Peevy TV

1 Oct

Sunday. A friend’s place. A weekend lunch. Assorted crockery that’s trademark of a bachelorette house. Scrumptious food. Paneer. Biryani. Chicken. Gluttony company. Soft drinks. Yummy juicy Gulab Jamuns. Office gossip. Movie reviews. Job hunts. Books read. Fashion trends. Old memories. Link-ups. Laughter.

I wish this was the way it were. Unfortunately not. What was dished along with the food was a boring sitcom. Channel surfing. Incomplete conversations. Topics that we flipped through as we did channels. No eye contact. No laughter.

Sadly, a long awaited weekend that had held a promise of fun, turned into a monotony. Why?

As is the case many a times in a lot many Indian households, the person is not the host. The TV is. The person does not initiate conversation or play the ice breaker between the newly introduced. That job is left to the TV. The only thing that people can find to talk about apart from the weather are the TV programmes? Shouldn’t a house resonate with the sounds of warm, delicious conversation, be it civilized or unruly, rather than resonating with the sound of the Television with snatches of conversation in between? Why should one discuss what’s on TV than discussing a million other things? And that too when you have guests?

Maybe. Just maybe, there are households where people don’t have anything to say to each other anymore. They have finished having their fair share of conversation, and don’t want to sit in absolute silence. That is when the TV can be put on, for distraction. Or relaxation.

But, in a setting where people have actually congregated by choice to catch up, why should one need the TV?

At my place, it is considered rude. I remember a day from my childhood when I was very engrossed in a TV programme and as a consequence ignored a relative who had come to visit my parents. I didn’t bother to offer him any water or tea. Did not exchange any pleasantries. I just asked him to sit comfortably till my parent’s arrived. My parents were duly informed about my bad manners, and I was aptly punished for the same. The lesson has stayed since.

I was a child back then. And I was naïve. I could be forgiven or punished. But what would you say to adults who consciously do the same? Wouldn’t you think twice about revisiting that person? Wouldn’t it make you feel insulted that the person thinks you to be too dumb to carry out a proper conversation with you, and which is why the TV was required?  Or wouldn’t you be hurt that the person does not value your time or presence?

I have seen some people even ask their guests, “Do you want me to put the TV on for you? Which program do you watch?”

Why someone would do that is beyond me. Wouldn’t a person just stay at his/her home if he/she wanted to watch TV? Why even take the trouble of looking presentable and going to someone’s house. Just pig in on the couch, at your own sty I say.

I would really like to understand how this habit of ours came to be?

I asked a friend and he said, “Some people think of the TV as a member of their house, and it must have its say in every conversation.”

Do people really get so used to the constant hum of the TV that they don’t turn it off even if no one is watching it. Is it comparable to the awkward silence that sets into the house when there is a power-cut. No fans whirring over your head. No sound of the refrigerator’s stabilizer. Plain dead silence.

What do you think? What are the reasons? Care to share?


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