It may have been unimaginable heights of joblessness which made me sit in front of the “idiot box”, as they call it, when my five-year-old cousin was glued to the heroics of ‘Chhota Bheem’.
Five minutes into it and I saw the dauntless animated ankle-biter, single-handedly taking care of a sea monster, a group of thieves and a wicked magician as well as restoring the prosperity of the kingdom and all of that by eating just three laddoos!
Studying in Kolkata and staying in a boy’s hostel changes one’s television viewing priorities a lot. After sometime, I realised, it was all about the Indian Premier League, FIFA World Cup, English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, categorically speaking, sports, juxtaposed with random “item numbers”.
Returning home, twice a year, changes a lot behind your back in the world of television, for example, if you left Roadies at city auditions, by the time you come back, Splitsvilla has already taken its place. Later that evening, something crossed my mind and made me ponder as to when our lives had entered a time warp. Where was the innocence of the cartoons we watched in our childhood lost? How much justice did Oggy’s high-pitched rambling do to the slapstick comedy of Tom and Jerry? When did Chhota Bheem’s laddoos prove themselves more potent than Popeye’s can of spinach?
Gone are the days when my dad like many others would call me away from homework just to watch Jerry outsmart Tom. Now, come to think of it, fathers with toddlers prefer dumping them in front of the TV to be hypnotised by Shinchan’s failed attempts at wooing women five times his age.
And this is not even the end of all the change. I remember Hot Wheels cars, tops, GI Joe action figures, make-it-yourself tool kits securing top positions on my fantasy charts. Now, you are likely to find yourself sidelined by a kid, who would otherwise require help, to get on the chair only to finish a level of his/her favourite online game.
While we can take pride in Minnie and Mickey’s onscreen chemistry, which wasn’t even a proclaimed relationship, kids these days watch Nobita, a character from ‘Doraemon’, openly wailing in order to marry Shizuka, and that too at the age of 10!
Surely enough, from Dexter’s crazy inventions to Doraemon’s whimsical products, from Tom’s failed attempts at trapping Jerry to Oggy’s awful and failed performances, a lot has been lost.