Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.
–R. Buckminster Fuller
I don’t know what stuck me then — I turned off the internet connection, hit the cross button, and turned off the laptop with a bang , to open it again the very next moment only to watch ‘Lootera’ one more time. Lootera was one of the movies from my downloaded collection.
A few months back from now I signed for the 1 month free trial on Netflix. I wanted to know why everyone is going bonkers for it. Now i too had access to it. The bold red fonts shone on my laptop screen. I was all set to browse and select a latest film or series. Fifteen minutes later, my search ended on ‘ Stories by Rabindranath Tagore’. I was watching ‘ Chokher Bali’ for the third time. First time on the Epic Channel and later on the EpicOn mobile app. The only difference was the medium — first being the television, second — a mobile phone and third — my laptop. The free trial ended just like that. Not willing to bring an insult to Netflix I shared the credentials with few of my friends.
The underlying point is that I didn’t took much time to confront that nothing can beat the thrill of having just one channel to watch. I often go in retrospect to the time when the only film reviews were of my friends, parents or grandparents. I remember discussing films with my school friends during the Monday recess period. It was movie time on Sunday evenings and though the choice of films was often debatable, it kept most people at home.We didn’t had cable connection till I was in 6th standard then too I had this habit of going through the newspaper list of serials and movies to be telecast-ed on other channels. As foolish as one can get. Me and my siblings often watched the popular shows at a neighbour’s house.
Doordarshan was also about news, paired with the stellar voice of Neelam Sharma. Now that I am talking about DD news, it reminds of an incident from school days. I was in 5th standard and was struggling through a Maths problem. After trying the sum for multiple times I reached to my father for help. The television was on and he was listening to the evening news by Neelam Sharma. From the moment I entered the room till the time my father solved the problem, my eyes were stuck on the television screen. He asked me if I have understood the steps to the solution. I glanced at my notebook and then towards my father to nod my head in a ‘ No’ expression. What followed thereafter was a tight slap. He slapped me because he took notice of my dedication towards news while he was explaining me something of greater importance. I still don’t understand why besides not having an ounce of interest in the news programs, I kept glaring at her. Perhaps everything sounds much better and looks prettier when you have exams coming over.
The epics, ‘Ramayan’ and ‘Mahabharat,’ strengthened national integration as they were watched by almost everyone regardless of class, creed and religion. When I had only Doordarshan, I watched whatever was shown — sometimes even Krishi Darshan . Despite my primary interest in all things cinema, I was watching science shows too. Now I have shifted loyalties to channels they want me to see and not what I should be seeing. I feel sad for DD.
Sometimes while flipping channels I stop at DD National, to go back into the memory lane and rejoice over the theater dramas and Kathakali performances. It’s deeply saddening that no one cares to share there screen time with Doordarshan as it battles amongst the high TRP channels.
Thanks to the steep rise in technology, for we have much more means for entertainment than just TV — amazon prime, netflix, play station, iPads ..you name it and it’s there. But they together with their sheer uselessness, argumentative and nonsensical displays, help me reminisce about my past and remember the good old Doordarshan days.