I am a granddaughter that usually disapproves and makes fun of her grandparents for watching mindless, dramatic and stupid Tamil soaps to be entertained.
My grandparents spend their days watching TV. I once asked Thaatha (my grandpa) to count the number of soaps he watches. He said he watches 15 a day- from 11 am till 9:30 pm, with breaks in between (thankfully), but complained that there are a few more that are not so good that Paati (my grandma) watches.
Why am I saying this? This is not something I find healthy. I am all for watching shows, movies, documentaries, the news…but I believe that it should be taking us forward, not back; it should give us something to think about, in a way that broadens our minds.
In my opinion, none of these Tamil soaps do that. They focus on archaic, orthodox lifestyles where traditional is good and modern is bad, where the elders are traditional and the youngsters are modern, and that automatically means wrong or worse. The kind of plot lines that are shot are unimaginable and unbelievably terrible.
Why would a police operation involving capturing a murderer happen at a five-day wedding? How is there a “professionally” shot video (in different angles) of him caught in the act that he is unaware of? Why is this video being broadcast on a projector to the wedding guests? This is the icing- the mother of the bride, instead of feeling relief that her daughter didn’t marry a murderer, rushes in and locks herself to attempt a suicide because she is worried that her daughter will never get suitors because of this incident!
Completely bizarre, laughable and amusing. Right?
Truth be told, I’ve started watching this particular show on a regular basis. I stream it! Why? Not because I have any interest in it, but it makes me feel like I’m sitting in Paati’s house, eating her food and listening to her being shocked and predicting how the story is going to go forward. I feel like I can sense the enthrallment in both Paati and Thaatha’s discussion about this absolutely awful piece of entertainment that keeps their days going. It reminds me of the afternoons when I would force her to feed me, and Thaatha would promptly remove the fresh, crispy packet of potato chips he had bought earlier that morning, just for me. All this, in about 40 minutes, dominated by Chandralekha on the screen.
We don’t have a lot to talk about- not only because my Tamil is deteriorating every day, but also because I wouldn’t know what to talk to them about. Apart from keeping my Tamil from dying, I think this dramatically unreal soap could extend my “How are you? Did you eat? What did you eat? Are you feeling well? Ok, I’ll call again tomorrow. Bye!”
I call them every day, just to hear their voices and check on them, and every day it’s the same 3-minute call. I want to be able to say more- to say how much I miss them and how much I want to be there every afternoon, like before.
Words suddenly become very inadequate for me where they are concerned. It is probably a massive generation gap, and that’s ok, I guess. But I want to be able to make an effort to ensure those phone conversations get longer- for now, it’s by discussing Chandralekha! *title song begins*