This February, Cybernag would be three years old. Thank you dear readers, for staying with me all this while. Many of you have gone on to become dear friends on and off the blog. What I appreciate most is your participation in the lively discussions that follow the posts. I humbly acknowledge the fact that they add great value to my sometimes incomplete posts, bringing fresh insights and perspectives. I cherish every comment, including the ones that criticize the post, for these are the ones that make me realise afresh that I still have a long way to go to become a better writer. Besides, they keep me from getting a swollen head!
And folks, on this blogaversary, Cybernag also celebrates the fact the interaction between commenters on her blog has facilitated many a virtual, and real time friendship among them!
Recently, while browsing through the archives, I realised that I have written many posts on the TV and its place of pride in the L&M’s family. The idea occurred to me then, of re-posting the very first piece of the series (L&M and the Brats) , which incidentally talks about the Brats’ fixation with music TV .
The Idiots and the Box
The two boys are sprawled in front of the television. The older one has the remote in his hand, channel-surfing furiously. ‘Wait, wait!’ cries the younger one but before he can even the get the first syllable of the first word out, the elder one has switched half a dozen channels and doesn’t know which one his brother had wanted him to stop at. So the process begins in reverse. ‘There, there!’ screams the latter again and with the same result.
By now, the elder one has zeroed in on one of the music channels and settled down to enjoy the song — the one that has already played a dozen times in different channels since the morning. It has become so repetitive that it has started coming not only out of my ears but my nose and eyes as well. As I am gagging, the younger one manages to get hold of the remote, as his brother relaxes a bit.
‘Ah,’ he sighs. ‘Now I can change channels!’ and begins flicking the remote control faster than his brother had been doing, if that were possible. This time his elder brother has to shout at him to stop. And so the channel surfing goes on.
And I thought that TV is meant for watching!
I have often wondered why they need to switch the channels at all, when all they do is to settle for one or the other of the music channels. And even that doesn’t make any sense because the same songs are played day in and day out over the various channels.
I am sure that they possess some extraordinary powers to be able to make out that one of my favourite old Hindi film songs is playing and skip that particular channel before I can yell, ‘Stop Stop!’ Not that my ears or eyes can react as fast as theirs.
On the remote possibility that I manage to stop their maniacal surfing, and insist that I have to listen to the particular song, they oblige. And how! Soon I beg them to continue with their surfing. Why, do you ask? Who would want to listen to a song in snatches, because the fiends are busy surfing between stanzas?
It can truly be said that the one who controls the remote in our house controls the household. And this includes the L&M.
If the boys are hooked to the music channels, then the L&M is a news freak. If he gets control of the remote then it is one news channel after the other. Fortunately he doesn’t flick the channels at a maniacal speed but listens to a complete newscast on one channel before going on to another — newscast, that is. With hourly news bulletins being given on several channels these days, he keeps listening to the same news items throughout the day.
I mean how many news breaks can there be on an average day? Or for that matter how many times can the price of onions change? Or even, Jayalalitha/Lalu/Mulayam waddle in to make the same threatening statements about withdrawing support to the government? But there is no arguing with him. So he keeps listening to the same statements made by the PM/Home Minister/Opposition Leaders/Jayalalitha and so on. Soon, the words of the news items are all imprinted on my brain too and they begin to come out of my ears, nose and eyes. Who says I have no variety on TV?
This is nothing compared to the ubiquitous WWF matches. I don’t know how it can be telecast in a sports channel, because it is nothing short of bloody murder, as one or the other of the hideous looking characters beats/pummels/pulverises another to a pulp. My brood yells its approval and sometimes gets so carried away the boys begin to enact their own version of it on the carpet and I have to step willy-nilly into the fray to call a halt to the proceedings.
If the boys are crazy about the show, the L&M is practically a devotee. To him Bulldozer, Road-roller, Excavator or one or the other of the crazy-named murderers is nothing short of a demi-god. I remember the time he had gone abroad. It was well past midnight when the telephone shrilled and I jumped up to answer it. A sheepish-sounding L&M enquired after me. As I was beginning to wonder if he was really so homesick — he had talked to me just a couple of hours ago — he asked for his younger son.
The boy, when he came on the line, began excitedly whispering on the phone for the following 20 minutes. For all his whispering, I heard him graphically describe the gory details of the WWF match that had been telecast earlier in the night in India. Thankfully, he rang off before I clobbered him WWF style. It turned out that the L&M had missed the matches when they were telecast in the country he was in. How could he possibly relax without knowing the results of such an earth-shattering event?
The idiot box holds complete sway over the household, as its denizens can’t live without it for one moment if they can help it. I remember the time we had shifted our house. The L&M and his brats had gone ahead with the luggage and had promised to set the house in apple-pie order before I came along later in the evening. Dreaming of putting my feet up after reaching my new home, which must have by then organised by my loving family, (how naïve can one be!) I entered the place and promptly tripped over a carton of books. As I picked my way through an obstacle course to the room from where I heard an assortment of voices, I stood shell-shocked. For there, was my wonderful family, sprawled on the dirty floor in companionable filth, watching — what else, but a WWF match?
By some unwritten rule, while it is perfectly normal for the other members of the family to watch non-stop nonsense on the idiot box, it is a crime for me to even watch a movie once in a blue moon. If I manage to catch the name of some English or Hindi movie that I want to see while one of the remote-fiends is flicking the channels, I have to do one or all of the following: hide the remote; put on my most forbidding expression and bare my teeth and fangs; scream my head off till they back off.
‘Look at her gaping at the screen!’ the elder one says.
‘She looks like a regular TV junkie, doesn’t she?’ the younger one adds.
‘All women are like that,’ the L&M pronounces in all his infinite wisdom.
But I am blissfully unaware of their pronouncements as I watch my favourite movie…
Do also read about the genesis of the series and the Younger Brat’s tribute to the L&M here.
(Homepage image credit: http://kevinspear.com/)