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Monthly Archives: February 2008

Unfinished Impressions

Very misleading. Very frustrating. Very very irritating.

Sigh.

OK. So big deal. I like reality TV. I see a lot of it. In fact, I can safely say that other than some movie, I always end up watching some reality show on TV. I have favorites too, but that’s not the point. There is this one particular show which always leaves me…well, entertained. Yes. But also with a realization of disgust. The show, is called Roadies.

If I was the one to write a tagline for the show, it would go as – The show which brings out the worst in you. And by that, I think I have also made it clear why I call it a game just for the namesake. It does not have any of the qualities you end up learning at the end of any real game. The show has no team spirit, no trust on your team mates, no sportsmanship and absolutely no morality. It is in fact scripted to exactly bring out the crudest and the worst of all human tendencies. Backstabbing is usual and everyone is expected to do it. The smartest, and perhaps the most talented, are the ones to be voted out the first. It does not matter how well you perform in the tasks. Even the one who won all the tasks can lose out on pure whim. One wonders why bother about all the tasks anyway.

I imagine the show would have started as something actually connected to being Roadies. Roadies of course was used not as a plural to a Roadie but to what the English mind would first relate to the term. I guess being on the Road was the primary idea. Putting the participants through tough and demanding tasks and always keeping them on the move would have been the goal. In the end, the strongest – of the mind and the body – would survive and win. The weaker ones would not cope up and would be voted out for the betterment.

But what we did to our democracy, we ended up doing the same in Roadies. Regionalism spawned. Fair play was sacrificed at the altar of selfishness and greed. And in the end, the weakling won (or perhaps lost, as was evident in the last Roadies). Gradually the makers would have realized what is making their show work, and they just ended up fine tuning the same. It worked. Clearly. The show is presently in its 5th season. When I describe all this I wonder, did I just scorn at life? I hope not.

Rarely has any reality show seen such success in India. So, what has worked then? Clearly the show is pandering to our lower emotions and we are lapping it all up. Why? Because it is the easiest thing to do. It takes no effort to be vile, but all the energy and conscience to stay moral. Weak are those who give themselves away to low desires and bow to easy immoral paths and activities. Strength lies in the realization of the weakness and overcoming it. It is a principle which is, alas, easier to quote than practice.

Nevertheless, Roadies is a fun show to watch. More so because of the third party view to the machinations of a scheming group where everyone thinks they are outsmarting the other, while only demeaning themselves.

Note: My favorite reality shows: The Amazing Race, Fear Factor and The Amazing Race!

Often when I am to my own thoughts, I can pick out the musical in my life. When I listen to music only as a secondary activity, when I am observing something else, I can make out the synchronized movements of everyone and everything around me. The trees sway to the tune I am listening. The boys on the playground hop, skip and jump to the beats of the song. The women on the road are walking in a rhythm, their saarees and chunnis flying behind them, and all laugh on queue when the musical notes make a switch.

Apart from the perfect choreography, every other aspect of theatrics is also taken care of. I can see that the costumes are perfect for every character. The stage is brilliantly set. The props are to perfection. All playing their part in the story of my life. I am the central character of course. It is me who pops from chapter to chapter; sometimes willing, sometimes led to; some mine and some I become audience to.

It is a wonderful life – happy, tragic, mundane, tense, all at once. Sometimes the music stops and the fun stops too. It is only when I hear the music again and everyone falls back into the rhythmic notes, that the smile comes back on my face and the musical continues.