Reading At the Edge, I was transported into my early school days. Those ads from yesteryears, those visuals….they are delightful and nostalgic. As a kid, I used to sing along all the ads.
Sunday mornings were devoted to Ramayan and Mahabharat. They were engaging and fascinating, especially for us kids because we did not know the stories of Indian mythology. It was our first brush with these great Indian epics. Of course, right now, owing to my fascination for Mahabharata, I have read several versions. I still don’t know and am not able to remember a lot of characters, but I know more than an average Joe! I used to be so upset, when the casting would appear and the programme would end, because then you would have to wait an entire week for the next episode. Those were the days when there would be ads before and after the programmes, never in-between. Now look at the idiot box today, there are daily soaps dime-a-dozen, which are repeated twice or thrice during the course of the day. There are atleast 2-3 breaks in-between the programmes, so that you can do channel hopping and watch multiple serials at one time. I just hate watching movies on TV with others. I hate surfing channels when there’s a good movie on, because invariably, somebody gets interested in another programme and then begins the continuous surfing and watching 2 programmes at one time. I just hate it! It just ruins the impact of a good movie.
Schools used to be from Monday till Saturday. Sunday would be a free, relaxing day. In those days, kids were free to do whatever we want to, no rushing for tennis classes or dance classes or any such classes. Invariably, the breakfast would be Upma or Idli / Dosa. You would get up to the grinding sounds of mixer, huffing / puffing / grinding the rice batter for Idli / Dosa! No such hassles now though. Idli batters are available ready-made on the kirana store next door!
Sunday afternoons will invariably be dedicated for delicious chicken cooked by mum, and afternoon siesta. Doordarshan would play regional language movies. Now I realise those were Award winning, great movies but at that age I never could appreciate the dark (read art) movies. I also regret not giving enough attention to ‘Discovery of India’. I would fall asleep watching it. I also remember trying to watch a movie (can’t remember the name right now) which had Shabana Azmi, Roopa Ganguly and few others. It started on a rainy day and ends on the same or some other rainy day. It never made any sense to me.
Those were the days when our lives would not revolve around TV, we kids would actually play in the evenings, which I rarely see with kids these days. If I had to grow up in this age, I don’t know what kind of childhood I would have got. I would have been spoilt for choices.
After coming back from school, we would take lunch. Though my brother would conveniently pass on his bag to me and go for playing football. He knew he would get bashing after coming back but he did not mind as long as he had fun! I would also make a ‘bechari’ face after carrying 2 bags, and try to increase his punishment for making me do it. You cannot win from an elder brother, we had enough fights for me to understand this, but you can certainly work your ‘little sister’ tag well to make up for the bullying he did to you to get some thrashing from mum-dad ;-) Sorry brother! But I was the ‘good’ one, and he was the ‘naughty’ one. I would listen wide eyed to his made-up stories, and he would make me laugh hysterically, which would prompt my dad to scold me for complaining later on getting thrashed by my brother! But I would always, always vouch for an elder brother. It is comforting, and fun!
So, where was I? Afternoons were meant for siestas, and we were supposed to go out for playing only after 4pm. Of course, many times I would sneak out even before that. I was supposed to be back before sunset. But those times were fun – running, cycling, playing! The entire neighbourhood would come alive with the laughter of children.
Cable channels, initially meant the local channels which would play new movies. Then we had Zee TV. I used to love ‘Farman’ on Doordarshan; and ‘Campus’ on Zee TV – may be they were on air during different time periods but those are the memories of my school days. My mum never let me watch ‘Banegi Apni Baat’ and ‘Hip Hip Hurray’ because she felt they promoted too much of metro culture. Whatever! I was also hooked to ‘I dream of Jeanie’, ‘Bewitched’ and ‘Small Wonder’.
TV should not rule our lives. I see it happening increasingly these days. They are always on. One of the things I nag my husband about is, unsubscribing Tata Sky. I hate the persistent noise of TV in my home. TV has certainly come to invade our personal space. There is always so much time in a day, but we still keep complaining about not having enough time because we waste a lot of time sitting unblinkingly in front of the TV. I completely disapprove of it. I consciously avoid wasting my time on idiot box. I only like to catch good movies on TV, or watch FRIENDS while I am doing something like cooking or making collage or reading a magazine etc. I will never only watch TV. People argue that atleast for News we should watch TV. I think, the kind of news they keep on ranting about is anyways worthless. Nobody really watches much TV at my home, but whenever somebody visits – my parents or his – it is always spent more on following the serials and less on talking amongst us.
Perhaps, in the earlier days, we were much better because TV was in moderation. There were 2-3 good programmes in a week. With so much of choice in everything, I don’t know where are we going!