July 29, 2014

Perhaps a Coming of Age

After a long time, I got chance to see every possible genre of TV programming in India and I switched from Hindi Satellite to Bengali Satellite to News. And given that I strongly believe our daily soaps are an exaggerated but quite true version of our society at large, it was not very difficult to comprehend the reasons behind the mammoth changes our world is going through.

The plots, the twists and the turns were all there but what was most interesting to observe was that except in one particular soap the protagonist was never the male. Bengali soap operas were throwing up strong women characters dime a dozen and the men refreshingly were playing a complete second fiddle. In fact in some of them there were downright; for the lack of a better word, clueless about their own existence!

Sample this, the women of Bengali soap operas are superwomen; they manage their careers and family with aplomb, have perfected the roles of the family matriarch and do not hesitate to give the men their share of feeling important and in control.

The men on the other hand, whine and whine and whine some more while waiting to be rescued and shown direction by someone clearly more capable and yet sermonize about tradition and values whenever they get a chance. Sometimes it clearly shows that the women give a rat’s ass about what the men say. It’s so refreshing after almost a decade of saas-bahus ruling the roost.

Finally it also dawned on Bade Achhe Lagte Hain to call it a day. About time, like everything else we rarely understand the importance of closure at the right time when you are on a high. On the other hand, someone in Kolkata had the brilliant idea of replicating Balika Badhu, frame by frame for the Bengali audience; who for all they are worth; do not yet get Hindi as well as they think they do.

Hindi Satellite is also not falling behind. With all its creative liberties Mahabharat remains one of the best retellings of mythology and epic genre on Indian Television. The premise of another amongst the the highest TRPed shows is based on an age old movie of Rekha and while starting in an interesting note, it completely lost its way and given the creative powerhouse in the country, it too has a rip off in Bengali. Coming back from the dead always has an interesting angle.

Reality shows continue to glue people to their seats and I watched one more season of Roadies and Splitsvilla. Raghu and Nikhil’s trousers keep getting more and more fluorescent by the year and finally it’s Sunny in my living room once again.

Oh and while I am at this, it’s so much fun to poke fun at those who only watch the TV series to figure out what happened at the Red Wedding and thereafter.

July 27, 2014

The 4 PM Friends

When I was studying in Bangalore and lots of my closest friends were working, I had come to realize the importance of the 2:00 am friends. In the dark nights when only students who had assignments to submit were awake, I used to call up friends who always stood by me. And those were the times the legend of the 2:00 am friends grew. Every single one of them has stood by me through thick and thin and there was always someone to reach out to. The sanctity of the 2:00 am timeslot varied however as people dispersed across the world. But the point was at 2:00 am there was always a friend when you needed one.

Slowly most of us settled down from our bohemian bachelorhood and things started to change. You would think twice about calling someone from deep slumber not because you would hate disturbing them (Oh No! You had the rights still to do so) but because of concern for the unsuspecting spouse. And the 2:00 am calls became rarer and rarer.

A BFF became a dad in Kolkata, another started schooling again with his daughter in Bangalore, a friend started taking baby steps towards getting the Noble Prize, quite a few, almost everyone, refused to name their daughters and sons and nephews and nieces after me even after much plodding and convincing them of the beauty and unisexuality of my name. In essence we all were growing up and climbing the so called ladder in our day to day work.

Then one sudden rainy afternoon in July, after a particularly bad morning at work, the phone would not stop ringing. That afternoon, friends from around the world wanted to discuss something or the other, inane and important. And while struggling to keep a straight face and be focussed on work, and thinking twice over before picking up a call, I just realized the paradigm shift that had happened.

We no longer need to just be a 2:00 am friend. We all probably are in deep slumber after work. The true test of friendship today is in being a 4:00 pm friend.

July 23, 2014

The Six Ten Six

So the grandparents celebrated their 66th and I made a flash trip to Kolkata. There in front of all the Bongs I scored brownie points by showing this. Then I scored some more brownie points by saying I so work for the Brazilian and Argentinean markets. Then as this kept happening and I was eating my fill of great Bong food and watching football, a sudden burst of creativity struck. While it’s not the best of sonnets, it certainly does justice to the 66 years of awesomeness. Here’s to 75th. Let’s plan for that now!

Will the Bard wrote many a song;
But none as sweet as this!
So when I told him of the Land of Bong;
Li’l did he want to miss!

Away from Venice where the merchants rode;
Far from the Prince of Danes!
He travelled on the Midsummer Road;
And landed up in Duff Lane!

Will the Bard looked far and nigh;
To find the hero for a song.
Then he saw him standing high;
Beside his love through life long.

Driving around the lanes of North;
He closely held her hands.
She wrote poetry as it came forth;
And I do have a few strands.

Will the Bard nodded wisely and said;
This is a story to be told.
This is a match in heaven made;

66 years young; not old!