At dinner time, the kitchen gets shifted to the hall. The dishes are brought one by one by the family members to the hall lest the all-important episode be missed. Can you afford to miss the nuances of the dialogue or the twists and turns?

Ambika is a house-maker. Getting up early in the morning, she is busy cooking food and preparing to send her two children to school. After they and her husband leave the house, she becomes comparatively free. She does not have much of a domestic chore. Besides, her maidservant takes care of the domestic work.

Ambika thus seeks the company of TV to while away the time. Not interested either in sports or science, her only choice is the serial story that is usually telecast everyday — during the day and in the evening.

What started off as entertainment for Ambika has become a compelling passion now. The obsession to watch the serials, not just one, extends from noon to night. The mega serials have captured her imagination, forcing her to watch them without a break, even disturbing the rhythm and pattern of domestic life.

As she is engrossed in the drama or melodrama of the serial, the whistle from the cooker indicating that the rice is fully cooked escapes her ears. She suddenly remembers the kitchen during ad intervals.

Ambika is not the only mother who is trapped by the serial-mania. There are Ambikas in almost all houses for whom the dramas have a magnetic pull. Even grandmas are no exception. They cannot afford to skip seeing the serial, never mind missing a social call or function.

Come evening, the husband returns from office. The wife smiles at him, but the ears are glued to the TV set. The poor chap dare not disturb the wife out of affection, or fearing a haughty retort as the case may be. He goes about his chores quietly and joins the wife for the sake of politeness in the drawing room.

At dinner time, the kitchen gets shifted to the hall. The dishes are brought one by one by the family members to the hall lest the all-important episode be missed. Can you afford to miss the nuances of the dialogue or the twists and turns of the events? Never mind the mess in the hall, the cleaning can wait.

Guests are not welcome to visit Ambika during the serial time. But if they do come, they will be received with the face creasing with irritation, if not annoyance.

There was a time when families went to a movie to have a break from monotony. TVs were not in vogue. It was once or twice a month. But today, everyday is a day for entertainment. No day passes now without families seeing TV telecasts for a minimum of two hours.

Granted the vice-like grip of the serials, do they widen the knowledge of our children? Are the serials airing programmes useful for their education and career? Even if they are aired, do they interest the whole family?

It is a shame that the so-called mega serials are made up of scenes full of treachery, deceit and violence. Extra-marital affairs, cheating on spouses, conspiring against people, resorting to divorce on flimsy grounds, taking revenge for wrongful causes and children indulging in unlawful activities are an invariable part of the plots. What kind of an impact will they have on the mind of the children of Ambika, leave alone her and her husband?

When the cinemas have to get a certificate from the censor board, the serials do not seem to be fettered by any. When will parents like Ambika realise their duty to their children? Will it happen in the near future?

Let us wish better sense prevails on both producers and viewers.

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