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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Turn it off and smell the roses… or whatever!

(I wrote for my mag... reproducing here)
About six weeks ago, my lifeline went on the blink. Or so I thought.
I rush home, all eager to grab a bag of crisps, a steaming cup of coffee, the remote control, the phones and plonk down.
Because that’s how most weekday evenings are spent. Tea, reading, phone calls, dinner, even social visits… all in front of the TV.
Yet, if you had asked me two months ago if I were addicted to the tele, I would have said ‘no’.
Then the bitter truth. I was a closet-addict. In denial. Because when the satellite receiver went dead, and the familiar drone of Frasier, 24 and Lost was lost, the future seemed bleak. What would my evenings be like?
There is only so much gallivanting you can do in Doha.
What would life be like without the comfort blanket.
Apparently, not so bad.
It is like when you give up smoking, and smell the flowers.
The lack of tele-noise at home has had such profound impact on my senses, that I have convinced a friend who is redecorating her house, to relegate her big screen TV to a less prominent place. And as that move happened, her son wondered loudly how he would have his dinner from now on!
Probably it was easier for me to give up the tele, because I never ‘only watched TV’. I always, watched TV while doing something else.
Like eating, reading (yes, it’s possible), doing puzzles, ironing, preparing dinner, browsing the net.
But that is no reason for the die-hard addicts to give up hope. It just needs a little discipline. To wean yourself away from the tele, start by diluting your tele-time. Do something else while sitting in front of the TV.
If you don’t want to go the length and disconnect satellite/cable TV, then here is an alternative. Activate parental control, and courier the remote to a friend in another country. It will be at least a week or two get it back, and you would be forced into detox.
I have decided not to renew our cable connection for now. When I feel like watching something, I choose from the collection of DVDs and cassettes. For news updates I go online.
There are times, alone at home, when I pine for an emotional Oprah-moment, a high-pitched Richard Quest report and even the toons. But those are fleeting. Most of the time I just feel clearer.
Do I claim that ‘I now have more quality time with child/husband/laptop/pet cockroach’? No such clichĂ©s. I don’t know if I am doing anything better, since giving up non-stop access to television. I only know that it doesn’t feel bad at all. It feels great almost all the time.
The home just seems so much more relaxed and serene.
And since it’s in keeping with the spirit of the day, let me also add, I am doing my bit towards controlling noise pollution (and other environmental hazards TV causes, that I am not fully aware of).

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