These days, playing with remote control, toggling over channels to find something pleasing is as difficult as mastering all 5 course modules in a span of 8 hours on the last night of engineering semester exam. I tend to experience the same hardship on each day when I convince myself that television is more than just an Idiot Box! Shamelessly this device never fails to disappoint me. And, hence, within a few minutes of the premiere of the show, there is a ‘the end’ to it.

But the question remains, why do I hate it so much? Is it because now, I have better sources of entertainment, like say, social media sites, online gaming, music & videos. Or is it because I am bored of encountering ‘Suryavansham’ every alternate day on a prominent movie channel? So what, if we have some same old movies being repeatedly broadcasted, we always have an option to watch the latest affairs, changing times, what’s new in life! that these supposedly entertainment source has to offer. Yes, I am talking about our high expectation holder- News channels. So just when my mood is swayed towards getting to know the updates in and around the nation, I see this horrible conference being held between a number of famous celebrities, discussing over- Should Pakistani actors be banned from Bollywood?

At first, it grabs all my attention, as a result of which I happen to leave the milk boiling and eventually spilling over the container (For which I am later scolded- to be ignored as I have better topic to think about). Now, deeply indulged in the point of view of these so called famous personalities (so-called because, we have made them have this privilege), I could see me being the sixth important stakeholder for the meeting, apart from the 4 celebs & of course the news reporter, the mediator.

There we go, a series of ‘Thankyou’ coming from each mouth sitting across the wooden, beautifully crafted podium in the channel studio. No, this gesture of gratitude was not for the Martyrs who sacrificed their life fighting for the pride of the country, but for these self-proclaimed judgmental people called in to speak their opinions on what should be the attitude of our film fraternity towards the people working in here from Pakistan. That was 1st wicket down for me, now just hoping the remaining inning would be fruitful and worthy (of watching). There comes the first thankyou to our great Indian Army, which is fearless, prompt & just. The decisive nature and head on heels attitude has bagged more feathers to the security squad, especially after the Surgical Strikes we have been talking about lately. And this was finally a six from the first 10 mins of the discussion, making me pat on my back for the perfect utilization of my leisure time. Which certainly didn’t last for long, and there was another clean bowled in next few seconds of my celebration. It all happened when one of the renowned guest, spoke about why should it ever impact an artist & that it does not matter to which place the art belongs. The thought is noble, had it not been for a Pakistani artist tweeting some time ago, that for him Pakistan always comes first, more than anything India has given to him. That was a blow, and not one but 2 wickets went off for me. Another gentleman, a spear carrier movie actor & a famous theatre artist came up to opinionating that the soldiers lose their lives fighting because they chose to serve Indian Army & that “we never forced them”. Wuhhhh, battle lost! All wickets stumped with a single ball. No more to play now. I wanted to throw the beautiful vase lying beside my sofa on that ill headed person.

Burning in agony, I thought better to watch the real game of Cricket than this imaginary foul play. And immediately switched to Sports channel showing IND vs NZ test match. The New Zealand tour of India was much awaited, & despite all the happy faces, a part of me was still in the discussion, thinking of how divided are we in our opinions, thoughts, actions & choice. ‘United we stand, Divided we fall’ was the only thought in my head. What was the real meaning of thank you spilled out just a while back, from the same mouth?  Is it a mere word to say in regard to the sweat & blood our jawans are shedding for us, to live , rather live happily and discuss such irrelevant topics? I thought of keeping away from this well-known, Idiot box & with the same feeling I started to roll down the numbers on my remote. Unaware, that another word was about to lose its meaning. “I am Sorry”, said the same theatre artist, when informed of how people are trolling him on the internet and elsewhere for his insensitive comments on the army folks. Taken aback, I understood, words are nothing but a means to poll in others as per the situation. Be it a Sorry or a Thank you, none is significant until & unless dawned from the heart.

I am never going to complain to this lifeless machine placed in front of me for behaving like a stupid, because it isn’t the television that is idiot, it’s rather the emotionless, soon turning into a robot, people!

Published by Garima Mathur Upadhyay