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Thursday, November 06, 2014

Bigg Boss 8

First, let us observe a minute of silence for our dearly departed discernment that has left us for good. Why else would we watch this sadism in the name of entertainment? Those who don't watch Bigg Boss, good for you. You save more than 100 hours of your life every season which you can use to complete a course, read good books, watch quality movies or do some community work.

The appeal in reality shows like BB is probably because humans are natural voyeurs. When they are bored, they will take a pair of binoculars and peek into the houses of neighbors like James Stewart of Rear Window. In the absence of that opportunity, we will gratify ourselves by watching strangers living in a house. A housemate brushing teeth on the live feed is entertainment after all.

I don't blame the contestants for the fights. The conditions are stressful. Very little comfort, restrictions on sleep after physical strain, limited rations and the simulated prison environment is enough to drive anyone crazy. It is a miracle that they don't turn cannibals to eliminate competition. Because the way they behave on the show makes you wonder why are they so desperate for footage. What good has Bigg Boss done to any of the previous winners, anyways? Shouldn't the platform be used to showcase your real talent and act like normal human beings? Oh wait, the channel can not profit from 'normal' people. So they incentivize arguments, no matter how unnecessary. How do you solve your problems in real life? By threatening people, fighting and pushing others away, of course! What else would civilized people do?

The past seasons had their share of negative characters, but this season has a particularly despicable lot. I don't understand why would someone waste their money on votes if they don't like anyone. The channel should focus on making the characters likable instead of goading them to dogfights. Then there is the cliche of contrived romance. We know Katniss and Peeta of Hunger Games, we know how it works. Even it is not scripted, it is a desperate attempt to survive in the show.

Now, there is a new wave in the house. ' Don't touch me' during tasks. How the hell are tasks supposed to happen?  Maybe they should have separate tasks for men and women. Real women don't use the woman card for unfair advantage.

So far, Preetam seems like the only sane person in the house, but he gives up on tasks too easily. And the ones who 'think' they are doing the task get unnecessarily aggressive so much so that you wish you could fast forward to where real conversations happen. Some humor, something creative, even tips on work out or fashion. Who am I kidding? I am not even the target audience of that show. However, the lower TRPs (compared to previous seasons) suggest that my response is representative of a larger pool of audience.

My appeal to the channel and contestants: Get creative, not aggressive. Make the luxury budget tasks more interesting. Make captaincy a challenge with a task between the nominees. Punish the rule breakers severely.  As a viewer, I demand more value for my time. 

Monday, November 03, 2014

How are you?

When I first came to US, and the employees at the local supermarket  (Shaw's) checkout asked me, 'Hey! How are you?', I thought they meant it. I was lonely during my first semester in Boston, didn't have many friends and even the practiced greetings at a business transaction made me feel grateful for the chance at human interaction. Hence, I always replied with a smile, said I am fine (no matter how dog-tired) and asked how the other person was.

Then I saw them do it to other customers and felt jealous. I wasn't a special case. They asked it out of habit. Some of the customers did not even respond. However, I had my favorites at the checkout, like Rosie, whose aisle would be the one I preferred to check out from even if it meant waiting in a longer queue. When I  didn't see her for some days, I got worried. After a few weeks, she was back and I enquired about her well being. She said that she had been ill. She looked tired and her usual cheerfulness was missing. On my next visit, I bought her some flowers, chocolates and a thank-you card. She was pleasantly surprised and thanked me profusely. The store manager saw what happened and told the others about it. The other employers smiled at me as I walked away. I wondered if she would miss me if one fine day I did not show up anymore. 

A few days later, I fell sick and I kept to my room. When I finally recovered, I went out to get some salmon at the same store. The guy at the seafood counter remembered me: 'Haven't seen you in a while, were you away?', he asked.

My takeaway:
1. Not everybody who asks you 'How are you' wants to know.
2. If you want to do something impulsive for someone, do it. Show your affection.
3. Someone will always miss you.