I got back home rather early on a crazy Monday and I was silently patting my back for being home earlier than the milkman. In all my happiness, I had completely overlooked my mother, who was weeping buckets into her hand-made towel (she is really touchy about those towels, you see)
I really didn’t want to get involved in the whole ‘what happened to you?’ stuff, as I was contemplating ordering a pizza and thought mom was upset over some mundane stuff like the baaju-waali throwing garbage into our compound. But still, I politely enquired what the hell was up. “Parvati is dead,” she said and stared howling. “Oh, shit!” I reacted, not knowing who the hell Parvati was. I just hoped she was not the land-lady because I was not in any mood to change houses yet. “What happened to her…how…how did she die?” I asked, praying that the land-lady (if she were) had given clear instructions to her next of kin about our rental arrangements. “Ram pushed her off the cliff na…,” she wept some more. “Ram?” I asked, clearly baffled. “Arre, you don’t follow any of the shows and you still want me to give you all the goss?” my mother said between tears. “So, this Ram and Parvati or whatever are TV characters?” I asked, spitting fire. “Yeah, it’s a damn good show,” she replied.
I didn’t know how to react, honestly. For half a minute, my heart was in my mouth thinking Parvati to be our land-lady and then my mother says it’s some fictional character? Goddamn me. Why does she, an educated and intelligent lady, get so involved in the made-up world of some over-the-top characters? How do the everyday events of the fictional family of Parvati seem more important than the well-being of her own husband and kids? At least, my mother is not like Mrs Mehra, who prays to the TV when mythological shows are on. What’s wrong with these ladies? Who is the real culprit when it comes to what’s shown on TV? My mother is solely responsible for shooting up the TRPs of these mind-numbingly tasteless shows. In fact, the producers must give my mother some sort of percentage share in their income for being a loyal viewer.
My father, brother and I try to switch channels to watch more intelligent shows on TV, but no. My mother has to know why Parvati was killed by Ram and how Ram is actually Parvati’s first husband’s second cousin’s step brother. The three of us were so frustrated that we got our own TV sets now. Dad can watch his matches; bro can indulge in scantily-clad chicks, while I can watch music channels. With this arrangement, we don’t fight anymore, there are no broken remotes, but we do miss sitting together for dinner and chatting about our respective schedules. What was once a home has now become merely a house…where each does what he/she wants and doesn’t really interact with one another.
Do I blame my mother for this divide? No, not really. Do I blame the producers for making such shows? No, not at all. I blame myself for being an above average person, who would rather die than watch these stupid shows. I may be broad-minded and all that jazz, but I still refuse to indulge my mother. When it comes to Indian television, it’s people like me who are the real culprits as we are judgemental and shallow. Do you agree with me? Or are you still finding faults with your 45-year-old mother?