I was glued to Sun Movies. Morning, noon and night, I was so jobless that I watched the same movies over and over again! Gowthami-Bhagyaraj’s ‘Rudra’ and Suhasini-Mohan-Radha-S.Ve.Shekhar’s amazing comical fare Gopurangal Saivadhillai- two movies I would have watched at least 10 times each! I can even remember the scenes well! I also watched Rajnikanth-Prabhu’s masterpiece ‘Guru-Shishyan’ a million times. The then Music channel ATN also used to be my hot-favourite as it reeled off one latest song after the other. Bliss exists, but not for long and the holidays came to an end just like the end of my month’s cable viewing!

At rare times, my TV used to pick up cable TV signals and I watched many a programme. Once I saw a whole movie- ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’ in this way. Star World’s ‘Crystal Maze’ on Sunday mornings at 7 am (I think), used to thrill me. I also watched The Flintstone kids show (can anyone tell me the name of the show?) sometimes also the Daffalympics (Am I right?). Such episodes are etched clearly in my mind!

We had to take a survey regarding TVviewing in our ninth and there was a column saying-“Hours of TV viewing per week”- I filled – 30 hours! The reason-DD2 suddenly decided to revamp itself and introduced ‘Golden Hours’ where one got to watch awesome shows from 7-11. I still feel that this was the best phase I my life. I had the dearest class teacher possible, with whom we girls used to enjoy. The subjects were interesting. I was enjoying life and well… Golden Hours filled my idling times. From ‘Hum tum ek Camere mein Bandh ho’ where very funny visuals were telecast to some extraordinarily good serials like ‘Patang’, ‘Kuchh Reth Kuchh Paani’, ‘Kavita’, ‘Nargis’, ‘Maan’, ‘Kabhie Sautan Kabhie Saheli’(well one exception to the good category. I swear I watched it only to drool over one of the actors!) And best of them- ‘Smriti’, I used to spend quality time watching TV. ‘Bol baby Bol’, ‘Superstars’ and one of the best ever programme- ‘Director’s cut’-which telecast telefilms of famous directors- also made me addicted.
Ah but DD dear is KNOWN to spoil all fun and well it did. All of a sudden due to the abrupt switching of DD’s super brains back to their age-old insanity after a brief spell of sanity (Refer to DD!!!-my previous post for further complaints regarding Doordarshan), my Golden Hours met their sunset.

So after endless cursing of Prasar Bharathi, I somehow accepted my sad state. But ah… can an incurably TV mad creature ever be able to reverse her life’s rules? No… NEVER! In came Shaktimaan, Chamatkar, Betaal Pachhisi and other programmes that dealt with the super-natural and extra-terrestrial. Also I watched the Sunday movie-mostly some ‘ancient’ Sivaji or MGR flick with an occasional Murali or T.Rajendar! Sadly, I watched them all. Never did the proverb, ‘Beggars can’t be choosers’ make more sense!

Highly placed officials in DD smelt my miniscule joy and decided to snuff it instantly. “How…How …HOW can a soul be satisfied watching OUR programme? No… this JUST can’t happen! Let’s cancel all programme or wait… better still, let’s re-telecast the same serial from scratch and bug our viewers.”
One another top brass official added,” Hey let’s play Buniyaad, Circus and other age old serials again. What say?”
“Yippee! Great idea!” they agreed.

After this scenario existed for a good half year, some new good serials came in (refer again to DD!!!) but were then cut for Tamil viewing public. And mind you, this included my only source to listen to latest Hindi songs- Chithrahaar. But Podhigai began telecasting one awesome live phone-in show- “BSNL Sports Quiz” conducted by the inimitable, affable and able genius Dr.Sumanth Raman.
NOW-my TV viewing is at an all time low! Old reliable Rangoli and BSNL Sports Quiz are the ONLY shows I watch-2 hours a week! Cricket matches and Friday-Saturday late night Hindi movies- if good- are the occasional entertainment I indulge in. If I am at home- I catch a few shows on architecture that the channel sometimes sensibly shows. Even NEWS makes for very rare viewing.

Strange, what studies and a sad entertainment in a channel can turn a TV addict into! I hang my head in grief these days when people talk of Indian Idols and Koffee with Karan and others!
I wonder if those good old days of bliss, glued to the TV set, with no care in mind will ever come again! No…I guess not. Sometimes I feel sad, but I know better, that these days, greater entertaining media are available. And if I had still been in front of my TV, watching some idiotic serial, how could I have ever written about it? : )
Ah… the poem ‘Jimmy Jet and His TV set’ plays in my mind…


Harish said...

un kaila set top box kudutha, kizhinjudhu!! :)

Vani Viswanathan said...

DD unakku oru loyalty award tharanum....andha kandraavi programsaiyum paathundu okkandhurka nee! yabbbadi!! poruma thaan unaku! tv paakama onnum aavadhu..idho naan iruken illa! ippo engaya poi inga sun tv paatha kushila gudhika kooda aramichuduven ;)

Vani Viswanathan said...
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