Sunday, April 10, 2011


The water felt neither too cold nor too warm against her ankles. It was just perfect.

She loved the sweet-salty smell of the ocean. The sound of the waves against the rocks always filled her with an inexplicable calm. The beach was deserted and the zephyr was cool and playful. She felt at home there, like she always did. She could sit there for hours, with her knees close to her chest and her feet in the water.
The sky was still bluish-black. The faintest hint of orange began to appear. She came here often to watch the sun rise. With the sun there was no waiting, no anxiety and no hide and seek. It will show up soon enough, rising in its full glory and engulfing her in its warmth.

She watched the waves approaching with a slow melancholy. She stretched her palm out, waiting with an almost feverish excitement to feel the water against her palms. She closed her eyes as the cool and tingling sensation of the foamy water overpowered her. It was the shortest of moments before she felt the water recede away hastily, leaving her pained and abandoned. She didn’t know why but it made her think of her dad. She did not want to; so she quietly admonished herself and diverted her attention to the sky.

The first rays of dawn started to appear. Though she had watched the sun rise many times, it never stopped taking her breath away! She shared her happiest moments and her deepest anguish with the sea. She could clear her head there and have some respite.

The sun rose a little higher and she watched the sky change color. In a fleeting glance, everything looked just orange but she loved observing the multitude of other shades, which lied there hidden amidst the majestic orange. All the shades- from the palest of yellows to the brightest of reds!

The clouds seemed to be paying hide and seek around the rising sun and she could hear the chirping of the birds. The feel of a new day, with its infinite possibilities usually excited her, but not that day. Again she thought her dad. That silly fight they had earlier had been playing on her mind. Why was he so hard on her? When will she ever totally grasp how he felt about her?

She knew about all his unsaid feelings. He had loved her mother very dearly. When she died giving birth to her, he was left with a child whom he could never completely accept. It was not like he was nasty or hurtful. He did everything that was strictly expected of a parent but she always yearned for more. She constantly overworked herself to impress him, to earn his love, because she did not want him to think of her as a curse, as the monster that killed his wife.

He was not the kind of man who let his heart do the thinking. He did not believe in good night kisses or birthday rituals. He brought her up with all the values that he staunchly believed in. He treated her accomplishments and failures with the same composure. She felt that their relationship was full of complexities. It was something she always tried too hard to analyze.

She looked at the horizon. Yet again she was powerfully drawn to the scattered and thin lines of yellow, red and magenta. As she watched them slowly lighten and merge into the orange, she was suddenly overwhelmed with a strange feeling. Before she knew it, she could feel the tears welling up in her eyes. The ocean always gave her answers and she couldn’t believe she hadn’t seen it all along. It was like all the missing pieces of her life were coming together. She didn’t try to control the tears.

They were comforting tears of happy realization.
Now she could see it. It was all in her head and it had always been. Her constant need to earn his affection and the trepidation with which she treated every step in their relationship had blinded her from seeing the truth. Beneath that strict fa├žade were the wonderful shades of affection and concern- the subtle shades that her fear and apprehension had hidden from her. Instead of accepting his ways of expressing his love, she assumed it was hatred! How could he hate her, when she was the only reminder he had left of his wife? How could he hate her when he had devoted his entire life to making her life comfortable?

The sun was shining bright now and she wiped the tears away as she got up. She had to get back home quickly; she had a lot of amendments to make!

"Reality"(?) shows...

The room is not very well lit, you feel suffocated and cornered. Try as hard as you can, but there is just no appeasing the demons. As if one of them wasn’t good enough, there were two of them. The twin shiny bald heads don’t seem quite as amusing once their owners start to make you strip, dance, cry, beg, scream…

Why are thousands of people thronging to the auditions of a show that has captions like ‘Hell Down Under’ and ‘Shortcut to hell’? Why would you agree to make a fool out of yourself on national television and push your physical, mental and emotional limits to no end? Is it the money, the fame or just the opportunity to prove your worth? Though many participants cite the third, I guess it’s the cumulative enticement of the first two that makes many reality shows awfully attractive to today’s youth.

Those of you who follow Roadies 8 would definitely know Dev, the guy who has been auditioning in every damn city, every year, for six years! Now what would you call him- crazy, obsessive, determined, or simply possessed?
Roadies is just one among the several reality shows that have consistently been gaining popularity since the last decade. Now several channels are literally inundated with as many reality shows as soaps. Reality shows came as a refreshing change to the average Indian television viewer, who had long become accustomed to tear jerker TV serials. The inspiring display of talent, the liberating sense of achievement, the acceptance of failure, the possibility of a world where you could be whoever you want to be- all this and more captured in a reality show makes people connect well to them. Several people get carried away and forget that these programs just show “a slice of life portrayed by people who simply act like they are expected to act.”

Some old shows like KBC and Khulja sim sim (my favorites as a kid!) are actually quite amazing. They award the deserving (or the lucky) and are quite exciting to watch too. Also, reality shows based on talent like Jhalak Dhiklaja, Dance India Dance, Boogie Woogie, Indian Idol, India’s Got Talent, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge etc. provide a great platform to budding artists. But, I just wish they would tone down the drama a bit. Trying to show a romantic angle between participants, or judges screaming their heads off at each other or worse still, judges breaking down while praising a performance- there is no end to what they would do to add masala to the show and shoot up the TRPS. I’m not saying all of it made up, but there is no denying the fact that some of it is. I guess, as long as it is not overdone, it is good to watch.

Some of the adventure based reality shows like Khatron Ke Khiladi and Iss Jungle Se Mughe Bachao have quite a few takers. Personally, I would rather watch some crazy guy jump through a ring of fire or down a bowl of cockroaches than endure shows like Rakhi ka Swayamvar or Big Boss. It truly amazes me how pointless and pretentious some ‘reality’ shows can get!

What some shows portray as acceptable and maybe even ‘cool’ behavior is quite alarming. The more abusive, uncouth and twisted you are, the more attention you get and the better are your chances of winning. Young and impressionable people following such shows devotedly seem to think it is alright to back stab your competitors, manipulate others and use abusive language. Shows like Splitsvilla and Truth Love Cash show dating in such a nauseating angle! ‘Couples’ pledge their undying love after being on the show for 2 days and the double standards that most participants have/portray is beyond belief.

Though not everyone might agree, many reality shows make it a point to choose only good looking people to be a part of the show. Now, how fair that is for a show based purely on your talent or your survival skills is definitely arguable. The producers should try to be unbiased and give a great platform to the most deserving candidates. Also, I never really got this concept of viewers voting to decide who wins a reality show. Isn’t it obvious that the guy with a bigger social circle and whose friends and family try hardest to scrounge votes from everywhere would win? Then the whole point of the show is lost!

Many Indian shows are total rip offs of foreign reality shows (Most of them have copyrights). I just wish they would choose better ones to copy. Maybe shows like While You Were Out, 30 Seconds To Fame, What Not To Wear, Whose Line Is It Anyway or Project Runway.

From the look of it, Reality shows are only going to get bigger, better and glitzier. Whether you love it or you hate it, brace yourselves- because Reality TV is here to stay!