I grew up watching Ramayana on a black and white TV. Sundays 9 am used to be the Prime time. There would be strict orders by my mom, and each of us would have bathed, hair washed, breakfast done and would be in front of the TV at exactly 8.55. Not only this would be the norm for our family, but in almost all the families i knew. There was a small cluster of temporary houses just across the road. And the entire battalion from there too would come dressed in their best clothes to watch the show. The house would be a pin drop silence.
As the story was reaching its climax, Ma demanded a color TV. So the rest of series was seen on the colored one. Ramayana finished, and Mahabharata started. The Sunday craziness remained. Of course, for us kids it would be a double bonanza. Sunday would start with a Rangoli. Ramayana would be followed by cartoons. Mickey mouse, spider-man, sigma, vikram-betal, chanakya, chandrakanta are the few of the series i still remember. In-fact my fascination with space had started with Sigma. Sunday evenings would be a movie, and whatever it was the entire family would sit down to watch it. Wednesdays would be Chitrahaar. And the daily news would be at 8:30 sharp, and that formed our daily basis of understanding the politics.
Somewhere in mid 90s came DD-2 and other channels like ZEE etc. Many of my friends would watch the interesting soaps that were showcased. Tara was one of them.My parents would hear none of it. ” No Cable TV” was the rule. “If we get Cable TV in house, you kids won’t study”, so, we would just get satisfied by the gossips of those series. Then came Shanti and Swabhimaan. Initially it would be fun to watch, but soon the Page 3 life depicted by these didnt match with the middle class we were growing up in the tiny lazy town of Himachal. They would seem too far fetched and the slow pace at which they progressed, couldn’t hold my attention for long. By that time, I was in 10th and all i could think of was the hard to crack medical entrance in a few years time.
Fast forward to Hostel, the common room would be full of girls for “Kausati Zindagi ki”. When I would come home during holidays, I would be greeted to the episodes of “Kyon Ki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi”. Luckily for me, the time spent without TV was much more so i would only hear the highlights.
As we settled after finishing our prolonged medical studies and the early years of motherhood , one serial which i got fond of was “Balika Vadhu” Before i could get addicted to it, my son started liking Doraemon and Chota Bheem. Living in Joint family, and the constant tussle over which news channel, Arnab Goswami or Barkha Dutt, the riot over remote control, brought in another TV set in the house. Before either of us could fall for these, we shifted to Dubai and the Indian TV Soaps and cartoons got replaced by YOUTUBE.
Fast forward to the present day, everyone has his own little TV set. If the grandpa wants news, he can switch on to NDTV, TOI or whatever he wants. No one else is interested in the idiot box commentary. Grand ma wants to hear Bhajans, Youtube has so many channels to choose from. Husband, who’s still Desi as per my son has his taste buds hooked to Amazon Prime, Zee5, and You tube Shoukeen. Son who is Generation Z follows the Daily Show Trevor Noah. As for me, I sit down and penning this article think of what was better, the fight over the remote control or the individual entertainment on smartphones.