Friday, September 26, 2008

Life without television: a trial run

"Nick will go off the air for 30 minutes to encourage kids to get out and play"
- report in today's HT Cafe

Wonderful but meaningless marketing gesture. Unless ALL kids' channels go off the air on the same day and same time. And even then - what is a single day?

Of course, you will say it's the parents' responsibility to regulate their kids' TV viewing. Yeah right. Try it! It's like playing chor-police and the truth is you can't blame kids for watching too much TV. What are we adults doing?

I know that I have certainly been watching way too much in recent months. I generally channel surf, rarely watching a full program - so I kid myself ki nahin dekhti hoon. It's like saying I don't eat large meals only a lot of snacks. It still adds up. And it's a LOT of junk.

At the beginning of this month I took a tough decision: "This month, NO television!" We simply did not renew the Tata Sky connection. They called to check why. Bas yun hi, hum TV nahin dekhna chahte... Thank you very much!

So what do we do? Well board games like Monopoly and Connect Four have been brought out of the closet. I read more and sleep earlier (and better). I listen to Radio City 91.1 between 9-11 pm every night (it's on right now). They play really cool songs from the '70s and '80s - the kind I grew up listening to (amazing stuff!).

I'm not AGAINST TV or anything - in fact I actually have the best of both worlds. My parents live one floor below so jab marzi ho one can go down and watch. But doing so is a conscious act, not a mindless one.

The month has come to an end and I'm not sure what's next.

All I know is that when there is really important 'breaking news' someone breaks it to you... But TV ke bina there is so much peace in the house!

28 comments:

  1. Haven't had a TV at home for close to 1 year now...which has translated to more traveling, lots of reading and more time working out...
    have no regrets and don't intend getting a TV in the near future either...
    as for news there's always the internet...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Even I didn't buy TV and have been living without it for 5 months(choice, not compulsion). Haven't regretted it for a single day. Instead I have been reading a lot now, though I also over-indulge in net surfing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I totally agree with ur point of view. i myself have experienced it while preparing for JEE.We had no television for one year,even for adults.Everyone changed a lot during that span but now everyone back to normal ways rather abnormal ways with same old gossips of small screen......

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am in the US and I am without TV for the last 3 years. But, I have caught on to a new addiction which is surfing on the internet. Last week, I set a new record for surfing,35 hours non-stop.

    But, the BIG difference is I chose what to read/see/hear rather than fed something on which I have no control.

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  5. TVs are so last century. All u need are a desktop (laptop for a child is still a bit far off) and internet. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. i don't have cable tv. and i don't watch the local channels. so i don't turn the tv on unless i rent a dvd. and since i rent it, i watch only the stuff i really wanna watch.

    it works out fine. except sometimes when people talk about TV stuff, like a smart ad or something, I don't know what they're talking abt.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I haven't had a TV for the last 6 yrs, I don't miss it at all. The internet is a much better option. Free from all those stupid breaking news, celeb gossip, dumb ekta kapoor series.. actuallt i'm glad i don't have a TV. for "real" news i've subscribed to reuters and google news. Watching to popular/nice shows/series(few good stuff) from around th world was never this easy - thanks to bittorrent.

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  8. i haven't had tv, but like surfing, an internet is what more the tv.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well, I haven't seen TV for the last 5 years. :) Honestly! And even if I sit to see it now, am sure I won't be able to concentrate long enough even to see a half an hour show!
    I think it's absolutely OK not to see TV serials. This is specially true for families where you can spend more time playing and talking (and socializing with neighbors etc) than sitting in front of the rightly called, idiot box! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I had severe case of tv addiction so when w shifted to this new place made a conscious decision not to get a tV and its been 10 months the world has not yet ended ... :-D

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yea. We can do very much without TV. We have newspapers or sms news updates and a mobile phone.

    ReplyDelete
  12. If there were a way to shut our ears and you were to write on "Life without ears", you could potentially put forth most of the same arguments. There is too much of noise and shutting out the ears brings in much more peace in life. And we could concentrate better things of substance. Or listen to only the music or the people you like :)

    I have had episodes in life where I had to do away with TV (and/or cable), and life had been different those days. Days were longer, and there was more time. But we humans are visual people. TV impacts us in ways no other media does. And then you lose out on some of the conversations/debates/small talk - know that feeling when everyone's talking about that Jonty Rhode's dive, and you give them a blank stare, or a mindless smile? :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi Rashmi

    Been living without the TV for about 20 months now...that too with two kids in the house who were 100% 'addicts'.

    Its tough initially but once you get used to it, its bliss... No more fighting for the remote, no more shouting to shut the damn thing off...

    Its the way to go!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. can live without TV but can't live without iPod and mobile phone :))

    ReplyDelete
  15. There is something I read about TV and books - While the TV pretty much dumps what the director/producer wants you to see/ listen, with books your imagination skills improve a lot more. You visualize the scene as you read on, and some times, this is better, as it is limitless. But the TV is sometimes good with its news debates and NGC/Discovery channels. But once you are online in the net, the real quest for interactive knowledge starts.

    Destination Infinity

    ReplyDelete
  16. :) No more of the idiot box! Good Riddance!!

    I was an avid TV addict and could flick channels (there is nothing to watch on a single channel) for more than 10 hours in a single day.

    Some years ago, I heard Doug Wead (political advisor in the USA and a successful businessman) say, were you born to watch television, or were you born to be on television? And that all the time we spend watching TV, if used correctly, can be the edge we require to break our personal glass ceiling.

    Its been 5 years now, and we haven't had a TV at home. I have been reading so much more and enjoying worldspace radio. I even don't have an FM radio player. Hence, I have no exposure to news or advertisements. Have gotten so much closer to family too.

    I'd recommend everyone to try the TV Diet as Rashmi has done. You might be surprised with the beauty of the result!

    Cheers**

    ReplyDelete
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