6 Jun 2007

82 arguments for the elimination of television

Right now there are about 82 channels on my cable TV (about 15 of them have such bad reception one can never watch them) but I only end up watching 10 of them regularly. I try to restrict my viewing to one or two hours a day but soon there is a withdrawal attack and I end up about six hours in front of the television once in ten days.

I think its time to pull the plug.

I was not always like this. As a kid my parents did restrict my TV viewing but those were the days of two channels Doordarshan. In college my love affair with television extended to over eight hours every day right from Santa Barbara to Yan Can Cook. Work did not bring any changes. After hours of shoot or edit, I could still watch mindless stuff late into the night. My brother rightfully concluded that no one objected then since it was all research for my career.

When I shifted out to stay alone, I decided not to buy a television. (I also changed the newspaper I had been with for almost 25 years but that’s another blog.) My friends were surprised but did not believe me. They thought I will buy one someday. I realized that I did not need one. Friends and books were much better company. Then I came across this book. I was now convinced that I did not need television at all. The contradiction was that I was producing a current affairs show for a news channel.

Like a cigarette addict who has kicked his habit I celebrated. This meant going out for more movies at multiplexes. More books. Marriage made no difference. Since my partner had the exact profile of a couch potato, she was more than willing to go with no television. 4 years without television we finally bought a set but did not get cable. This meant that we would only watch movies once or twice a week.

When I returned to Karol Bagh last year, I saw cable TV continuously after almost five years. Of course my body reacted. I went back to my old ways. We got hooked onto Big Boss. We though Discovery Travel and Living was good. Slowly we were back to an average of two to three hours.

Last week my cable guy came to collect the rental, he informed me that they are raising the fees. I told him to cut off the cable. He looked at me incredulously as if I was mad or something. Life without television? What are you going to do?

Maybe its time to let go of the box again.I have been on the other side. Maybe I’ll find something else to hang onto.

Read the book. It will open your mind to how television actually works.

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