Every day evening, once I get back home from work, I get into my kitchen to cook up something to quieten my growling tummy. And since my apartment is on the tenth floor, and my kitchen has huge windows, I’m afforded a clear view of all the apartments across mine. And the one thing that I always notice without fail, is the presence of the TV (yes, I can see into their living rooms) in their homes, invariably turned on. Now, don’t mistake me for a voyeur. I am far from that but this one phenomenon is something that is rampant in every single home I can see. People do their cooking, eating, putting clothes out to dry and what not while always keeping an eye on the TV. I have never seen a family having dinner together around the dinner table with lots of laughter and talking surrounding them. If it is there, its from some TV show for sure.
I am no saint. I have a TV at home too and it is normal for me to have it on in the background while I am cooking or going about my daily chores. But it is more out of a necessity to have some noise around the house than to watch something on the TV. There was a time in my life when I used to be addicted to the television. When I was in school and college, I would come home and plonk myself in front of the TV and watch for hours on end till Mom came out and yelled at me to get my ass off the couch or I realized it was time for Dad to get home. It was like this insatiable craving back then. No amount of time in front of the TV was ever enough. And it was not like I would watch a few shows consistently. No siree. I would flip through channels and watch whatever caught my fancy for a bit before moving on. During college days, most of my TV watching was restricted to MTV and Channel V and sundry other local channels that catered to one’s appetite for anything and everything filmy.
Back then, I guess, it was the cool thing to do. To watch the latest movie songs and trailers and critique SRK’s looks or gossip about some new actress who had just acted in her debut movie. It was cool to discuss movie dialogues and locales and clothes and what not. The next best thing was English movies. So we watched Star Movies and HBO and sometimes Star World to educate oneself on everything Hollywood and hence translated to something that was even cooler. Then postgraduation happened and time spent in front of the box was significantly curtailed, rather, it became non- existent. One never had the time to indulge in such frivolous pastimes. There were other more important things to pay attention to- like classes and projects and business fests.
Even then, all this, in no way interfered with the amount of time devoted to the television once one was home. Then it was essential to pay homage to this marvel one had missed so much during one’s time at college. And to be honest, my postgraduate days was when I watched the maximum number of movies. Someone would get their hands on a stash of movies and it would be passed on from one portable hard disk to another at the speed of light. Plus, the city we were residing in back then had a thriving pirated CD business. So we were always up to date on all the latest movies. But TV was still missed.
Once I started working, TV became a habit again. I was living with a bunch of other girls. Most of them never watched anything remotely related to Hollywood. So, I had to sacrifice English movies and shows and fall in with the majority choice of everything Bollywood. There were a lot of Tamil and Malayalam and even Kannada stuff thrown into the mix. But then, TV was more like background noise. Someone would switch it on in the morning which meant that when I woke up the TV would already be on. And late night someone would switch it off when whatever they were watching was over. There were even some nights when people fell asleep in front of the TV and it would go on playing till the wee hours of the next day when someone spotted it and turned it off. And with the pressure of work and deadlines and travelling and the tiredness that completely took over me at the end of the day, I hardly had time for TV.
After I got married and moved cities, it was a totally different story. I was not working and TS would leave for work early. I would fill my days with my usual household chores and then some reading and other creative pursuits. But after a while the whole house would be eerily quiet and lonely and I would start to fidget. And to get over the quiet and the boredom that assailed me, I would switch on the TV. Those days I would do everything in front of it. Eat, sleep, read, draw, paint, cook- everything. And it would stay on till TS was home. And so, the TV was part of my daily routine once again. But then I had long stopped watching MTV and stuff and watched more of Star Movies and Star World and AXN and what not. I detested my dependence on the box, but my routine left me no other choice.
Then, I got a job and things changed. The box became something that was dispensable, sometimes even forgotten. We were both busy. We both had things to keep us busy. We had lesser time to spend with each other than before and so we started talking more and watching something we both liked together on our laptop. But even that was rare. Normally, we would just sit and talk. The TV would hardly be switched on, even on weekends. We went out for walks and to parks and other places. We talked. I read. TS went out taking pictures. I blogged. TS was busy editing pictures and slowly, the TV started fading into the background of our lives. And today, that’s the status. I do watch TV some days, when I find some show I want to watch like CSI or Criminal Minds. Some days I don’t switch it on at all. I turn to the TV only when I’m doing my chores and want some noise in the background. Else, I prefer to read or blog or blog hop or put my time to better use. And we both enjoy our time together much better now. The TV no longer dominates. It no longer interferes with conversation or a good meal or “cuddle time”. 😉 It is there and I do watch it occasionally but, it does not dictate or take over my day as it used to.
What are your TV habits like?