We do realise we have a choice regarding what we watch on TV, right?

I could have put a more catchy title, the one that entices the reader into clicking it the moment he sees it. I desisted from it because ‘de-sensationalisation’ is the topic of this post.

As far as I remember, it all started with Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki. (You know what.)

In 90s, TV serials like Hum Paanch, Dekh Bhai Dekh, Hasratein, Junoon, Shanti were popular. They were a mix of comedy and drama. I remember watching Junoon with intrigue, though I had no clue what was going on. Serials in the 90s had a defined genre and each channel (as far as I remember the popular ones were DD, Zee, Sony, Home TV, Star) showed a mix of each genre.

The drama serials like Saans, Saara Aakash had a central theme and refrained from over-dramatisation – the famous thappad scenes from Ekta Kapoor’s serials or slow motions weren’t used then. Background music served to help immerse the viewer in the scene, not to agitate his very core and raise heartbeats for an outlandish scene unfolding on the screen.

You might notice I use ‘he’ for the viewer. A majority of serial viewers are ‘she’ then and now. I use ‘he’ because it is my writing style. However, it is a fact that in the 90s, at least the males in the house sometimes watched these soaps. Now, the Saas-Bahu and other supernatural sagas are so over-the-top that they seem to cater to only the women folk in the house. Don’t get me wrong, I am not stereotyping by saying that women love these garish soaps and men are more mature in their preference of TV serials. What I want to say is – most men have opted out when they found that the soaps are not of their taste, while the women have unwittingly adapted to watching whatever the telly throws at them. That said, there are still men who enjoy the present day soaps. To each his own, eh?

Yes, to each his own. Till they leave what they watch on screen and flip back to real life. What I see happening is – under the pretext of harmless indulgence, the ‘watchers’ of these serials are taking ‘lessons’ from them and implementing them in real life. The ‘middle-class’ that once prided itself on being educated and above the lowly family drama happening in the lives of the uneducated, is now relishing the added spice in their lives by replicating the drama happening in similar educated middle-class families’ lives on screen. If you know what kind of soaps are being shown on the TV these days, you might understand where I am coming from. You might also see that I am beating around the bush by not pinpointing the exact strains these serials are creating within the key relationships in households.

Compare an out and out Saas-Bahu drama with Tu-Tu Main-Main. Which one would you rather watch? If we don’t have a Tu-Tu Main-Main now, why are we lamely accepting the Saas-Bahu drama being telecast in its slot? Why don’t we switch to Discovery or National Geographic instead? Or why don’t we simply switch off the TV?!

That brings me to comedy. Point me to a good Hindi comedy show, and I’ll take this whole article back. Taarak Mehta was good when it started. Now it has become a caricature of itself. (Oh it was a caricature from the start? Well, I agree. Read the original Taarak Mehta to know the actual wit of the author.) Kapil Sharma Show is hideous. Yes, hideous. It tries bringing Omar Sherif’s ‘Bakra Kishton Pe’ flavour, by showing unnecessary and cliched husband-wife exchanges but doesn’t realise that the time when such jokes were socially acceptable is passé. Well, how do I blame them? When viewers are lapping up the trashy comedy, who am I to say that it is unacceptable?

I have more to say on this subject. I stop here, to return to it with more organised thoughts. Till then, hope you find something good and worthwhile to watch on the telly. Otherwise, you’ll be lending credence to its much popularised and undeserved nickname – The Idiot Box.

As for me, I find solace in YouTubing the shows that I like.



Of burning bridges

I logged in to Twitter today after a self-imposed long-weekend long hiatus, only to find it buzzing with reactions over Housing.com CEO Rahul Yadav’s resignation letter.

Yes, it was not the resignation which garnered surprise and shock; it was the letter!

I had not heard of Rahul Yadav before today. Although I knew that Housing.com had been started by IITians and had even participated in their marketing campaign through my blog. I dug up some articles on him. One of them – this – was written just before his resignation.

Read more on LinkedIn.

Are there second chances in life?

This post is sparked by Anita’s post with the same title.(I suggest reading it first. )

My straight forward answer is No.

If I leave it at that, chances are – I might be perceived as cynical. Not that I am not. I can be very cynical at times (never pessimistic though). In this case, I am not.

Time keeps moving and you cannot return to a phase or moment when you would have wanted to do something.

Suppose you wanted to learn piano at 12, and you didn’t have any classes in your neighborhood. Or take my case, I learnt the harmonium (on keyboard) for 2 years (2000-2001). I had to leave them in order to focus on my SSC board exams. I never joined back (except completing 1 more year with intermittent attendance) citing one reason after another. This was a ‘partially voluntary’ miss.

There are other instances which are ‘forced’ misses.For example, you have to move to another city where there are no (Indian classical) music classes. Or you are over-age for training in a certain sport, when you come to know the training for it exists within your reach!

Does this mean you give up your desires of wanting to do something – THAT thing you wanted so much?

Certainly not.

I talked about activities above. The thing can be a business venture or simply a phase when you wanted to decorate your room a particular way or a higher education opportunity.

You cannot return to that point of time when the opportunity slipped from your hands. BUT you can try again, at a different point of time, FOR the thing or SOMEthing related to it. You can stop obsessing about the miss and gear up for the hit!

Deja vu!

Look at it this way – every day is a chance, to try doing something you missed earlier. Second chances do not present the exact circumstances that were back then, heck- they’re not even real, but you simulate them and trick your brain into grabbing the opportunity!

There are 2 very important things to remember while doing so :

1. Do not fall prey to the warnings of your brain’s frontal lobe, which keeps shouting ‘Oye, yaad hai na…tab aisa hua tha!’ You missed it then, you’ll miss it now! Refer this article.

2. Make a list of all things you want to do and all chances that you will possibly have. Now connect the things to the chances and prepare yourself for them. Keep revising the list – bi-annually, quarterly or even monthly.Refer this article.

To sum up :

There are no second chances in life. Simulate conducive circumstances! Your nagging self-deprecating inner voice will take them up and you will ACTUALLY get to do what you always wanted to do!

Sabse bada rupaiyya! Is that the whole thing?

This is my usual bout of writing something. Today I want to brood on the importance of being somebody………….I mean how important is it to be a financial success in life? Agreed that if you are after materialistic pleasures,you should definitely have a green pocket. But then should the ultimate goal of your life be that of being a mechanical money minting maniac? Do all,literally all, relationships depend on money as a sole dominant factor?

Now that I shall be entering the ”professional” world, should I aspire of turning into one of those people who have no time to “stop and smell the flowers”? Too many question marks……….aren’t they!(so an exclamation here)

Money is important no doubt. But thinking of hoarding excessive wealth at the cost of day to day life is sheer waste of the magic potion called life. There’s no doubt that a person should be very much self -sufficient financially,especially a girl. In today’s world,with the emergence of upper middle ‘corporate’ class,relationships are weighed on the scale of monetary status rather than the amount of affection. And these relationships can be marital,maternal,paternal,fraternal. Arey even the supposedly unconditional relation of friendship has undergone a radical shift from the standard Krishna-Sudama equation.The Amitabh-Amarsingh alliance speaks volumes about the role money, and hence power,plays in building modern day ‘friendships’.

The reason I stressed upon the need of a girl being financially self-sufficient is that whenever there is even a small tiff between husband-wife, the argument zeroes in on the subject of who earns how much, in time less than it takes for a chain reaction to result into a nuclear explosion.The results though not even remotely comparable, are often disastrous to the extent of divorce.If not to this extent,they create an unhealthy rivalry between both of them for dominating the relationship.If the girl here(thanks to women’s liberation movement) is not earning,she has to endure the mental trauma and put up a smiling face to the world.

I sometimes wonder……………..if money makes such mindless monsters out of men(human beings,if I sound gender biased) with egos higher than Mt.Everest,then why this never ending quest for money;which sets up an illusive & elusive goal of conquering the world?And what exactly is conquering the world?Is it what Hilter seemed to have almost accomplished?Or is it being a ‘business tycoon’ like some very famous personalities; most of whose personal lives are caught in thundering typhoons.What have they gained by making money except material pleasures and a few extra luxuries that you don’t have?

I bet they will,at any moment, agree to trade their life with that of a simple country life; where a family lives happily.A family which wakes up to the energetic chirping of birds n greets each other with a smile,has a morning walk in the meadows,drinks fresh cow-milk. In the evenings,grandparents gather children on the kutta and tell them stories of fantasies and their own experiences.Throughout the day,it is NOT guaranteed that there won’t be any argument.But at least when there is an argument, the person does not point out other’s inadequacy(if any) at being able to support himself/herself if abandoned/divorced.Because money for them is a means to live life and not life itself.They do not rate a family member according to his monetary status.They understand that every family member plays a very important part in keeping the family happy;even the 80 year old grandpa!

Some of you will reason that this kind of life is history.It existed in the times of our great grandparents.Well,not exactly the same lifestyle,but a similar lifestyle still exists in parts of India.In some secluded villages,some hill stations you will find people who have grasped the gist of life and have risen above the ludicrous lures of lucrative liaisons & luxurious lifestyles to live a life of peace and happiness.Now you will omnisciently opine that they are lagging behind the world,they don’t have any idea of where the world is going.And that living such a life is going back into time.

Well if this is going back to history,then I might as well live in a time when people ‘lived’.Not in this pennyworth “professional” time where people spend half of their life hoarding money(for the better future of their children?! ) and don’t even know their first cousins,grandparents………or for that matter, even their spouse properly. The rest half…..they spend agonizing in the empty nest syndrome with all the economical wealth in the world at their disposal.After all we get to live only once and who knows,kal ho naa ho!

Signing off for today……………………Ruchi.

Written in 2007

It’s a deal!

Yesterday, out of nowhere, I and Pritam Barhate [he writes!] struck an impromptu deal.

The deal :

He is on a strict diet and as long as he sticks to it, I will write a page-a-day. For every page I write, he will write one too!

Seems like an exponential equation eh? So here I am, typing the first page in the series.

We have lost track of how many times he went on a diet, I vowed to write a novel and he declared that he shall finish his book. All these declarations made independently of the other declarations. Now, a dependency has been introduced in the picture – in the form of ‘THE DEAL’. (Quite ironic that it anagrams to EL DEATH).

The deal about deals is, if you make them subconsciously, they never materialize. You have to be serious when you say yes. Which I almost never am 😛 as you might have observed from my twice stalled Project 365.

One of the biggest factors from a deal going off-road is not the willingness to complete it, it is a nasty trait called Procrastination. I have never procrastinated in my professional life, and am the complete opposite when it comes to my interests – read >> writing a novel.

One of the reasons may be that my profession happens to be perfectly aligned with my favorite hobby – interacting with people, exercising my brain cells over a developing app idea and etching out a POA in ‘my writing style’! (I don’t need to indulge in hobbies separately, you see 🙂 )

The above circumstances are something I share with Pritam Barhate (for those who do not know him, he is my mentor from my previous job. We call him the coding guru, a title which he politely refuses to acknowledge.). Time and again, he has given me reason to write a blog post and vice-versa (when he wrote in reply to my Naam naa hota to kya hota).

This deal has high chances of working out, for

1) He is my mentor and one cannot let a mentor down. 2) Similar circumstances make us allies rather than rivals in the deal 😀

So yeah, it’s a deal!