Indian television

Channel surfing: When light snacking, don’t forget to look at the label

Lifestyle shows don’t offer much of an escape from biases and clichés.

The news is never good news anymore, so I can’t blame you if you’re also flicking channels on a weekend, looking for something light to snack on. Appointment viewing is passé, but there is something liberating about choosing from among a pre-selected list and not having any control on what’s on there. Also, sometimes binge-watching gets tiring.

So if Gotham is my guilty pleasure when I’m feeling particularly brain-fried (and I’ll blame whichever airline it was that introduced me to the show last year), Masterchef Australia has more than its share of everybody hooked – it’s beautifully shot, choreographed and the in-built drama, no less.

One morning, after a small dose of Masterchef Australia, I tuned in to the Tara Sharma show, having only belatedly discovering her online on YouTube. I had enjoyed one or two episodes and been impressed by the production quality, not to mention the star power – she always seems to get some celebrity guest or the other. This should be fun, I thought.

I’m not sure what’s getting lost in transition from YouTube to Star World, but it was saccharine stuff.
I tuned in just as there was a “Pampers challenge” with two men, a woman and three teddy bears. No prizes for guessing who won that challenge? (The woman, who turns out to be the very talented Genesia Alves). At that point, I missed regular astons, and didn’t know who was who.

The hostess earnestly asked her three guests to give tips or advice to others on parenting. (Here’s a tip, gratis: Don’t do it! No one wants your unsolicited advice.)

But loosely paraphrased, Alves said, “Give the dad the opportunity to see how much fun it is.” One of the male guests said something along the lines of, “For every father, make a good team with your wife, don’t doubt your wife. Also, something about how that partnership is what every child needs.”

I would never have known.

That question again, but a different interrogator

I flicked back to another channel to ease my nerves, coming back only to see part of Sharma’s interview with Sonam Kapoor, who in the teaser undoubtedly piqued viewer interest with a story of being a brat on set as a child. She threw a tantrum because her shoelaces came untied, so she insisted on sitting on dad Anil Kapoor’s lap and settled down only after he tied the laces for her.

I’m sure the rest of the film crew appreciated that.

Normally, I’m quite a fan of Kapoor’s candour and charming laugh. So I enjoyed hearing about how she’s been independent from a young age. She was apparently living at home but after 18 didn’t get an allowance from her father. She’s suitably vague on whether her parents were strict – they didn’t allow to her to do some stuff, but if she really wanted to do it, she could. And she appreciates the boundaries and lessons. Her message to all daughters out there is to listen to your parents, learn from their mistakes as well as their triumphs, pointing out that as kids we tend to think we know better, and focus on their mistakes.

That’s true, enough.

But just when I thought we’d find some suitably anodyne words with which to wind down, Sharma asks Kapoor, “Do you have maternal instincts? Would you like to be a mom, soon-ish?”

She’s met with that trademark tinkle of laughter and again, suitably vaguely, I’m not even married yet. She’s asked, “What kind of husband would you like?”

I’m almost convinced that the range of furniture on sale from PepperFry (the main sponsor of the show) includes various models – the hunk; the intellectual; the fellow actor. Sadly, no such display was brought out. Kapoor giggled a bit and talked about wanting to be married at some point, and also said that whenever she does have a child, she will be a hands-on mother and not be one of those mums who delegate all that motherly work, or what-not. Sigh.

Considering how much grief and brouhaha there was about Rajdeep Sardesai asking Sania Mirza that question – rightfully so, to some extent, as he himself realised while apologising go her – why is it alright when it’s women asking other women? Or do we really not expect much more from our actors and celebrities than to play that ultimate role, mother- or wife-in-waiting?

Amrita Tripathi is an author and recovering news junkie. She can be reached @amritat.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Children's Day is not for children alone

It’s also a time for adults to revisit their childhood.

Most adults look at childhood wistfully, as a time when the biggest worry was a scraped knee, every adult was a source of chocolate and every fight lasted only till the next playtime. Since time immemorial, children seem to have nailed the art of being joyful, and adults can learn a thing or two about stress-free living from them. Now it’s that time of the year again when children are celebrated for...simply being children, and let it serve as a timely reminder for adults to board that imaginary time machine and revisit their childhood. If you’re unable to unbuckle yourself from your adult seat, here is some inspiration.

Start small, by doodling at the back page of your to-do diary as a throwback to that ancient school tradition. If you’re more confident, you could even start your own comic strip featuring people in your lives. You can caricaturise them or attribute them animal personalities for the sake of humour. Stuck in a boring meeting? Draw your boss with mouse ears or your coffee with radioactive powers. Just make sure you give your colleagues aliases.

Pull a prank, those not resulting in revenue losses of course. Prank calls, creeping up behind someone…pull them out from your memory and watch as everyone has a good laugh. Dress up a little quirky for work. It’s time you tried those colourful ties, or tastefully mismatched socks. Dress as your favourite cartoon characters someday – it’s as easy as choosing a ponytail-style, drawing a scar on your forehead or converting a bath towel into a cape. Even dinner can be full of childish fun. No, you don’t have to eat spinach if you don’t like it. Use the available cutlery and bust out your favourite tunes. Spoons and forks are good enough for any beat and for the rest, count on your voice to belt out any pitch. Better yet, stream the classic cartoons of your childhood instead of binge watching drama or news; they seem even funnier as an adult. If you prefer reading before bedtime, do a reread of your favourite childhood book(s). You’ll be surprised by their timeless wisdom.

A regular day has scope for childhood indulgences in every nook and cranny. While walking down a lane, challenge your friend to a non-stop game of hopscotch till the end of the tiled footpath. If you’re of a petite frame, insist on a ride in the trolley as you about picking items in the supermarket. Challenge your fellow gym goers and trainers to a hula hoop routine, and beat ‘em to it!

Children have an incredible ability to be completely immersed in the moment during play, and acting like one benefits adults too. Just count the moments of precious laughter you will have added to your day in the process. So, take time to indulge yourself and celebrate life with child-like abandon, as the video below shows.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of SBI Life and not by the Scroll editorial team.