I was born with all my limbs intact ! As a child, I never suffered from dumbness neither, though I did speak less as a matter of choice. I never had to walk 25 kilometeres a day to attend school, for academics or otherwise. I never had to study in candle light. Not because there were no powercuts but simply because I never studied at all. I never had to sleep on an empty stomach. Always had 3 square meals a day. When I grew up I never had a hole in my heart or “impressive” diseases like lymphosarcoma of the intestine. It should be no surprise therefore that when I was in my late teens I felt lucky at not having to go through disabilities or “blips” of any kind if you will. Truth be told I never even thought about it.
Then I became an adult. Just like we ‘become‘ adults. And started watching those TV programmes – Dance India Dance, Nach Baliye, Jhalak Dikhlaja, DID Little Masters, Indian Idol, Saare Re Ga Ma Pa, etc. Every second participant seemed to be suffering from some kinda life threatening disease/disadvantage and all of them invariably had had very trying childhoods. They’d made it to their current station by sheer hard work and persistence. Listening to their stories…. in fact listening to the melodramatic music accompanying their stories, I would get exceedingly disturbed. And touched at what I saw. I would cry my heart out every time.
Years and years of watching these tearjerker programmes and the “Stupendo Fantabulously Fantastical”, “Chummeswari” or “Super Se Bhi Ooper” performances finally took its toll. It had to. My body parts now fail to respond the way they did. And the lachrymal is no exception. Sometimes, the lack of pathos appalls me. Mind you I have been reared on hardcore Nirupa Roy and Dharmendra stuff. I should know a thing or two about being kind hearted, maudlin, compassionate and patriotic (oh yes, I was well up on my Manoj Kumar too).
But NO Sir. Hardly into middle age, I find myself emotionally dead. You could have innocent children wail around me the whole day and I’d still be unmoved. The more I watch these guys the more inadequate and inferior I feel. It appears to me that I’d feel better if one of my limbs was missing. That’s the power of Media ! It can have you believe that Sun rises from the West.
I avoid watching TV anymore. It makes me feel useless and obese.
I don’t go out on the streets. Beggars swarm me in no time. And when they dont, the shopkeepers oblige. My money is no longer in me pocket.
I stopped going to the theaters. I hate having to stand up everytime to prove my patriotism and pay the owners obscene money for a glass of aerated drink or a “tub” of popcorn. Just because I can afford it don’t mean I should.
I have stopped upgrading my mobiles and Operating Systems. Every Mobile/Operating system is better than the last. At smothering user freedom that is.
I don’t read the papers. Cause if I do, I’ll run the risk of believing that the government is trying its best to do me good.
Every dance is better than the last. Every movie is better than the last. And if that is true I’d rather watch people act than VFX.
Reminds me of a joke I once read in the Himalyan Drug Company’s compilation of “Laughter is the Best Medicine“.
A kid in his early teens walks upto a Chemist. Points his finger at one of those polythene packs kept behind the display pane. The Chemist takes out the packet, hands it over to the kid and casually asks him “Whom are you taking it for, your mother ?”. “No”, says the kid, handing over the money.
“It must be your sister then, isn’t it ?”, asks the Chemist again. Again the kid replies in the negative.
The Chemist is curious by now. “Well then my dear lad, who is it for ?”
The Kid looks around, leans forward and whispers to the Chemist – “I am taking it for myself. They show on TV that you can run, skip, cycle, dance and do a whole lot of things after wearing it !”
Ignorance is bliss. Never was it so true as today….