Whirlpool of Binge Watching

I am sure you have heard this classic Eagles song “Hotel California

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door,
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before,
‘Relax,’ said the night man,
‘We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!’

It’s often more challenging to get back into your regular routine after a nice vacation or a prolonged stay in bed due to illness. The same is true for binge watching also. You are trapped.

A lesser-known fact – You may come across Internet posts challenging you to binge-watch your favorite TV show or channel. Best of all, if you are chosen and complete the challenge, you will be paid. In 2019, Internet Service Partners ran a competition in which one person could win $1,000 for watching 24 Hallmark Christmas movies in 12 days. The winner was required to submit a personal critique on each film and keep her social media followers updated throughout the experience.

Even though these contests are brilliant marketing strategies used by the businesses, the question now is “Should we support encouraging people to spend even more time in front of their television sets?” According to Healthline, watching more than three hours of television per day may eventually cause memory loss and language damage. OTT platforms have really changed the way people watch TV.

Gone are the days of satellite TV channels. At least they were time bound. The majority of homes have multiple televisions for viewing purposes. Everyone in the house may watch different shows without interfering with each other thanks to the numerous gadgets and shared streaming accounts. Being addicted to your devices in a crowded house makes it simple to isolate yourself. Good for introverts like me, but not good generally.

The K-Dramas are definitely most addictive. I think they are produced with a mere intent of tricking people into binge watching them. Put on a Korean light comedy with a dash of romance on Netflix and there goes your weekend in a blink.

It’s a never-ending circle. You begin with an episode. You are halfway through a series after five hours have passed without your realizing it. You never thought you’d find yourself this deep in the whirlpool called Netflix, but here you are.

Share your binge-watching tales in the comments section. What is your take on it? Which net series are you hooked on? For me it’s a K-Drama these days “Extraordinary Attorney Woo”

close up of pictures

What a memory!

Life’s changes come in all shapes and sizes. Change could be simply organising your cupboards, changing the layout of your living room or change in your career, moving away from home and so on. These are all the changes we go through consciously and with lot of thoughts put in. However as one grows older, change in viewpoint/likings comes silently and you do not realize until confronted on the subject.

I experienced this firsthand few days ago when I decided to show my kids blockbuster movie of the times when I was younger. My kids are big time fans of BTS (the biggest boy band of the world). While they keep listening to their music all the time, my TV time was reduced mostly to Kpop as they hardly let me touch the remote. So this was a good excuse to take control in my hand and reminisce my old times.

Amongst the available options of movies on digital platform , we chose “Raja Hindustani”. I remember the songs of this movie were a rage. There was not a single bus, taxi or restaurants where ‘Pardesi Pardesi’ song was not blaring. The cinemas were house full and Karishma Kapoor was highly praised for her straight hair look and pairing opposite Amir Khan. We had to wait a whole week to finally get tickets and we were quite thrilled to watch it in hall jam packed with people whistling. For me at that time, Raja Hindustani was a paisa wasool movie.

Cut to the present….the movie starts and we see that pretty & rich damsel Karishma along with her two servants/confidants visits Palankhet (an imaginary town) and comes across an illiterate Taxi driver. His antics impress her and she eventually falls for him head over heals. Believe me people, the movie is so cringeworthy in first half that I was afraid to turn my face towards my kids who were equally disgusted. A full grown woman talking and acting like a child was just not at all attractive. Even my eleven year old is more matured than her. There is a scene where Amir khan tries to impress her by putting face powder in abundance and dance and sing….she laughs and he feels humiliated. Obviously one would laugh if you act like joker. But no, in this movie, Karishma kapoor goes and says sorry and they share a passionate kiss. She comes back home all hyped up and bumps into her father who has come to take her back. Ladies and gentleman, she chooses to leave. Okay, fair enough, after all summer flings do happen. Highlight is that this taxi driver only goes to drop them at the airport. No communication between the pair as to why…how ..now what…nothing.

They stop at a midway sort of place where some people are singing and dancing. Here comes our much anticipated song “Pardesi Pardesi jana nahi”. A beautiful girl starts singing and dancing passionately. Clearly dance isn’t her forte. Nonetheless, she sings exactly what the hero wants to convey at this point in time in the movie. Our hero starts singing too and going by the lyrics, he literally curses the heroine that she wont be able to sleep if she goes and will suffer a lot. Another lady with make up from hell, gets up drinks half a litre of alcohol, breaks the bottle and starts dancing absurdly.

The situation is tensed and supremely weird. Hero is sobbing and so is heroine with her goggles on, bottles are breaking and the father of the heroine has no clue whatsoever. He smiles occasionally.

Now I don’t know whether the curses shook the heroine or it was just that ridiculous dance which forces her to go and give our hero a tight hug and put a stop to this madness. At this point the father’s expressions are priceless. The song is finally over and along with it our desire to watch the movie any further.

Experience the song here yourself 😊 : https://youtu.be/i9lB-am_hyY

Little did I sensed that my memory was about an experience and not a movie per se. If this movie was to be released now, it would have met the same fate of Radhe. With time my likings and interests have changed too. Still, I will keep this song in my happy memories. The melody is no doubt super. I feel nostalgic listening to old songs, but my taste has changed surely. Me and my kids had a hearty laugh talking about the movie and proceeded to watch new release of a kpop group.


Continue reading “What a memory!”
person standing using red umbrella

Ramblings on a rainy day

It has been raining incessantly since last night. Can’t help but write these brilliant lines by Robert Frost

“The rain to the wind said,
You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged–though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.”

Sitting in a high rise, sipping on a cup of hot coffee, one can only romanticize the idea of raindrops falling on pretty flowers in the balcony. The reality is harsher. I look down on the “Kachcha” (mud) houses behind our complex and they are totally submerged under water. How do they see this rain. Surely not the same as me. Such is life.

Achcha Bachcha

Much has been written about Sushant Singh Rajput’s unfortunate death. Every day a new sensational piece of information is added to the already confounding situation. Each day a revelation and yet inconclusive. Everyone is just speculating.

My heart goes out to his family. Neither they were quite informed about his life when he was alive, nor do they have any clue about his death. There was a tweet where someone said that he was burdened with being a son of a toxic Bihari family. While I strongly oppose the tweet, there is a contestable point for why I wanted to write my pov about it.

While the kids are provided with all kinds of luxuries, the comfort of expressing themselves freely is rarely extended. Kids are taught to be accepting in nature and questioning is hardly entertained. We have always been told to not to talk back to elders. Not even when one has a valid point. The term ‘healthy debate’ is practically non existent. The kids who follow this are labeled as ‘Achha Baccha’ and as a result poor kid tries to manage this label whole life. They continue on the ‘please everyone’ phase in their adult life as well. The frustration builds up in that person as he/she tries to live upto his/her image. I know so many people who are extremely well behaved with everyone but are super angry person in the closet.

There is nothing wise in celebrating parental autocracy. Look at our movies, they reinforce similar ideas. Please read this famous dialogue of the blockbuster Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham…”Mata pita ki aagya ka palan karna hamara dharm hai“. I am sorry if this is right than we will raise robots only and not a human being. The boy who was told to be “good” and study hard for engineering might never give himself the option of ever pursuing a career in arts. The little girl who was taught never to question, could end up in an abusive marriage and not have the courage to speak up or argue because all through her childhood she was made to believe that good girls keep people around them happy. If we need women to break out of the exhausting idea of selflessness, then pressuring them to “be a good girl” is exactly the sort of thing that needs to stop.

The onus is on us parents and guardians to go beyond focusing on their milestones of growth and development. We should ideally raise them to be as emotionally capable as intelligent, if not more. Allow your kids the opportunity and luxury of an argument; let them challenge a perspective before you diss them for not being a ‘achcha bachcha’. I sincerely feel that communication is the key to any successful relationship; be it with your parents, kids or partner. And NO, “aaj kya khaya”, “kya banaya” does not recompense the gap. There is much more than just inquiring whether you have eaten or not for an effective communication. Ask them how they feel, how their day had gone. Participate in their emotions. Do not listen with an intent to reply, listen with an intent to understand the emotion behind their words. Tell them about your experience through the day.

A heart to heart talk can alleviate a depressed mood and leave a heart warm enough to face any problems, small or big.

Grown ups or just Older?

Not so long ago, we all were watching a hollywood super hero movie, a largely safe bet for family viewing. As the climax drew closer, the leading man and his damsel in distress got a little too close for our desi family’s comfort. There was uncomfortable shifting on the sofa. The tension in the room weighed heavy and the kids hardly knew where to look.

I frantically started searching for the remote. The stakes of what was about to appear on screen were much higher than whatever universe-threatening evil force the hero was fighting against! The lovebirds passionately started moving towards each other. I hit the remote button just in time. The screen changed to Patanjali advertisement; Swasthya twacha ke liye gaai ke shuddh doodh se bani cold cream. The channel gets changed again after couple of minutes and the movie skips forward to the fighting once more. Another day our kids did not have to watch two grown-ups kiss on screen.

Indian parents are some of the most vigilant gatekeepers of objectionable content in the world. They can shout at each other in front of their kids and scar them for entire life but would never allow them to watch remotely adult content or any sort of PDA (public display of affection) on TV or talk about it. 90 per cent of kids have seen their parents holding hands only when daddy’s down two pegs at some random wedding dancing to “Ae meri Zohra Zabin”. Most parents see no reason to allow the child to understand the matured content in safe environment, which is their house, as it brings unnecessary awkwardness. I mean, why have ‘The talk’ when you can ignore until your kids grow old enough to figure it out themselves.

Needless to say, we have all grown up in shuddh desi houses where TV watching was a ritual with remote-control, the weapon of defence, in Dad’s hands. Anything remotely adult, change the channel…handled…done!!

Ever wondered why Indian TV shows are mostly about Bahu becoming Makkhi or a Saas turning out to be Zehreeli Nagin. It’s not that there is dearth of creativity in our country. The real reason behind it is this awkwardness between parents and kids. Demand and supply you see. Even the TV serial producers don’t want to mess with the great Indian family time. Forget about kids, even the parents don’t get to see what they are legally allowed! In India, from teenagers to 35 yrs old single men and women living with their parents are referred to as kids for some reason. So these ‘kids’ find other avenues for all the information and poor parents at the max comment on Facebook post, “Comment me 6 type kare aur kamaal dekhe!!”

Thanks to Netflix and other internet based services, things have changed in last couple of years. Our parameters of indecent, immoral and the general sense of hawwness have evolved significantly. Bollywood also has stopped shying away from on-screen kisses, and intimate scenes and bold dialogues have made their way into mainstream cinema, becoming more than just a cheap prop to promote B-grade movies.With flexible timings and multiple viewing facilities, we can watch what we want without getting judged.

Children should be protected, but not made to live in an alternate reality that leaves them unprepared to have a healthy, adult life in the actual one. Streaming has changed the way we consume entertainment. Before the internet, entertainment time meant television time, which necessarily meant family time. But that’s not the case anymore. If there are four people in my family, and at any given time, all can be found in different parts of the house, watching what they want.

But yes, still I can’t sit through an intimate scene on TV with my kids or my parents in the room without itching for the remote control. This awkwardness is just too deep rooted 🙂