Mind you, I write this article with a straight face.
A sullen, straight face.
A sober, sullen, straight face.
A solemn, sober, sullen, straight face.
I say this, because what will follow is not just a revelation but a way of life, developed, adopted and adapted overnight.
I saw it and so did you. I mean, how Indian television grew four folds with the turn of the century. We got what we call the substance for our idiot box. 2000 was the beginning of a new era. An era of rona-dhona, rutna-manana, harna-jitna, dushmani karna, marna-pitna etc. It was an era of unity…ahem…Ekta!
Ekta brought us together, literally. Every member of every household would huddle and get glued to the TV sets initially by 10:00 pm, then by 9:00, much later by 8:00 and now as early as 7:30. Every one of us wanted to see how Parvati would save the day and the epic reunion of Mihir-Tulsi. Each one of us would try warning Tulsi of Payal’s dirty ploys but no, she’d never ever listen to us. We got our ararara ben Ketaki and the eternal Baa. These daily soaps struck a chord with the audience so much so that we took some uber cool lessons from them.
Here is a quick recap:
To begin with- Ghar ki bahu. Our ghar ki bahu (daughter-in-law) is always sundar (beautiful), sushil (righteous) and saubhagyawati (with a blessed married life). It doesn’t matter if she falls out of love and has an extra-marital affair or even if she is planning to remarry immediately after her first husband’s death, she will always be induced by morals and she will always be a saubhagyawati.
It is always about the love within a joint family. Conning, snooping, stealing, scheming against each other is also counted as love. Ah! The inseparables.
Marriage is a festival, not a ceremony. It can go on for weeks and months. A marriage can take up to 100 episodes, if need be, yet it will be as colorful as a day of Holi. A special invite will be sent to viewers without giving away the significant details like the date, time and venue.
Every Agarwali or Virani like khandaan will have at least one character which is either star-struck or beauty-obsessed. Ararara!
Polygamy isn’t immoral if you lose your memory. Mein kaun hun… mein kahan hun….?
The bahu of the household is a superwoman, wo ghar ki izzat pe aanch nahi aane degi…tiding tiding tiding.
This might be his second, third, fourth or perhaps, fifth marriage. He might have an extra-marital affair and possibly with his ex-wife. But he is not a creep. He loves his “current” wife, cares for her and will come back to her soon because wo sirf raste se bhatak gaye hain.
Your saas (mother-in-law) will always be your first family foe then comes the devranis and jethanis (sister-in-laws)
The names of the lead protagonist will always derive a mythological connotation- Ram-Priya, Mihir-Tulsi, Om-Parvati etc, etc.
The grandparents of the household will live to complete double century. Possibly, Sachin took private tuitions from them to overcome his nervous nineties!
Falling of a sindur dibbi or pooja ki thali is synonymous to a mishap which has struck or is about to strike!
There will always be a vamp, with loud makeup, wiggly eyebrows and a nasty habit of playing with her hair and is trying to steal the Husband!
Even if the family runs short of money, it will always have tears in abundance (thanks to glycerin!).
Everything can change with a small plastic surgery! In fact, a plastic surgery can be done by anyone and everyone at the cost of a penny.
If you happen to slap someone, the sound of the slap will echo for centuries. Iss thapad ki goonj tumhe sadiyon tak sunayi degi. To be precise, the hand will strike the recipients face later and the tish tish will be heard before that!
Shock is registered better with the use of sound effects, lightning and thunder. Tiding, tiding, tiding.
Since you cannot greet the audience with a hoarse voice, you’d rather try thinking in the head and express by wiggling your eyebrows. It always works.
There is always room for 20-30 years leap in time where the leads become grandparents, grandparents become great grandparents and great grandparents become great, great grandparents. Period.
Dying is entertainment. The leads can defeat death and re-emerge (with the help of plastic surgery, of course!) or perhaps the same actor will come back with a memory loss, all depending on the audience demand (read: TRP ratings).
Lastly, she who brought Ekta in us, she who has weird fashion sense (?), she who has a jumping-jack father and she who has a brother, who is always on a mute-vibration mode, is the “Godmother” of Indian television. Ssshhh we better not argue on that one!