OF Doordharshan and Neighbors

  • SumoMe

The Champions league T20 is going on. Probably by today it will be over. I am out of it because my home team is not playing the finals. But somebody asked me to come to his room so that we can watch finals with friends. He was all so excited like such thing is happening first time in his life. Such is Chennai. I am not blaming the city, but it is how it is now. From childhood I never remember seeing an exciting cricket or football match alone. Friends will be gathered at one place or other. No special plans will be made.

Its just like “Come here” or “Come there” sorts. Is it really changed now or have I grown up? Worth a thought. It takes me back in my memory lane about watching TV. There was a TV in our house when I was born. So I really was not amazed by the small little box when I grew up. Skipping the half an hour English news daily for our grandfather, there was nothing interesting.

But there were people in our street, who didnt have a TV at their home (Blessed are those people). So Sundays will be full of people right from 5′O clock in the evening. I kinda liked it and kinda disliked it. Liked it because so many people will be coming to house. Disliked it because I was the little kid in the house and the whole street so everybody wanted to have a piece of muscle from my cheek.

Even some Saturdays because it was the pre 1991 era, where each and everyone wasforced to learn Hindi onour street, so Saturday Hindi movies were great hit too. It was actually fun to see people laugh for jokes they understand and praise the lyrics of the song for which they had taken a totally different meaning. I was fed up asking meaning of “Sholay” to these guys. Nobody ever said that to me.

Soon people became bored of the repeated and old programson the national television. The other way of movie watching was by VCR. We didn’t have a VCR and we have never bought it. But our neighbors had it. Whenever they hire a new Cassette they will invite us. Most of the time there will be three movies. Not one, not two. I am yet to figure out the calculation of that. It was determined that only three films can be watched in a day. Since the neighbor was a fan of Ramki (don’t trouble yourself searching for him in internet. He is a real petty hero for that), we ended up watching all his movies in the period of three years.

Then there was metro channels. We even had Ceylon national channel available then, if we have our antenna turned to some frequency. Our uncle who visits our house now and then had the privilege of turning the antenna till we finish watching our favorite program. Then came the revolutionary cable television. The only channels were available then were Sun, Asianet and Star. We didn’t understand what wasgoing withStar TV. Sun TV aired its program between evening six to ten in the night. Asianet would air a Tamil movie in the afternoon and Malayalam programs in the evening.

So the cable operator wouldair films of his choice in the afternoon 2.30 and night after ten. When we were on holidays or weekends we will be in one of the few houses which had cable connection to watch the movies. Now I realize how really bad movies had a run in theaters then. The movies which I had seen with awe are now not even worth a 30 second watch. Dad was not comfortable as we had to sit in other peopleshouse towatch movies so he got a new connection installed for us.

I will never forget the fuzz the cable operator madeto give connection back then. Now all you need to do is fill up a form on a website and the operator is at your doorstep before you know it. Those were days. Though there were some ugly situations like when I was going home to watch the cable movie, they charged one rupee per person and I ended up beating the boy in the house for not giving his idly while watching the movie. But it helped us bond well.

Everybody knew everybody on the street. At least they would have watched a news hour or a movie together. They would have discussed a movie like they will change the fate of the actors if they were there in the screen. Now though we have two television setsand DTHconnection we miss the mingling with our neighbors. I am truly ashamed to say that I researched about the likes and dislikes of some CEO in United States but I don’t know the name of our next door neighbor. Just pondering about that brought this boring post to you.
If you had grown up in India like me, do you have any such experiences? I would love to know them.

Bragadeesh Prasanna

The author is a Business development executive for a MNC. He writes at http://annasarp.wordpress.com. His hobbies are trekking, photography, cycling and writing.

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