Idiots in the idiot box..!

WHEN my children were small we had a young maid to look after them.
Anjali had come from an orphanage and something she loved doing after her chores and often during them was watching the idiot box. I was told that this was the only form of entertainment the girls had in their orphanage while they lived there.
One day Anjali informed us, she was getting married. My wife and I were astounded, we had not seen any suitor around. We asked her where the man was and she replied to our astonishment that a man had met her at the market the day before and had proposed to her. “Now we are madly in love!” she told us. I met the man and found out he was married with little kids.
I also found out that he had no intention of getting married to Anjali. “He will leave his wife,” shouted Anjali defiantly, “that’s how it always happens…!”Very gently we had to tell Anjali that that was how it always happened on screen but real life was different from the one on reel.
Today it is not just the Anjali’s of the world who are glued to the screen. All of us are. Cricket matches, soap operas, music channels, have walked into our sitting rooms and bedrooms. The time has come for us to be careful. Watching programmes on animals, birds and other creatures may help us appreciate the greatness and wisdom of God, watching the news helps us to keep in touch with the latest developments, but the rest of the stuff are a big question mark.
According to Dr. Sathiaraj three tests should be conducted on the type of programmes we watch. The first is the reality test. Normally the stories on which the serials and movies are based are fictitious and not true. Is it really worth spending precious time on such imaginary situations?
The next test that we should conduct is the ‘value test.’ Is what we are watching on the screen going to make us better human beings? We do need relaxation, but our recreational time should not be wasted.
Does that programme we view make us more productive and balanced people? Or is it draining our vitality and harming our creativity? Thirdly, the morality test. All good art acknowledges the reality of evil, but we can portray evil without glamourising or sensationalizing it.
Most of our TV movies glamourise the villain to such an extent that sometimes I wonder who the hero is? We used to have the ‘vamp’ in most old movies.
How well she held centre stage! Sexual intimacy is too precious to be prostituted by the media under the guise of realism or artistic freedom. Similarly screen violence desensitizes viewers, lowers their inhibitions and creates an appetite for more of the real thing.
The transition from reel to real is the next step. And with these three tests under our belt, let’s start viewing TV judiciously, that our families especially children will benefit from this marvelous invention yet not become idiots fooled by the box..!

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