Saturday, February 20, 2010

Who watches Sun TV?

We have had Sun TV at home for the past two years. This was the only Tamil channel available overseas. I wanted to hear some Tamil spoken when I got home. So we got it. But, I rarely ever watched it except for some good movies on it. Why? Because it has got the worst program line-up ever in the history of television.

There are serials, mindless game shows, cloying "reality" dance shows, movies, movies and more movies. They debuted "Adaverallam Aada varalaam" recently. The preview shows this guy who injures himself on the dance floor. Prithviraj (aka Babloo) is begging the show's judges to let him be taken to the hospital. Huh?! The injured guy comes up with a really stupid line like, "All warriors want to fall on the battlefield. I'd rather die on stage than go to the hospital." Second huh?!!!!!!! Okay, drama queen, if you want to die on-stage, that's your problem. But we don't want to see it.  Of course, its all coached "reality TV" lines. Still, who comes up with such crap at Sun TV?

Then there are the ubiquitous "game shows". First is "Rani Maharani" hosted by Mamathy Chari. It is an insult to the intelligence of the women of TN. They show a piece of some movie star's face and the contestants are supposed to find out who that is. Really, grow up, people. Is this all our women are capable of?! Can they not come up with any other decent idea? And they reward such mindlessness with cash. Next, is "Deal a No Deal a". This is another over-sensationalized, sentimentalized show. Contestants with mentally ill children, autistic children, relatives who need a life-saving surgery are showcased. They tell their story on-stage and then gamble for "life or death". And recently, they advertised that people who watch "Vettaikaran" will be given some special prize on that show. We all know "Vettaikaran" sucks big time but you don't have to show your desperation in such blatant ways! The host guy is rather annoying as well. This was all the gripe I had about the show until yesterday until S said,

"TN state government is sponsoring illegal gambling on the show.."

"huh? Don't we have gambling laws?"

"Nope. They even eliminated all the lottery ticket stuff sometime back."

"Oh..but this is not gambling."

"Why not? You're not required to answer anything or demonstrate any skill. All you have to do is pick a box. That's gambling."

Okay, that was a revelation to me. Is this really true? I don't know what the gambling laws etc..are in TN. So, if one of you out there, can enlighten me, that'd be great.

We got Jaya TV a month or so back. After that, I rarely tune into Sun TV. Jaya has a much more decent line-up than Sun. Of course, it also has its own propaganda machine. But some of the shows on Jaya are truly watchable.

I'd like to know how Sun gets its TRP and what population watches this in India.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blouse "bit" racket

One time-tested tradition that hasn't changed in Chennai is that  when you go to someone's house, you always walk away with a blouse bit. About 15-20 years ago, this was actually a good thing. I've seen my mom stitch blouses from all the various pieces she got from neighbors, relatives and friends. Sarees were simple back then, didn't have "attached" blouse material, colors were straight forward and blouse pieces were always of the 2x2 variety. Everyone was happy.

Fast forward to 2010 and there's a mind-boggling variety of saris and blouse materials. Most saris have the blouse material attached and women are picky about their blouse materials, colors etc..So, when you get a blouse piece as a gift from someone, most women don't know what to do with it. They've got blouses for all their saris. What do we do?

So, we recycle, re-gift and evolve gifting blouse materials into a fine art form..:) I realized the Great Hierarchy of Gifting Blouse Material during the last India trip. I was asked to go fetch a material to gift a visiting mami. I rummaged through the cupboard and picked whichever one came to hand. Big mistake. That's when I received the lecture of how "it is done". You see, there are hierarchies -- silk cotton for people you like, pure silk for people you don't really like but there's no other way out, regular cotton for people of no importance, 2x2 for someone you like well enough, fancy blouse bits with embroidery and mirror work for youngsters and so on…Oh, and you can't re-gift a material that someone might recognize as having been given at another house etc..

Anyway, I tried refusing blouse pieces at a couple of houses I visited. I said I had no use for them in the US. Who would stitch them for me there? And I didn't have time to get it stitched in India. This argument, most often, is met with glares and annoyance. So, I meekly started gathering a pile of these things and silently handed it over to my mom for safe, hierarchical re-gifting..:)