I called and spoke to my parents the other day.
It is always a pleasure to chew the fat with the old father. We were talking of this and that – me trying desperately to get a word in edgeways. Grandfather and grandson talk like they are releasing cannon balls from the top of the fort, and that they must somehow made it heard to the populace 1000’s of metres below about the cannon balls before releasing them. People with voices, even like mine, sound like bleaters on the side. Finally, Dusty Crophopper, that wonderful firefighter who is also a racing world champion and works as a crop-duster (if a plane can be that useful, why can’t we?), needed to tend to a fire rescue operation and flew off with his owner and I was allowed to carry on talking to my father.
We spoke of this and that and the father took to criticizing the evening leeches who sucked blood and happiness from his being, namely evening Tamil soap operas.
“Well…nobody is asking you to watch them.” I said fairly. “You have so many channels, you can always watch National Geographic.” I said.
To which the mother quipped, “Given a choice he has the news going on in endless loops, and all day long there is apa-sagunam(bad omens). Somebody murdering somebody – all on Friday evening. Who wants that? ”
I wonder if it is okay on other days for bad omens, but know better than to ask her that. The mother has a special place in her heart for Fridays. She has complex algorithmic suggestions that would do well with some refactoring. The lot of us are constantly flouting these rules, with or without knowledge, and getting in trouble. I try to classify them simply.
“Well..you could watch the financial news then.” I said. I never learn I tell you, I must be as dim-witted as a drunk banana slug. There is no point in providing suggestions, for people are going to do exactly as they please, but I blunder on happily every time.
Anyway, there was a small scuffle at the other end of the phone about financial news and stock markets during which time I was called on an emergency rescue operation of Dusty Crophopper who flew so fast, he crash landed behind the sofa with the owner in close pursuit.
By the time I was back to the conversation, the father was in a melancholy mood. “Wasting time is so easy these days”, he said. I agreed. He continued on, “It is increasingly sad to expect the younger generation to overcome monumental demands on their time to waste it and use it towards something constructive. When you were young, there was only a television to grapple with.”
The television was nothing to grapple with when I was young. There was no grappling there. Anyone who has spent even an hour watching “Vayalum Vazhvum” at 6 p.m. will provide ready testimony to the fact that it was phenomenally more rewarding to pretend to study. The benefits were multi-fold. You could drool and day dream all you wanted, you had your room to your own devices and authority figures off your back, for weren’t you studying? Also, when you came out refreshed, you sat yourself down to a wonderful dinner where nobody told anybody about the benefits of hard work, because the poor child has just been working really hard. It was marvelous.
I told him so and he laughed heartily.
In today’s world, I’d be sorry to be a kid laden with homework, when there are more Television programs than people have the energy and time for.
Quote: The number of new shows this year could, for the first time, surpass the 400 mark.
The laughs from comedy sitcoms are far more numerous than ones your own friends and family can come up with around the dinner table.
When Television gets boring, there is a wide variety of apps and games to amuse oneself for we live in a psychological bubble.
Link here: for tech bubble vs psychological bubble.
This time it’s not a financial bubble. It’s a psychological one. The psychological bubble makes you think that because you can code a photo app or design an algorithm to get me to the airport a little quicker, that also qualifies you as an expert on every other topic.
As if all this was not temptation enough, there is also the phenomenal lure of facebook, twitter, youtube, pinterest and instagram.
It is enough to make anyone feel helpless. I sometimes feel like a mute spectator to a torrential river devised to distract you from everything including distractions.
Which brings me neatly to the most entertaining hour of my social media simulation experiment. Coming up next – stay tuned.