Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Once upon a TV

I abhor television. Okay, it’s out there, and I’m feeling better already. More than I hate what’s on it, I detest the fact that it is the nucleus around which most households are built. “Where should we keep the TV?” is always the question. It is never “To have or not to have?”

Unless resisted with all one’s might, the television becomes the defacto shrine in every home. When I lived with my parents, the one thing that made me break into hives was to find them entranced by a dumb screen when I walked into their home. When I excitedly shared what happened in the day with my brother, all I heard was a grunt.

In the hostels where I spent a good six years, the TV room was where losers or women in nighties hung out, and I didn’t want to be caught dead there. So I survived the soap bug, even though I must admit, Ridge Forrester’s sex life did catch my fancy every once in a while.

A friend of mine watches cartoons for a living —his job is to make kids eat better by choosing the right cartoons on his TV network for their lunch hour—apparently the more they liked the cartoon, the better they ate. Eh? Is that how it works?

My childhood was less complicated. We ate because we were hungry. Our mothers had trouble keeping us from food, not feeding us. The TV entered our house when I was nearly 15, and tired of peeping into strangers’ windows to see what they were so mesmerised by. I wouldn’t say it changed our lives.

Even now, it will not kill me if the nine odd minutes I spend in a day in front of the telly (a low attention span is one of my other disorders) were also to disappear—very rarely am I taken in by what’s on it, except when Jamie Oliver or Nigella Lawson are practising their culinary seductions or Seinfeld is on yet another rerun.

When I first stepped into the husband’s (then the boyfriend) apartment, I was appalled to find that the television was the single largest living thing in the room— all action was designed around it. The other room was not inhabited, save for a few cartons and a mirror.

When we moved house recently, my only condition was—no TV in the living room. He looked distraught. I then sold him the idea of a room exclusively for entertainment, so I would never have to go there (mostly), or pretend it didn’t exist.

He bit that and it’s turned out to be a win-win. I never have to walk into a house and be greeted by a TV. He never has to ask if the TV is bothering me (my answer will always be a yes).

So I now have the rest of the house and he has the room with the TV and all the electronic goodies. He has never been happier. Plus, we now invite each other to dates in our respective zones and it feels like we are in courtship all over again!

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