From the time I entered my home as a newly wedded bride (hee, hee feeling funny to write newly wedded bride) I was exposed to the harsh realities of life. My hubby was an addict..…………nahhheeeeeeeee(hindi movie style)…….yes, a TV addict. Everything, oops sorry, almost all home activities revolved around the TV. He used to leave for work at 7; he didn’t have time 2 eat breakfast, leave alone time to switch the TV on. But after he came back from work, he’ll freshen up & go straight to switch the TV on & it would be on till we went to sleep.
He would surf thru all the channels atleast 3 times before he settled on any 1 program. When the program breaks for advertisements he’ll continue his surfing. And just suppose I tell him to put channel no 23, he’ll start from channel no.1…..go thru each channel, wait for the blue screen to turn to the program it is airing, watch it for 15 secs, then switch to the next channel. By the time he reaches the channel I want to watch, the program would be half-over. Initially I used 2 tear my hair out in frustration, later on I got smarter. 10 mins before my program started I would tell him which channel, then go in to make coffee. All the while I am making coffee I would follow-up on it otherwise he would continue his way. By the time I was back he would have reached channel no.21, and then it was just the question of waiting it out. If he still showed reluctance to put the channel, then I would take away the remote from him. But it didn’t end there. He would keep commenting humorously about the characters of my program, distracting me thru’out(but the comments would be funny) & finally would take the remote away from me.
The oddest point about his TV watching is that he doesn’t have a single favorite program that he watches on a daily basis. He is not fanatic about sports nor is he addicted to any reality shows. The regular TV serials bore him to tears & news channel don’t really interest him unless they r interviewing some worthy personality. Sometimes I catch him watching some documentaries but it is not a regular thing. Now that I actually think of it, he likes to watch comedy scenes. Ohhhhh yes he loves it. And mind u, these comedy scenes are re-runs which he would have watched 100’s of times but he’ll still watch it like he’s watching it for the 1st time. Every time the character gets punched (yes, punched in the comic scenes, Malayalam movies r famous for it), my husband holds his stomach as if he feels the pain. Sometimes I just watch him analytically. He seems normal in every other way. I mean, how many times can u laugh (uproariously at that) at Innacent saying “enddddde ammmaaae”(an actor saying a dialogue in Malayalam movie). Then I console myself saying that atleast he is not imitating them in real life (imagine if he went around pushing out his hair at the back of his neck like Mamotty in the “The King”, or like mohanlal “mone dinesha” ……..ooooh I’ll die of embarrassment).
I used to get really upset with him in the beginning regarding this issue. I wanted him to spend the time with me. Talk to me. I never was a mindless TV watcher. Yes I watched certain programs, but not endlessly. So I couldn’t relate to his kind of attachment to the TV. But as time passed I realized that it was his way of winding down at the end of the day. Sometimes he just sat there & watched the figures flickering on the screen while his mind was working on some software problem. Other times he took a nap with the TV on. Hopes of weaning him away from the idiot box gradually faded. I accepted the elemental role TV played in his life. I left him to it. I slowly started keeping myself busy with the kids, computer, crosswords, sudoku, even baking.
Soon, I felt a difference within myself. I was no longer clock-watching or holding it against him for lolling on the sofa. In short I was at peace (ok, ok I still got mad with him, once in a while, but just, once in a while).
But now all this TV watching has rebounded on him. The kids have taken after him. After all blood is thicker than water (actually I’m not sure if this idiom relates to the situation but it gives me the CT’s to pen it down :-D). Nowadays he walks in2 the kitchen while I’m cooking, I look up surprised & then automatically tune my ears 2 what TV program is going on……u guessed right, it will be a cartoon. The kids would have ganged up on him & wrestled the control off him. He smiles ruefully & gives me a hand in what I’m doing. And u know what, we even mange to hold a full-fledged conversation(ok, ok jes kidding, but u get my point).
2 weeks back we sent our bigger TV back to India thru cargo along with other stuff. We have another TV in the bedroom so v planned to keep that out in the living room for the time-being. The kids had opposed the move vociferously (ie. Taking away the BIG TV & replacing it with smaller version). The strength of their disappointment & frustration had taken him aback. He then took a decision not to place the TV in the living room till the exams were over. The first 3 days were bad. Both father & kids were lost without the TV. Kids were so fidgety & drove us mad with their hyperactivity. Their father seemed so lost. Everytime he sat on his favourite chair, my eyes would go to the gaping hole where the TV was kept. I would smile & waggle my eyebrows at him. He would smile back good-naturedly.
It’s been 2 weeks now. And we came out of it in flying colors. The kids have taken to coloring, reading and eating my head. Their father reads stories to them, plays silly games with them, even teaches them for their exam & wonders of wonders, he talk with me about work and other consequential-inconsequential stuff. As for me, I’m shaking my head in wonder. Every once in while, my better-half manages to surprise me.
All the above happened over a period of 8 yrs. So all u people out there whose husbands fanatically watch the idiot box, don’t lose hope or your temper. Keep the peace, occupy yourself with something constructive. It may not make a difference immediately but always keep the bigger picture in mind. Then everything falls into place.
Ofcourse, I’m not exactly believing all this will last for ever coz the exams finish today :-(
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