Life on Indian TV serials

I’m back home at Bangalore and loving it. The initial college-leaving blues are almost gone. Cut to the chase….I have lunch at home, during which time my mom decides to watch this Hindi TV serial which until this afternoon I thought was ‘Kyonki Saas ki bhi kabhi bahu thi…’ or something like that. Turns out this is totally different and has a totally different plot. Points of parity are as follows:

1. Everyone lives in a joint family in a palatial house and there are at least 4 generations alive. In case they die, we bring them back to life thanks to some unnatural miracle or mix up at the morgue. And why do they all live in palaces. Have they not heard of a 2 BHK apartment and a nuclear family?

2. There is always some sort of celebration which is one among a wedding, diwali or Holi. I almost lose count as to how many sons or daughters keep getting married. The house is always decked up. Turns out someone’s husband, generally the youngest daughter’s, was killed in a car crash and she is marrying his best friend who had expressed his love for her at the last wedding (I think it was the grand aunt’s wedding), for which the great grandfather, threw him out of the house in full view of all the guests. For which our hero swore to be her husband someday. Co-incidentally, while diwali celebrations were on, this woman’s husband died in a car crash. Well, this is the vague story I figured out from the last few days.

3. At any point in time, the women at home are fully decked with jewelry and the works. Even the one who woke up at night to get a glass of milk as she was not feeling sleepy seemed to be dressed in a blue saree, adorned with jewelry and a hint of makeup. The best part is that her hair is so prim and proper, completely straight and unruffled. I’d like to see any normal girl pull that off in real life. And at all times the men are in designer Sherwani, even if they just woke up. The younger boys are generally all mama’s boys and the girls are shy demure people perpetually helping out in the kitchen or serving the grandparents. Doesn’t anyone in the house wear jeans, a Metallica T shirt and headbang?

4. Except for the grandparents (and great grandparents referred to as Baa…yes….that is what they call her…Baa….like in the poem…you know…the one with the other Baa and the Black sheep), everyone are fit and fine. It’s almost like watching 300. All the women have very good figures and none of the men seem to have any signs of putting on weight, not to mention they don’t seem to have issues with a receding hairline or graying hair. Yet, none of them seem to be on a diet. Breakfast is always aalo ke parathe and dinner is a 5 course meal. The helper at home, no matter what age is always called Ramu.

5. There is always one family member who is recovering from some accident or trauma and goes around the house with a plaster. There is always one man who is having an affair with the house maid. He normally gets caught on the day of his daughter’s wedding. There is always one woman who is part of the family but wants to see the family business go down because the two elder borther’s gave her husband a lower share of the profits due to which he committed suicide. One woman is always jealous of the good looking girl whose wedding is going on and does her best to sabotage it.

6. The part that annoys me the most is that everyone is so well behaved. All the kids heed every word their parents tell them and absolutely adore the grandparents. They will even support all the uncles and aunts whole heartedly and never talk ill behind their backs. All the hostility is kept within the generation. None of the issues seem to target under-age drinking, smoking or pre-marital sex. Kids are merely witnesses in these feuds until they get married after which all the drinking and smoking begins because they wished they had some pre-marital sex because their parents married them to some goody-two shoes to whom we need to give a manual. In a real Indian family, a real dysfunctional Indian family, the kids are absolute rebels, daughter-in-laws tolerate their mother-in-laws only so much, and all wives keep telling their husbands to lose weight. This is some uber-psycho world from the depths of the crazy mind of Ekta Kapoor.

7. Whenever there is some sort of feud in the family, mostly a mistaken situation where a woman is seeing coming out of the bedroom of a man (not her husband) at early hours of the morning and everyone jumps to the conclusion that they are doing it, the entire family seems to stand there with an expression that is supposed to be a mix of anger and disbelief…but to me it just looks like they’re thinking ‘I could so do with an Eno salt right now…this gas is killing me’. By the way, the woman had stepped into the man’s room to take the only needle and thread….repeat…ONLY needle and thread in that entire palatial house, to repair her husbands kurta before he woke up. Poor girl is generally court marshaled by the palace elders. It almost looks like the sentencing of Zod to the Phantom zone by the Kryptonian elders and Jor-El in Superman I.