Tuesday, June 03, 2008

One Evening At The Chinese Gully... And A Few Weeks After That.

King Leonidas, the brave ruler of Sparta, said to his famous 300 soldiers… "Spartans! Prepare for GLORY!". And so, he and his brave 300 fought and laid down their lives. To go down in history in a manner so magnificent, that generations to come will read about them and be astonished.

His weapons… Spear, Shield and Sword.

His strength… Trust and Faith in his men, and vice-versa.

His belief… Respect and Honour.

His motive… Liberty, Freedom, Justice.

That was a different time, and a different story. Had it not been for the 2007 blockbuster release, raking in billions of dollars, the story might have been forgotten by many, and would have been unheard of by many more. People of today’s tumultuous times hardly have time to spare to know about history. ‘Boring’ history, as a matter of fact.


13 Youngsters, 3 Countries, 1 Objective. The way the Reality Show has been promoted, these people come across as nothing less than members of a warrior tribe, uncannily similar to the Spartans.

Their weapons… Treachery.

Their strength… No Trust and Faith on each other, politics and back-stabbing.

Their belief… Not to think twice before eliminating a friend who is a threat.

Their motive… Victory at any cost… Come what may.

And GLORY, it seems, is what they all got, with one guy in particular getting the biggest share of it.

This is today’s age.


In my last post, the one to which this is a sequel, I had described the string of events that occurred on that evening at the Chinese food joint. We had reached a certain point where one woman said something, which compelled me to think.

Quoting myself…

“And then, I started thinking. The latest group of people who came in started discussing about the show. They did discuss about one guy in particular, who belongs to my hometown. (For more on the city, go here.) Seems he is the highlight of the show.
Moving on, something that one of the young women of the group said struck me. What that was, I shall discuss soon. It will require some thinking on my part before I post it. (Half-baked ideas do not seem too tempting or appealing to me, to be posted here.)”

I am aware that the sequel to the post is coming after a long long time. I am also aware of the number of people who read the post and asked me “What did she say?” “Aisa kya boli vo ladki?” and many such questions. But as I had said in that post, I needed time to frame this one. More importantly, I wanted the show to end, so that I could sum it up in my head and then write. Sincere apologies, and thanks for waiting.

Moving on. As I had told you, there was a group of young girls, accompanied by a lady. The lady was the mother of one of the girls, who had invited her friends for a birthday treat at that joint. So, they were having a jolly good time, eating Chinese food, chitchatting in typical girly fashion, and watching the Reality Show.

It was the second or the third episode of the show, and was still quite new to the viewers. The contestants were pretty new to everyone as well. No one had formed any strong opinions yet. Neither any ‘favourites’ established so far. But one thing had already been established. Actually, to correct myself, it hadn’t been established. In fact, it was more like a ‘given’ fact of the show, established over the 4 seasons that the series had been running. And that was… the Politics, the Back-biting, the Treachery. Everyone seemed quite prepared for it.

I had not seen a single season of this show. Had caught an episode or two, while visiting a relative’s or a friend’s place, people who owned television sets. I could never associate myself with the show, purely for one reason, the absence of TV from my life. Hence, I had no opinions about the show, positive or negative. For me, it was ‘just another Reality Show’.

Now, the lady with the group seemed a little perplexed. She, I assume, had never watched the show either. Seemed she had some problems in understanding the sudden excitement among the young women, as soon as they saw the show on the TV screen. She was amused. And then she asked the group, no one in particular, about the concept of the show.

Almost all of the young girls started explaining, all speaking at the same time, so that what was audible was a gibberish amalgamation of words, voices, sounds, exclamations and noise! Now, when such a verbal barrage happens, more often than not, there comes a time when there is a small gap in all the noise. And it was a similar gap in which one of the girls said something, which caught my attention.

She said, “Basically it’s a show where these people are put together for a few weeks and they have to perform some tasks and all, and then one of them is going to win some prize money and a bike. There is so much of politics, back-biting and bit**ing!! Its very interesting! I don’t miss it at any cost! It’s so cool! I looooooove it!”

This is what started that chain of thoughts in my mind.

I am not trying to judge the show. Neither am I running it down. Yet, what amazed me was the fact that the girl had just said all this! She, like the millions of other young boys and girls, and slightly older men and women, found the fact that the contestants indulged in politics, back-biting, treason and bitching to win the game very interesting.

Which brings me to think. If the story of Leonidas was narrated to them as a history lesson, they would not find it “interesting” enough, although that story actually has much more better things to learn from. Bravery, loyalty, justice, freedom… just to name a few. Yet, what appeals to them is the set of “values” the Reality Show is exposing them to.

Sad, but true. Weird, yet a fact. Good stories filled with good values find place in good books. And sometimes, in good movies. But what actually forms a part of our daily lives is full of the other set of “values”.

The girls, like many other viewers across the nation, are still in their formative years in a way. Their individual personalities are still not completely formed; they’re still taking a concrete shape. And at such a juncture in their lives, this is what they find particularly “cool” and inspiring. No wonder, the idea of making it big in life will be a little misconstrued for them. “If I need to get ahead in life, I should know how to play politics. And I should never trust anyone, no matter how close that person is to me.”

As much as I’d hate it, it’s a fact. Sometimes it disgusts me, sometimes it amazes me, and sometimes I wonder “What a fantastic idea!”.

Commercialization and bottom-lines will make people and organizations do things which are ‘logically’ and ‘commercially’ explainable, but inexplicable in other ways.

I am tempted to write more on the show itself, and the concept of Reality Shows, but I wont do that right now. Want to know why?

I just overheard a few colleagues at work discuss something. One woman was telling the others…

“I’ll tell you what this show is about. It has 2 men and 20 hot young women, staying at a villa for some time. Both the men will end up getting one woman each. The power to choose or reject the woman would lie with the men. It’s gonna be amazing!”

Do I sense a similar chain of thoughts rising in my mind?


Love, Peace n' Harmony

© Prateek Sharma Jun 2008


RJ Rhicha Reviews said...

Sad, but true. Weird, yet a fact. Can use this line for so many things now-a-days....sometimes I feel I don't belong and hence found your post engaging. Keep writing....with shorter intervals. Concept of temp still exists you know:)

bondgal_rulz said...

First of all apologies accepted:). But gotta admit, the wait was truly worth it. LOVE the way you have compared the spartan war with the show despite there being hardly any similarity.
But media and commercialisation of allt things sundry are not alone to be blamed...if it's being shown on TV, it's cos it sells !! people actually LIKE seeing it...which only makes the whole state of affairs more sad..
And yeah the concept of that new reality show makes me sick to the stomach !!! Seems like we are becomin barabaric by the day !!

Prash said...

300 and 'the reality show'! What a great way to start the post.
I guess a lot (maybe most) of people enjoy watching the show coz its 'cool'. Who cares if its all about politics and being bitchy.
Saw the promo of another 'reality show' a few days back (how 'real' they are is of course another matter) with the tag "Sexy naughty bitchy". Amazing isn't it?!

kruttika said...

simple science.
we find it difficult to climb a flight of stairs but easier to come down...why ?
well thats easy..
climbing up is going against gravity..
coming down is not going againt it ..but with it.

HENCE IT ALWAYS TAKES that extra little amount of effort to do something good......to climb higher on the rungs of the morality staircase.

so its our discretion...
and like the blogger says...
,,,hence we ought to make our own set of choices !
all the best :)