Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Can the brain drain with an overdose of mega serials?

It has been over a week since I touched down in singara Chennai. Several things have changed in this city since my last visit here. One can get pretty much everything here for the right price. But the most outstanding change of all is the effect of the television ‘mega serials’ on our society.

Mega serials have revolutionized the social behavior of our society. It is truly an amazing phenomenon. Staying glued to those intensely melodramatic serials with a total disinterest and disregard to the world around it defines the society of today. Take any household in Chennai. Between 6 and 10 pm, you can’t pry anyone from the TV screen with a 2 feet crowbar if your life depended on it. If the Great God Ganapathy ever chooses to make an appearance before a devotee to grant a boon, I hope he can squeeze in sometime between the ‘Kolangal’ and ‘Enge brahmanan’ to do it or else he would be in for a rude shock.

Take, for example, the other day when I called up my aunt around 7.00 pm to chitchat. It wasn’t a conversation but a monologue. I talked while she watched TV barely hearing a word that I said. I could have announced that a volcano just erupted around the block leading to the entire neighborhood evacuating and she would have mindlessly said “yes yes good Meena”. After a long monologue, I got tired of hearing my own voice and hung up. I also heard a true story where someone left a restaurant and his family in it without quite finishing his dinner in a hurry to catch up with ‘Abhi’ in Kolangal who was returning on that day’s episode from abroad.

Watching the world fall madly in love with those serials, I decided to look for myself what the allure was. It was mind-boggling. If there was a clearly defined plot in any of them, I couldn’t find it. Most are family dramas highlighting predominantly dysfunctional families. Abortions, murder conspiracies, jealous lovers/husbands, adopted kids seeking their birth parents, damsels in distress waiting for their knights in shining armor are the distant mirages of plot in these Indian soap operas. That is not all. The same actors are cast across all the serials making it impossible to remember their many different character names and their roles in the various dramas. The actors are often overly made up with very little talent for acting and would do better with a modeling contract to showcase the recent fashions in clothing and jewelry than an acting one. Yet millions of people stay tuned day after day to follow the lives of these characters in hope of experiencing a few vicarious thrills through their lives. What is this magnetism? What draws our society to this brain-damaging mediocrity of an entertainment is the curious answer-defying question of this era.

Despite all this, there is one unshakable truth. No single thing in this world holds as much power over its inhabitants or brings them together as a unified identifiable group as this ‘mega serial’ phenomenon. Go figure!

-Meena Sankaran


கவிநயா said...


Meenakshi Sankaran said...

Welcome Kavinaya. Thank you for stopping by. :-))

sivadeep said...

You can't change them. They got so immersed in these serials...they don't take care of the kids education too..

Nithya Praveen said...

Oops i cud relate to ur post so much.My mom is addicted to these megaserials.Even now when i call her anytime between 7 and 9:30,she wudnt talk very well....i keep telling her,tht she doesnt even give importance to an ISD call:)Great post...very well written.

Meenakshi Sankaran said...


Welcome to my blogpage. When I sat down to write about the megaserials, I had a feeling that a lot of people would relate to my view. Thank you for stopping by.

Meenakshi Sankaran said...

Thank you Nithya. More than half of Chennai is like your mom and my mom. :-))

rekhas kitchen said...

100% right Meenakshi they can't change my patti will come in this mega serials fan s list in that time she even don't want to get up from her seat and if any body talk little loud in that time she will get very angy oohhhhh these mega serials.......X-(

vgr said...

Hi Meena,

I have been thinking for long to find a way to stop people from watching mega seriels. I guess 'thirudanai parthu thiruntha vittal thiruttai ozhika mudiyadu'


Meenakshi Sankaran said...

Rekha and Viji,

Welcome! Glad to know that you enjoyed the post.

yeshu said...

ya very true!
even my family ppl watch serials and let milk flow out of the stove..
anyways, I’ve been reading your blog.. it’s very creative! I’m not a very consistent blogger, but I like to browse through and read other people’s blogs and comment on them!
Your blog is very unusual… nicely designed, and awesome posts!

I find interesting blogs now & then.. But it’s difficult to keep contacts or converse with all the authors regularly. There are time constraints of course. .! but we’ve got to click on the blogger icon, go to the comments page, pass a word verification test and then put in our comments n views… one cant be doing all this for so many blogs!

That’s why my cousin and I decided to create some place.. like a website; where many bloggers can come together, discuss about their blogs, give their views on topics of common interests and get their articles read!

I wish you would become a part of the group too!
We could chat, discuss and have a lotta fun!

Anyways, keep writing.. looking forward for more of your posts..


Meenakshi Sankaran said...

"Your blog is very unusual… nicely designed, and awesome posts!"

Yeshu, thank you for taking the time to say such encouraging words about my blog page. I love writing and I am very glad that you find it interesting. Stop by again soon. :-)

நாகு (Nagu) said...

hi meena aunty this is hari! my grandpa does the exact same thing, except he usually has a snack with him. How do I know this? I always have to bring him his pillow to cushion his back.

Meenakshi Sankaran said...

@ Hari - Most grandmas and grandpas in India, like your grandpa, have adopted television soap operas to be their next of kin as all their real life kinsmen have gone off to far away lands in search of opportunities. (Gosh, I sound like a medieval scotsman. I wonder why??!!) So instead of laughing and crying with us their families, they now laugh and cry with the characters on the soaps.

Gosh, that makes me feel like something you flick off of your shoes.