I am amazed by the fact useless and frivolous serials on TV can actually capture the imagination of a certain section of society.I convey my views to my grandmother after her session with TV.
Every day when I come back home from work, I tend to get frustrated yet amazed. This duality in emotion is when you enter the house at 8 p.m. after a tough day at office.
These two emotions are not necessarily in equal measure, with the former winning over the latter. Whatever be the mix, both emotions are attributed to the same source: the eternal syndrome called soap opera, i.e., the television serial.
The first thing that frustrates me the most is the decibel level soap operas generate. In any south Indian household, the noise of these melodramatic serials exceeds sane levels from 6 p.m. and through till late in the night. It's not just the noise levels, I mean if you leave me in a room with ballistic rock music, that would at least be bearable. This type of noise is loud, it changes swiftly with varied levels of impact and it is accompanied by people yelling at the top of their voice. For a person who is just entering the house after a tough day at the office (courtesy the brilliant boss), this just riles him to the core. Leave alone the noise, what frustrates me is the sheer plot-less negativism these serials convey.
Take any mega-serial today. I can safely guarantee you that even if you come six months later without watching any episode in between, you still would have an idea of the sequences. A woman is being tortured by society and harassed by her “mother-in-law.” In some cases, a woman has an extra-marital affair. In between the tamasha among all the ladies are a bunch of jobless guys who are either drunk or are inept in the plot of the story. At the end of it, the tortured woman emerges victorious amid all obstacles posed by the other women around. The story doesn't have any novelty at all. It is neither factual nor does it merit your spending hours watching the serial for years.
The noise, the vigour, the crass language, the devilish women (rarely are there male villains) make one feel miserable at the end of the day creating a sense of negativism, with one getting so immersed in the story. Furthermore, the same negativism is reflected in the way housewives actually handle people at home. What else would you expect when you are engrossed in this garbage for half of your day?
Though I am frustrated by the sheer stupidity, negativism and noise explosion, I am also amazed. When I ask my grandmother why she is watching a serial, she says: “I watch it to pass time. This is just entertainment for me since I don't go outside.” While my macho self asserts itself with my youthful and articulate rhetoric, the other point of view actually hits me after some time. I do get amazed by the fact useless and frivolous serials (from my perspective) can actually capture the imagination of a certain section of society. It might be frivolous to me but for people who are at home all day long, this might be the only source of excitement.
The nasty sound might be their version of rock music. This might be the kind of humour they enjoy since they find the ridiculous nature actually funny. This might actually give them the excitement cricket gives me. This might actually be their version of Facebook, don't people of my generation waste hours on it? I actually feel that this might, just might, make some sense and that amazes me!
While I see the other side of the coin with amazement, I still am not convinced on two counts. The level of negativism that the stories overflow with bothers me a lot. It bothers me even more when people watch these soap operas so intently as if their “own” lives were involved.
I convey my views to my grandmother at night after her session with the TV. She nods her head and says, “I totally agree with what you say. You should also follow the same, take this lightly, and with a pinch of salt, and laugh it off.” She was probably spot on; probably, compromise is needed from both generations. After all, that would be the best way forward for an inclusive family that caters for everyone's needs.
(The writer's email id is: firstname.lastname@example.org)