February 2, 2012

Why I hate the Idiot Box

Hating the television is my latest obsession. But to be an involuntary passive viewer / listener to it is a compulsion. It makes me go numb. I can seriously feel the degeneration of my cognitive and motor abilities creeping in considering the amount of crap that I witness on television every coming day.

Blame it on the lack of space or loud volumes or whatever. If your TV is off then you can well be able to hear at least 2 more TVs from the neighbourhood – clearly! At ANY given time... needless to say that. I used to think TV is played on a high volume only in my house but NO. I think people’s hearing abilities have decayed overall. Especially in a city like Mumbai where one is subjected to innumerable sounds (read noises) all day and all night.

It is 1:00 AM right now and the TV is off. The world is supposed to have slept. But there is still no quiet. There is some music playing somewhere in the building, some aunty talking over phone and there is this deafening sound of the vehicles running on the flyover close-by and the occasional dhaddad-dhaddad of the local and outbound trains which pass from under this flyover. So there is no absolute calm and quiet. I sometimes wonder how people living in buildings close to the flyover survive!!!

But the ears of the Mumbaikar have become immune to all the noises. Anyway, coming back to our topic on hating the television – its content! Much has been said and written on how the ‘quality’ of the programmes have gone down and how there is no real ‘talent’ ‘these days’, etcetera. I don’t have drastically different views than the general ones. More or less the same ones. Sheesh! I don’t even feel like talking about that now. I have been driven to a point of sustained irritation.

But you have to give credit to the TV for letting me develop a great skill – closing the ears. Yeah! I am now able to work on utterly serious and intense topics even with the TV blaring beside me. I can hear everything else except the TV. It’s like you know – automatic (wink). My hearing sensors do not allow TV sound to enter my brain. They act like a firewall, an anti-virus... even if I am looking at the TV screen. My mom keeps going in and out of the room and when she asks me what happened in that serial while she was away, I go blank. I really can’t answer her.

Hmm, that said, TV as an entertaining medium has added undue stress to the brain, eyes, ears and overall the body since there is little or no physical activity while watching TV. But it is here to stay and we have to develop our own coping mechanisms (like my anti-viral TV sound-proof ears). I am now training my eyes to not register what they see on that damned tube. How they progress? Let us wait and watch.