Television

One Asiad is round the corner. Another Asiad we are debating to bid or not to bid. The resent mess had raised the pedestal of the Common Wealth Games over the Asiad. Notoriety works! But if you see the participating group of nations, the Asian Games will separate the “Men from the Boys”.

But more on this another time. Today, I will take liberties to reminisce.

Asian Games 1982 was significant. We got our first Television. A Dyanora 785, 21 Inches, Black and White!

For first few days, I always had an urge to look up to the terrace and “dekho” (see) the antenna. It was like a crown on the building. For a while, I had extra bounce on my steps. Though a poor conversationalist, I tried to “twist-the-talks” and drop the hint among friends that now I was above the TV line. The friends put some extra weight-age on me, so it seemed.

And the new TV was like a bride. We covered it with the best cloth in the house. Time and again, I raised the cloth to peer in, just as the groom takes a glance of his newly found. I fondled its knobs and buttons like any groom who does whatever he has to do. It was like fore-play with the instrument which continued till about 6 PM.

Then the Bride got aroused. There appeared on screen, concentric revolving euphoric circles. The “Stayam, Shivam, Sundram” moved closer and closer to kiss and then withdraw. The music and the movement were orgasmic. To anyone who lived through those times, the Doordarshan Signature Music will always remain as one of the sweetest sounds.

Those days, possessing TV was exclusive- the cut above the rest- the cream. That’s what we thought. And Have-nots can concoct strange stories about the Haves. It’s un-ethical to relish a possession when other around you is deprived. It’s dangerous to build a bungalow in midst of slums. Being on both sides of the TV line at least taught me this.

Prior to TV, Saturdays and Sundays were painful. Also the other days! Friends who were graced with TV always had some news to share. Many discussed Jitender and his exploits. We needed it badly just to be In. So, as the weekend approached, time was spent on “antenna hunting”. We were like burglars and any houses with antenna were our prime targets. Necessity is the boyfriend of Information gathering. We never repeated houses, lest they would chase us away saying, “last week we allowed, not again”. So we rotated houses. We followed the truism of this saying-“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” long before we realised it.

We also had our favourite TV sets. Those days the prominent were- EC, Televista, Sonodyne, Dyanora etc. Of all, Telivista was the worse and Dyanora was the best. That’s why we got Dyanora. Later we realised that all First Generation TV sets were horrible. These days we hardly see any TV mechanics. Those days, when TV was frequently down, the TV mechanic was like coming of God. His arrival brought glee and we all missed our tails. Instead we offered Tea and Biscuits at 10 PM (those days) to keep him in good humour.

Some events are “Jesus-like”. It demarcates. Like 9/11. First bike, first car, first house, first wife etc. falls in this category. Also the first TV! You exactly know how you spent the time before it and after. You can sense the changes in context and conversations. And new resistances appear from nowhere. Gradually, your involvement change and becomes more TV-centric. Your life starts revolving around it. Very soon, the TV is a part of your household and you begin to think that it was always there.

Nature abhors a vacuum and old Morals and antique principals abhor a paradigm shift. They rush to reclaim position. No sooner you get TV; you also get new thoughts on and around it. There are high thoughts on what programes to watch and what’s to be avoided. TV brings its own governance structure. Poor grades in exams are readily blamed on TV. Other ills also get a new common enemy. It was a popular view that exam marks were in-directly proportional to watching TV. The more you watch, the lesser your grade. Well, it never applied to me. Switch-on or off, my marks maintained an even graph.

Election result time was the best. The 6 PM to 10 PM TV-time extended till whole night. We watched movies after movies back to back, so it seemed. Actually it was a 3 hour movie dragged double the time. In between breaks, a person appeared with a long stick and pointed to some numbers on the board, Cong(I) so much, Cong(U) so much. Those days the Cong had factions from A-Z. We cared less. We wanted the thrill to re-start.

Times changed. Antennas gave way to cables. Any novelty begets its own resistance. It continues for some time and then the tables turn. There was a time when I took prior permission to watch any movie. My parents termed them crap. These days I see my parents spend time watching what I term as – Crap. Is this the circle of life?