The continuing series of glorious life lessons that Zee, Star and Sony TV teach us everyday. This is why Soap Operas are Educational.
Let’s face it. Our nation is in a state of crisis. All the social, cultural and economic parameters that used to once herald the arrival of the Golden Age in India now ominously suggest that we might be slipping into a Bronze one instead. Our current stock of leaders, the old as well as the fossilized (those are the only two kinds around), are hardly likely to be the booster rockets that our country needs. What we need, instead, is a human Duracell, someone who can re-ignite our inert national circuitry. We need a mortal Drainex who can unclog our moribund economy. We need a living-and-breathing Sensodyne who can de-sensitize the ultra-sensitive moralistic psyche of the country.
(Apologies for the bad puns, but should you really be getting perplexed by my innocuous product placements when our country is facing Desperate Times?)
So, in these Desperate Times, we need to look for something that is pulsating even more gloriously than Salman Khan’s cat like 150 year old film career. What is it that is still resonating with the bourgeoisie as well as the peasant? What gives our people hope on a daily basis – that everyone will soon become happy, pretty and moneyed? The answer, clearly, is the Indian TV Serial. Here are some golden lessons learned from them that our government must deploy immediately.
The Mother (In Law) of all Remedies. Ensure the entire government machinery is headed by Saases. This is a checkmate move of which there can be no rejoinder. Saases are extremely hard, if not impossible to please. With them heading all ministries and the entire bureaucracy, we are guaranteed that everyone will be on their toes all the time trying to do a good job. Praise will be conveyed occasionally by way of a wry smile, but angst will be liberally dispensed via silent treatments, caustic remarks, or worse still – ‘The Look’.
Welcome to Swarn Mahal. Make all government offices bright and shiny – just like a TV serial set. There should be garishly ornate fittings and furnishings all around. Sartorially speaking, Gold will be the new Black. The main hall at each government office must have a giant staircase, though it is not important whether it leads to any place or not, it should just go ‘upstairs’. This kind of grandeur will serve two purposes. First, the staff working in these departments will be thrilled to report to work each day (never mind the perpetually cheerless boss). After all, who would mind coming to such an opulent office by 11 am every morning, and staying until, say, 4 pm? Secondly, for all visitors, the endless wait to see their files being pushed at a snail’s pace from bedecked desk to bedecked desk will, at least, be pleasant. A million times better than the drab, dirty, cobweb ridden offices of yore – this all round conviviality will give a perception that a lot is being accomplished even if it that is not the reality.
And while they are dabbling in grandeur, the government will also be providing heavily embroidered sarees to all women employees, and elaborately sequined achkans to the males. Travelling by Metro and buses will provide exciting adventures on a daily basis.
Roti, Kapda aur Achcha Pati. The perpetually depressed citizenry needs to stop focusing on mundane issues like rise in prices, the downward spiral of law and order, black money and crumbling infrastructure. Why worry about these when they could spend their time being disturbed about happier topics such as – how will I find a good husband/ wife despite my dark complexion, or how will I find a good husband/ wife now that I am over 30, or how will I find a good husband/wife since I am a very, very nice person and a qualified doctor to boot, and so on. All that the political leaders need to do is channel the correct kind of anxiety and, suddenly, real world problems around us will start to look trivial.
It takes a village. Where is the real vote bank these days? It’s in the villages. The TV serial world realized that years ago. So, it is best if we shifted the focus of the government and all its programs to suit Rural India only. Cities don’t matter, they are going to seed anyway. In fact, nothing could be better than to create a government program that makes all our cities look like dusty villages in just a couple of years. Switching off the power and water supply completely should do the trick. For the citizenry, it is advisable to stay ahead of the curve – book a ticket to Pushkar and buy your own cattle today.
Déjà View. As you may have noticed, serial after serial and episode after episode look exactly the same. At times, one wouldn’t know which serial one was watching if it weren’t for the giant bindi design on the evil bhabhi’s forhead. This sense of déjà vu produces a kind of numbness leading people to think they are not worthy of anything better. After all, who remembers Buniyaad, Yeh Jo hai Zindagi or Tamas in the times of Meri Saas Ki Maar Mein Bhi Pyaar Hai, Mera Dharam Mere Pati Ki Charanon Ki Maalish, or Sada Suhaagan Barah Saal Ki Umar Se etc. This drug is way better than opium! Whatever trivial matter the government decides to peddle, it must do so ad nauseam. That will keep people intoxicated and effectively snuff out any absurd pursuits of anything worthier in life.
Theory of Adaptable Relativity. In the new paradigm, the country is bound to devour time and gallop ahead at incredible speed. Real life need not be any different from TV serials, where time fast forwards by several years in a matter of days, proving beyond doubt that Einstein penned his theories about time and distance after several rounds of whiskey. This theory of, let’s call it Adaptable Relativity, works most productively when things are not going so well. With a dramatic poof, we can all pretend that we are now 5-10-15 years in the future – and the current problem has miraculously vanished. Imagine your 8 year old brat already done with university and ready to earn his own living – all that money and heartache that you will save by not having to deal with schools, colleges, video games and teenage petulance!
Lesson Learned – After reading the above, what can possibly hold us back from staging dharnas outside Ekta Kapoor bungalow, asking, nay begging her to take over as Prime Minister? It is time for the dynastic rule of Jeetendra’s family to begin. Long live the Republic of India, sponsored by Balaji Productions.
Previous learnings can be revisited here –