Life: The hate mongers


Life: The hate mongers

By Yasmin Elahi

The boss has a crush on his young, beautiful but married secretary. The girl is tactful enough to keep his advances at bay and still retain her job. Her colleagues have planned a surprise birthday party for the boss which the (unsuspecting) girl discusses at home with her mother-in-law.

On the fateful day the boss is astonished but delighted to receive a card and a big bouquet from her and calls to say thanks. The girl is devastated because she has sent neither of them, but her husband (who is sure to be at home at that particular time) does not believe her. So, a big row follows. The mother-in-law, who is listening to them argue bitterly, stays neutral but the smug look on her face has a lot to say!

The daughter-in-law is not to be deterred and plans a quick revenge. The next day she seems to misplace her wedding ring (a precious diamond one, of course). She hunts for it everywhere and looks visibly agitated. The (seemingly) loving mama-in-law is all sympathy for her as she helps in the search. In the evening the daughter-in-law opens her mother-in-law`s cupboard to get something for her and lets out a scream (of delight). The ring is right there, shining brightly and she turns towards the older lady in disbelief, her accusing look saying more than words.
One has only to put two and two together to guess how the ring reached there.

These are not true stories but scenes from one of the endless (and senseless) soap operas which the ever mushrooming television channels dish out day in and day out! We see people of every age addicted to them. They gleefully watch episode after episode of the plays even though the story moves at a snail`s pace. Why are people attracted to these soap operas? Some people say that these plays are an escape from the harsh realities of life while others argue that this is the best way they can spend their leisure hours, but very few of us realise what harm they are doing to our family values!

The family is the core of the human existence and its members are supposed to provide each other with love and security, to share each other`s happiness, problems and sorrows, and to tend to each other`s needs. The majority of the soap operas have a negative impact on these values. Most of the plays are set against an urban backdrop, about families belonging to the high social strata, where the ladies have nothing better to do than to don expensive dresses, heavy (and unnatural) makeup and jewellery and relax in luxuriously furnished lounges. They have to do no house work, no cooking, no washing or ironing and no looking after their kids. All they seem to do is to plot, scheme and hatch conspiracies against other family members! Back biting seems to be the order of the day as these ladies manipulate simple day-to-day events to their selfish motives. In the above mentioned examples, both the ladies go miles to demean other down, even though their hatred for each other is beautifully sugar coated.

The most important target in most soaps are the in-laws. Marriage is not only a bond between two individuals it is a new set of relationships between two families. This relationship is supposed to be based on mutual love, understanding and respect for each other, with every one realising the others` rights and working together towards a peaceful and loving family. The love for in-laws is not in the blood, as that for biological bonds; it has to be nurtured step by step, day by day after making many compromises and sacrifices.

On the contrary, most TV plays are teaching women to hate instead of love, to doubt instead of to trust, to avenge instead of to forgive and to humiliate instead of to respect. Women are portrayed not as home makers but as home breakers, all out to destroy the peace, tranquillity and happiness from a happy family life.

In the normal life, do we find women as cunning and ill meaning to each other as depicted in these plays? I don`t claim that relationship with in-laws is all bliss but the question is, “Is anyone perfect in this world?” We have to be perfect ourselves before expecting or demanding perfection from others.

The viewers of soap operas, especially young girls, are so taken by the charm and glamour of the characters that they lose the capability of distinguishing facts from fiction and have no idea what subtle change is undergoing in their approach towards family life. These hate-mongers on the idiot box are teaching us to hate, distrust and humiliate the people who should be the most near and dear to our hearts. Shouldn`t all of us stand up against this slow poison to the roots of our being before it is too late?

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LIFE! THE HATE MONGERS (http://archives.dawn.com/archives/69181#comment-)

The boss has a crush on his young, beautiful but married secretary. The girl is tactful enough to keep his advances at bay and still retain her job. Her colleagues have planned a surprise birthday party for the boss which the (unsuspecting) girl discusses at home with her mother-in-law.

On the fateful day the boss is astonished but delighted to receive a card and a big bouquet from her and calls to say thanks. The girl is devastated because she has sent neither of them, but her husband (who is sure to be at home at that particular time) does not believe her. So, a big row follows. The mother-in-law, who is listening to them argue bitterly, stays neutral but the smug look on her face has a lot to say!

The daughter-in-law is not to be deterred and plans a quick revenge. The next day she seems to misplace her wedding ring (a precious diamond one, of course). She hunts for it everywhere and looks visibly agitated. The (seemingly) loving mama-in-law is all sympathy for her as she helps in the search. In the evening the daughter-in-law opens her mother-in-law`s cupboard to get something for her and lets out a scream (of delight). The ring is right there, shining brightly and she turns towards the older lady in disbelief, her accusing look saying more than words.

One has only to put two and two together to guess how the ring reached there.

These are not true stories but scenes from one of the endless (and senseless) soap operas which the ever mushrooming television channels dish out day in and day out! We see people of every age addicted to them. They gleefully watch episode after episode of the plays even though the story moves at a snail`s pace. Why are people attracted to these soap operas? Some people say that these plays are an escape from the harsh realities of life while others argue that this is the best way they can spend their leisure hours, but very few of us realise what harm they are doing to our family values!

The family is the core of the human existence and its members are supposed to provide each other with love and security, to share each other`s happiness, problems and sorrows, and to tend to each other`s needs. The majority of the soap operas have a negative impact on these values. Most of the plays are set against an urban backdrop, about families belonging to the high social strata, where the ladies have nothing better to do than to don expensive dresses, heavy (and unnatural) makeup and jewellery and relax in luxuriously furnished lounges. They have to do no house work, no cooking, no washing or ironing and no looking after their kids. All they seem to do is to plot, scheme and hatch conspiracies against other family members! Back biting seems to be the order of the day as these ladies manipulate simple day-to-day events to their selfish motives. In the above mentioned examples, both the ladies go miles to demean other down, even though their hatred for each other is beautifully sugar coated.

The most important target in most soaps are the in-laws. Marriage is not only a bond between two individuals it is a new set of relationships between two families. This relationship is supposed to be based on mutual love, understanding and respect for each other, with every one realising the others` rights and working together towards a peaceful and loving family. The love for in-laws is not in the blood, as that for biological bonds; it has to be nurtured step by step, day by day after making many compromises and sacrifices.

On the contrary, most TV plays are teaching women to hate instead of love, to doubt instead of to trust, to avenge instead of to forgive and to humiliate instead of to respect. Women are portrayed not as home makers but as home breakers, all out to destroy the peace, tranquillity and happiness from a happy family life.

In the normal life, do we find women as cunning and ill meaning to each other as depicted in these plays? I don`t claim that relationship with in-laws is all bliss but the question is, “Is anyone perfect in this world?” We have to be perfect ourselves before expecting or demanding perfection from others.

The viewers of soap operas, especially young girls, are so taken by the charm and glamour of the characters that they lose the capability of distinguishing facts from fiction and have no idea what subtle change is undergoing in their approach towards family life. These hate-mongers on the idiot box are teaching us to hate, distrust and humiliate the people who should be the most near and dear to our hearts. Shouldn`t all of us stand up against this slow poison to the roots of our being before it is too late?

Reallife: The enviable home-maker by Yasmin Elahi (http://archives.dawn.com/archives/45904)

 

 

lt all started on the eventful day when I decided to watch the television play which was the talk of the town. At parties and get togethers, I felt completely left out as friends and relatives discussed the play with much enthusiasm, and as I had picked up most of the story while listening to their conversation, I switched on the TV on that day.


The play was boring as I had expected it to be, but what caught my attention was the ladies appearing in the (endless) commercials which dotted the play (or should I say the play dotted the commercials!). I was particularly impressed by the appearance of these home-makers, dressed in spotless dresses and singing cheerfully while they served tempting looking meals to their family (cooked in the most health friendly oil) or washing load after load of laundry (displaying a particular washing powder). One of them was happily displaying her microwave oven and her cooking speed could bring to shame the most efficient housewife. All of them looked so attractive, dressed in the trendiest and most fashionable clothes and wearing matching accessories from head to toe!


I felt ashamed of myself as I thoughtfully observed my crumpled dress, disheveled hair and the bathroom slippers I was wearing. All the care I took of myself (when I was not going out anywhere) was a quick shower and change, tying my hair into a joora before they even dried up properly. The ladies in the ads didn`t let their efficiency interfere with their appearance. Why couldn`t I spare some time for myself to improve my looks? I scolded myself.


Making new resolves to improve my appearance, I switched off the TV and proceeded to the kitchen to prepare dinner, but stopping half way I rushed to my room. I must change first, I reminded myself. After a quick shower I dressed in a freshly pressed suit and sporting a light makeup, I rushed to the kitchen. “Where are you going Mummy? I need your help in my Algebra homework,” my ten your old son called out. “No, Sunny I am not going anywhere,” I exclaimed as I switched on the oven. He looked a little puzzled but continued with his homework.


The next morning I was about to hurry to the kitchen to prepare breakfast for my college going eldest. But again I remembered my resolve and taking a shower I changed to a clean dress and quickly dabbed on some moisturizer and lipstick. I was rummaging in the drawers for some matching jewellery when I heard my son yelling, “Mama where is my breakfast? I am getting late for my class.” “Just coming, son,” I called back as I abandoned my search. As soon as he saw me my son let out a groan, “O Mama, please don`t ask me to drop you anywhere, I am already late for college!” Trying to keep my cool I assured him that I was not going anywhere and quickly gave him a banana and a glass of milk (all I could manage in the few moments he could spare).


My daughter stepped out of her room ready to catch the school bus, “Mama where are you going so early in the morning? Please be sure to be at home when I come back from school.” I stared at her in frustration. The children were so used to my shabby looks at home that it was hard to convince them I had no intentions of venturing out of the house if on a certain day I chose to look presentable!


The maasi rang the bell. “Baji tussi kahin ja rahe ho?” she asked in her half Urdu and half Punjabi. I felt like…….never mind what I felt like, as I busied myself with my daily chores. One week passed. I was keeping my resolve and somehow carving out time for myself. My efforts definitely were showing results, and a sense of satisfaction surged to my mind as I glanced at myself in the mirror. But alas! My efficiency at home seemed to deteriorate.

The extra time I spent pressing that extra dress, laying out the matching accessories with it and grooming myself was taking its toll. I had to make compromises in the intricate meals I loved preparing for my children. The house did not look as clean as it used to do. I simply did not have the time to keep each nook and cranny as spick and span as I did earlier on! The pile of laundry was ever increasing as were the dresses needing to be pressed which peeped at me from the closet next to the ironing board.


It all ended on the day my children burst out at me. My daughter complained that she did not feel like eating because the food was not tasty at all, just not like Mama`s cooking. My college going son exclaimed that he had always the uneasy feeling that I would ask him to drop me somewhere, but the last straw came from my ten-year-old son, “I don`t like you!” He said tearfully, “You do not look like my Mama anymore; you look like the aunties on the television”.


Noting my crestfallen look, my sensitive daughter rushed to me and folding her arms round me declared lovingly, “Mama we don`t love you for what you look like, we love you for what you are!”

It was dinner time. With a rueful smile, I glanced at myself in the lounge mirror and trying to straighten out the wrinkles from my dress with my hands and rearrange my hair (again with my hands), I marched towards the kitchen — to serve dinner to my children like a good Mama!