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Posts Tagged ‘Surabhi’

kidstvHow did one survive growing up in the 90’s? Definitely not by sitting glued in front of television sets. I am continuously amazed at the amount of time my nephew and our neighbouring toddler, can put in just surfing TV channels. The two usually have major fights as to the merits of Pogo vs Nickelodeon or Chutti TV vs Disney, while all the adults try to act as peacemakers and make sneaky attempts to grab the remote.

When my precocious seven-year-old nephew started singing songs like KalyaNamdhan kattikittu Odi polaama?
illa Odi poyee kalyaNamdhaan kattikalaama?

thaaliyathaan kattikittu pethukalama?
illa pulla kutti pethukittu kattikalama
? I was stunned. (For those not conversant with Tamil, the song lyrics go something like: “Should we elope and get married or get married and elope? Should we get married and have kids or have kids and then get married?”)

Then he started singing, “Dey Kaiya vachittu summa iruda (The song goes on to baser levels, with people asking how it will be if someone touches them here, kisses them there…Shucks!)

Now he seems to know everything about the birds and bees, if one gauges his knowledge by the songs he sings. ramayana

I remember my TV watching episodes as a kid were quite innocent in comparison. The worst crime, me and my parents committed, according to my grandparents, was sitting at home on a Sunday morning, watching “Mahabarata and Ramayana” instead of going to church.

I once got a nice, tight slap from my mom for singing “Choli Ke Peechey Kya He, Chumri Ke Neeche Kya He” in front of a few guests. I got to know the meaning of the words only much later.

For me, I remember Simran best as the compere for Superhit Muquabla and Preity Zinta as the bubbly teen in Liril and Perk ads. On a rainy day, I would even settle down to watch “Vaiyalum vazhvum.”

I am a prime example of the media-bullet theory of influence. As a kid, my favourite treat was Maggie 2-minute noodles, because of the Maggie ads on Doordarshan. I would imagine I was Cuthbert Calculus when DD’s Turning Point came on air.

When the TV was not switched on, I would be reliving the adventures of Tintin & Snowy and Asterix & Obelix. Strange to think, that I have achieved my very first ambition – that of being a reporter, though my job profile doesn’t even remotely resemble the Tintin escapades. Influenced by writers like Kenneth Anderson, Gerald Durrell, Jim Corbett, Rudyard Kipling and James Herriot, my jungle-bookambitions vacillated between being a zoo warden, an animal trainer, a forest range officer, a veterinary doctor, a zoologist and a wildlife photographer. Currently, I have to satisfy myself with being a journalist and a pet owner.

Chitrahar, Chitramala, Oliyum Oliyum and the Sunday feature film was a must watch for the family.

Coming from a very orthodox and strict Pentecostal family, I would watch with a sense of guilt, but still thoroughly enjoy it all the same. Doordarshan introduced me to the world of Satayajit Ray, Charlie Chaplin, Malgudi Days, Sinbad the Sailor, The Jungle Book, etc. For me the transition from comics to novels, happened because of TV or the lack of it. I remember seeing the serial adaptation of Swiss Family Robinson and because I couldn’t wait till the next week to know what happened, I started reading the abridged version.

From there it was a short step to Robinson Crusoe and Children of the New Forest. Then Oliver Twist, Malgudi Days and Jungle Book was aired; inspiring me to read the original books.

Soon, I was hooked to books and started ignoring DD. I preferred reading Dennis the Menace to watching the movies, preferred reading Wizard of Oz to seeing the VCD, and preferred readingwizard-of-oz-dvdcover Gerald Durrell to watching Turning Point. Even now books hold a stronger lure; I prefer Harry Potter books to the movies and Edith Wharton’s original The Age of Innocence to Martin Scorsese’s adaptation.

Junoon was a sore point for my grandma. Being a Pentecostal, she found it hard to reconcile her liking for the melodrama. But some of my more canny Pentecostal friends have got around the bans imposed by pastors. Since pastors exhort them not to go to “theatres and watch cinemas,” many Christian families can be seen renting DVDs and watching them at home. I don’t how watching the same movie at home is a holier pastime than watching it with a crowd in a theatre.

Even though there would be regular interruptions on Doordarshan, people never switched off their television sets. I remember seeing my aunt once sitting in front of an empty screen, cutting vegetables and waiting for the broadcast to resume; her logic being she didn’t want to miss a second of Junoon.

Doordarshan often used the national integrity song “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” as space fillers. I remember getting goosebumps everytime I watched the song; used to make me feel so “patrotic and Indian.” Surabhi, was one of those programmes, I could watch without PG (Parental Guidance). After Kamal Hassan’s sensual song “Sivarathiri thookam yethu” was aired on Oliyum Oliyum, I couldn’t watch any filmy stuff on TV in the absence of my parents.

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