This morning I overheard an hour and a half of three different soap opera playing on the Indian television while I Facetimed (it’s high time they make Facetime a verb) with my parents in India. Well, they talk to me during breaks, so it totally works for me. But the striking part about these series was that they all shared a common theme: quarrelsome families make good entertainment.
Now this was extremely surprising to me not because I was culture shocked, but because of the massive fan following these series enjoy. And to basically watch women plotting and pitting against each other, spineless men having no opinions and making a fool out of themselves, extra-martial affairs, young women being tortured for not having given birth to a boy and more such extremely disturbing stuff. What is more upsetting is how normal everybody in India thinks it is.
So i’ve decided to come up with ten things that they show on Indian television that absolutely never happen in real life. Here you go:
1) Women are absolutely not as shallow as they are portrayed to be in these soap operas. They don’t spend every minute of every day making plans and plotting against another woman.
2)Men have opinions. They don’t just listen to their mothers and their wives. They are perfectly capable of making sound and healthy decisions. And unlike the characters shown on Indian primetime television, not all men wear glossy suits to work and travel in fancy cars. And more importantly, not every man cheats on his wife!
3)Women don’t just dress up in their finest clothes every day! They don’t just watch television all day and they definitely don’t spend the better part of their lives in the kitchen. More than 80% of the women today work, have extremely fulfilling careers and enjoy an absolutely rocking social life.
4) The mother-in-law – daughter-in-law dynamics are just so outdated! I mean for heaven sake who talks like that anymore. And honestly, women are not as nasty as they are made out to be in this cheap shows.
5)Have you seen the houses these characters live in. They are like palaces in lalaland! Does anyone in Bombay have that kind of a house and imagine the kind of money you’d need to live the kind of a lifestyle they propagate in these show. People actually have their own bedroom in the series, there are spiral staircases running through the houses and helpers pacing to please the rich. Honestly, only the Ambanis and the Tatas can afford a lifestyle like that.
6) How about dead people walking back alive in the series and varying levels of memory loss. That kind of stuff only happens in the bizzaro world.
7)Don’t these characters ever take vacations? Because I’ve only ever seen them fighting with each other. Why not take a break, go to a peaceful place, come back all relaxed. ‘Honeymoon’ is the only time these Indian characters ever step out of their houses. Whoever thought you’d have to be married to take a vacation!
8)Let me break your myth, joint families are not the happiest families in the world. And these series amply prove that. You put three women together and add two womanizing men to the mixture and you have a perfectly messed up joint family in an Indian television series.
9)Not all teenage girls who wear jeans are a lost cause. Similarly not all young college going teenage boys get wasted! People have goals to achieve and careers to make. Not every teenager is a spoilt brat if he/she hums an english song.
10)Everything shown in these series is a serious attempt at pulling us backward. These shows are not meant to entertain, but they are meant to reinforce hypocritical cultural values that seriously ought to keep up with the changing times. They are making sure our women stagnant and get caught in the stereotypes.
There are far more important things out there that one need to learn and understand than to watch a woman seduce somebody else’s husband just to get back at her. Don’t waste your time.