Not streaming yet?
Last week, while watching the Republic Day parade telecast from Rajpath, New Delhi on Doordarshan, a twenty-something old friend happened to drop in home. “Oh, so you guys still watch Doordarshan? Sweet!”, he remarked. I did not mind the generation-gap remark as I did the out-of-context, mildly condescending part of it. I would have liked to convey that inherent feeling of nostalgia and Indianness, listening to the telecast in Hindi and also in a perfectly-clipped English accent, by the likes of newsreaders Komal GB Singh, Neethi Ravindran and Sumit Tandon, but then realised, with a sigh, that he was perhaps not even born then! Of course, there are private channels telecasting the seedha prasaran of the colourful ceremony, but I prefer good old Doordarshan, because they have been the first to telecast since I think the early ’80s and a few tacky technical production values notwithstanding, they do a fairly good job of it, be it suddenly spotting that rare to be seen now public personality or trivia related to the ceremony. So, should I be feeling mildly apologetic about it?
Just as, should I be feeling apologetic and not “with the times” if I do not subscribe to streaming media such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video? And will I be ostracised for confessing that Season 8 of Game of Thrones came and went and did not leave a whimper on my TV or phone or net screen? Or the House of Cards means the house of plastic playing cards I never ever seem to balance beyond 15? It was Doordarshan which introduced an entire generation of Indians to the world of colour TV with the Asiad Games telecast from New Delhi in 1982. The excitement tinged with patriotism felt as a wide eyed school girl watching the graceful Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci remains with me. There was much entertainment on DD too, there was the immensely funny political satire Yes Minister, a BBC production, with its Not Streaming Yet? deadpan, stiff upper lip British humour, followed by its equally successful sequel Yes Prime Minister. There was the more slapstick Lucille Ball show, and the absolutely adorable Arnold in Different Strokes.
And who could forget the British actor David Suchet playing my favourite book character Hercule Poirot in the TV series also telecast then? The more oomph-loaded American sitcoms like The Bold and the Beautiful and Dynasty came later in the late ’80s and early ’90s and had its impact on just-turned-adults like me, but so did our be Indian, laugh Indian soaps like Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi and Zabaan Sambhaal Ke, the Indian version of the British sitcom Mind Your Language. Today, my choice of favourites on my Tata Sky remote reflects my viewing preferences and varies from CNN News to Warner Bros Movies, HBO (which has joined the streaming bandwagon) and Romedy to TLC and NatGeo to regional (Odia-Bengali) channels, and of course, Doordarshan even if watched occasionally. So, until the time I decide to bite the “streaming” bullet just so that I can watch Season 14 or should that be 15 of Grey’s Anatomy, which I enjoy watching, I will continue to laugh out loud, watching re-runs of Friends for the nth time on Star World or Zee Café. And DD will continue to be on my list of favourite channels on my TV remote, no apologies.