22 Aug 2009

The Cream and Scum of Television

I appeared for an exam today where I also had to write an essay among other questions. Of the four given options, I opted for The influence of television on our lives.

So when I have already written one, why not reproduce it here and see how many marks you grant me before it gets checked by the real examiner. I am reproducing it by memory with help of some pointers that I jotted down on my question paper.
The influence of television on our lives

A sudden commotion in the house, everyone leaving their task at hand and running frantically towards the common room, Granny is already seated strategically on the cushioned couch with her hands folded. The young one runs towards the T.V. and switches it on. A sudden silence engulfs the room. Then suddenly everyone smiles as the T.V. lights up and shows a fuzzy picture. It reads, Ramanand Sagar presents Ramayana.

Two and a half decade hence, T.V. has changed, channels have changed but the love for the television still persists. Is this love vital or fatal, that's what we'll see here.

We have come a long way from Doordarshan and Black and White era. The coming of coloured television revolutionised T.V. viewing which got a further boom with the entry of Cable T.V. in the last decade of the previous century. Now with the Direct to Home services available, there is no looking back.

The liberalisation that took place in 1990's gave a new power in the hands of the middle classes and they wanted to avail all these goods and services. Now, seeing a couple of televisions in the household of four was nothing to be surprised of.

Television has had a strong influence on our lives, be it at the individual level or at the societal level at large.

Television has been a great source of entertainment for the common man, giving him a breather in the otherwise melancholy and monotony of the daily life. Serving varied interests from drama to sports, news to cartoons, music to comedy and action to reality, it has something to offer to everyone. And even within this something there is a lot to choose from.

However, the days of Ramayana are gone when T.V. acted as a medium to bring the whole family together. Today, if the wife is watching her favourite serial on the T.V., the husband prefers to go to the other room to watch the cricket match. With time, people are preferring to live in this virtual world as the real relations become distant due to the lack of communication.

However, on the programming front, Television has taken a very positive stride by taking up social issues as the plot for the serials. Child marriage, female infanticide, women empowerment, etc have become the staple diet of an average T.V. viewer, sensitizing them towards these critical issues. But in their effort to out-do the other serials, sometimes they over-do the things, hence presenting an unrealistic projection of the society.

On the information front, the burgeoning news channels have revolutionised the delivery of latest happenings around the globe. Now, one do not have to wait for any special news bulletin or the morning newspaper for the same. However, with the ever-increasing news channels and the associated competition, sometimes these media houses act irresponsibly while covering some sensitive issues which may lead to serious law and order problem. Moreover, to fill their air-time, they end up showing irrelevant stuff including shows full of superstition which have a regressive influence on the viewers.

For children, T.V. has provided a lot of useful programs on channels like Discovery and National Geographic which act as an important addition to their regular curriculum. However, how much time children actually spend watching them as compared to cartoon and animation channels is a question for research.

Cartoon channels may have no serious negative influence on children other than being poor substitute for educational programs or playing in the evenings, but a serious threat to their innocence comes from the Reality television. There are a number of such shows where contestants abuse more than they speak. In the name of modernisation, they are dishing out a poor copy of the western culture with no roots in Indianness.

Moving from those who view television to those who make their living out of it, we may see a similar dichotomy of influences.

Television has given a chance to many talented amateurs to showcase their talent in front of the world. Sunidhi Chauhan and many others like her are findings of such shows only. However, with increasing opportunities, competition has also intensified. When the people cannot get the money and fame they are promised or they have dreamt of, they are forced to start from the scratch. Those who are unable to handle it are lost in oblivion.

So, television like any other medium has its positive and negative influences. It depends upon an individual that how he/she perceive and manage it.

Of late, Television is facing a stiff competition from the internet. Youngsters today prefer to spend their time on social networking websites and to watch videos directly from the video streaming websites. However, it seems that television will somehow manage to retain its position by adapting as it has always done by offering something new to the viewers.

However, self-regulation on the part of the channels will help to negate to some extent the negative influences of the television. Moreover, the onus also lies on an individual to realise the difference between the reality and non-reality and extract the best out of it.

After having written it, I believe I was able to recall most of the essay, word to word and expression to expression. It was difficult to resist the temptation of editing it as with the keyboard in the hands, somehow better expressions flow into the mind of a blogger.

This essay was for 30 marks out of the total 100 marks paper. I took about one hour to write it, including selection of topic; after having spent the previous one and half hours, doing other questions. Lets see how many marks you grant me. Well remember, this essay is different from my posts as here I have to take a very neutral stand trying to touch as many dimensions as possible in the limited time provided. And not to forget that all that time my bottom was wriggling with pain, somehow fitting itself on a bench meant for primary school students.

And all of a sudden, I remember, I forgot to write the title above the essay. I am doomed!

Image Courtesy:
http://www.clipartheaven.com (original)


pawan said...


I'll give you a Twenty four out of thirty. You have superficially touched the points, but you could have gone a bit more deeper into the scum of Television, as you just give a brief outline. Many movies shown on TV also influence children and youth alike and moreover they tend to increase long term effects like obesity and shorter attention spans. But you blended the points well with a silent ease which shoes your all round understanding of the topic!

Good one mate!
Hope that you score well in the exam!


Vipul Grover said...

24.. not bad :)

Pramathesh said...

It was a brilliant write.

I have my TV and computer side by side and they are switched on all the time when I am at home. And, I guess there are many like me.

Prashansa said...

I think you have done it nicely! Good start... You have projected both cream and scum equally. So I will give you 25/ 30!

Vishnu said...

this would be a very good article for the headline of this post"cream n scum of tv".. but tht was not the ques now..was it?? it was hw it influences our lives.. could hav added a bit more stuff relatin to the topic.. no mention of effect on teenagers n adults..
i say 21 outta 30..

Vineeta said...

Hey I must say that the start is "dhasu" (if i can use this word)!! And then the content flows. It gels so much together that u r completely hooked. I would give you 26/30! Reason - If such a long essay can keep u hooked.. it deserves good points :)

Unknown said...

Very nice one vipul.... I will give 25/30. I liked the way you expressed childrens desire to watch cartoons and cartoons being a substitute for educational channels.

Additional to cartoons now there are channels like disney and Jetix...which feature Spd... A small boy next door would always be shouting SPD EMERGENCY... Then I watched it one day to see whats so good about that... It was the same old crap to attract childrens....

Ava said...

I would give you 20 or under it. I would prefer more 'details', dates and programmes and such like. There is less history maybe because being younger you are not aware of it. As a composition it is good as it gives an impartial view. Well written with no mistakes that I could spot.

As a blogger, it sucks because its very non-committal. I would really like to kick all the serials that people are hooked to, and the reality things argghhhhh...

Shilpa Garg said...

I agree with Avdi! It's lacking the spice! It could have been a more detailed one, with category-wise examples!

Cartoon channels are not free from negative effects! I watch them day in and day out! The language used is many a times (the slangs, jeering) is certainly that I don't approve of!
Only the programmes which are meant for 3-4 year olds (Like Noddy, Oswald, Tom & Jerry, Thomas, Mickey Mouse...) and others like Art and Craft and Science programmes are good, clean and talk about some values!!
Rest are all I frown upon!

BK Chowla, said...

Vipul,you deserve and I will give you full marks.Surely,TV has positive and negative effects.Somehow,in most of the houses now,there is more than one TV.
Incidentally,have not been seeing your comments of late.

Anonymous said...

Hello sir, i would give you 25 and half. Even i was thinking of a post on this topic but never mind. Yours is better than mine. Thank you

Vipul Grover said...

@Pramathesh.. thnx:)
..tht was evn my case a couple of years back.. finally i shiftd my TV to d guest room. But now with the laptop, i again find myslf sumtimes hooked 2 both tv nd lappie at same time:)

@Pra and Vineeta .. 25 nd 26... um luving it:)
those strts cum automatically 2 d mind aftr writting nd reading so many 55 Fictions;)

Vipul Grover said...

@Vishnu.. oops 21.. now thts a big drop aftr sch promising evaluation:(
Hey buddy now cuming 2 d point u raised about the topic's title.. Wnevr the question asks us about influence/consequence/legacy/effect, etc.. d frst thing 2 do is 2 seperate into two parts, +ves and -ves nd thn look at both aspects.. so in tht sense thrs no diffrnce b/w d two titles.
Now as far as othr isues u raised, i blive i touchd thm briefly here nd there bt of course cud have tackled thm in a better way.. thnx:)

@Shankar.. Hey thnx buddy, happy u likd it:) bt wats this SPD.. i didnt gt it!

Vipul Grover said...

@Avdiji.. Actually, I tried not to mention specific serials bt go bit general.. bt yeah I should hav givn sum examples, thts sumthing i totally ovrlookd.. thnx 4 bringing tht to notice:)

@Shilpa.. U r rite about these specific cartoons, i actually forgot bout thm (coz havnt seen as mch as u hav.. having kids really increases ones knowledge :p)

Vipul Grover said...

@Chowlaji.. Thnx Chowlaji.. 30/30 finally :)
About my reflections on ur blog, its really gr8 2 know tht u noticd sumthing of this sorts. Tht makes me feel special:)..
Actually both my post o/p nd comments o/p has gone down these days coz of these xams:(.. will surely make my presence felt in future:)

@Shilpa.. Sir??? Hey do u hapen 2 b frm my college???
Evn if not nice c sumone frm chandigarh..
Hey, bout ur post; dont think tht way while blogging.. we guys post on same topic no. of times.. evryone hs sumthing new to offer.. do post urs.. will like 2 read it..
nd yeah thnx 4 tht additionl half above 25 ;)
keep rtrning nd reflecting:)

Ava said...

@Shilpa - Even Tom and Jerry gets quite violent. I love the others you mention but Noddy is really for very little kids. There were some on Nickelodeon like Hey Arnold, The Wild Thornberry's that were good.

Dhiman said...

I would safely give you 25/30 ....many suggestions you already have about so many things that could have been done and I just add I didn't see any mention of sports anywhere which is important bhai IPL, Cricket World Cup / EPL, FIFA World Cup / F-1 etc... they are big I thought....

Roshmi Sinha said...

Well written post... but you missed out such gems like: Buniyaad, Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne, Karamchand, Mahabharata, Malgudi Days, Neem ka Pedh, etc.

I'll give you 24/30.

Anonymous said...

i am not good at giving grades so i skip tht but wod like to add something to the essay...somthing abt spectacles( chasma)...the think i liked abt ur essay is tht its well structured &impressively began....hope the chasma-wala evaluator gives u out/out...:D..:P

Bharathi said...

Hi Pal, as an examinor I can give 25/30. But as a blogger I can give you only 18/30. You let me do two small job inbetween reading this post. :-)

Vipul Grover said...

@avdiji nd shilpa.. nice discussion :p

@Dhiman.. Serving varied interests from drama to sports, news to cartoons,...... thr it is.. u missed it buddy:)
as sch touching it wud hav jus increasd the wrds.. thr was no time 4 tht, so short refrence was enuf, moreovr things i tuk in detail, i feel sumhow they r more relevant.. thnx 4 the marks:)

Vipul Grover said...

@Roshmi.. Ofcourse they r d gems.. bt sumhow subsumd thm under ramayan.. if i hd strtd naming thm, wud hav missd on othr stff :)
thnx 4 those marks..

@Gautam.. Yup ths a big pblm.. u r rite.. shud hav mentiond it sumwhere:)

@Bharathi.. I want those 25 only :)
As a blogger i wud hav written cmpletely sumthing else :)

Lakshmi Rajan said...

One thing I observed instantly after reading the post is - there was a lot of difference in your blog writing style and topic you wrote for exam. Ofcourse , the time factor counts . On other hand , it had the typical style we adapt while writing essay for competitions and exams :)

From examiner's point of view : my marks 25/30 ;)

Vipul Grover said...

Thnx Lakshmi Rajan / Rajan / Mr.R /Rajanji... Hey um now cnfused how 2 address u, plz clear my confusion :)
Well, u hav made d right obsrvation.. While writing essay for exam, u cnt gt informal while on my blog i cn do tht easily.
Thnx 4 those mrks :)

Anonymous said...

I don't think I am eligible to give you any marks..but still....I will give you 24....considering some grammatical mistakes that I think you must have ignored..
btw the best part of the essay was its oragnisation... but there were some points on which I don't agree with you...

and on the whole your blog is very good I have read some of your posts and found them interesting..do visit mine as well

Vipul Grover said...

Hey thnx thr 4 d evaluation.. It wud hav been more helpful if u hd mentiond those grammaticl mistakes..
About agreement/disagreemnt on sum points, well i dont agree myslf on things in this essay.. as i said it is an essay written frm examination point of view, and not like my othr blogposts which reflect my true inclinations.
Will b visiting ur blog soon:)

Chetan Maheshwari said...

i have come first time on your blog, and I like ur idea of Blog-a-ton
For this post, I must say aht tv could have both impacts, and that you have analysed it quite well from the old time to now, in a limited span of time.
I also had views about Tv in my blog, please check it

Vipul Grover said...

Hey, thnx chetan for dropping by.. will definitely visit ur blog 2 read tht post.
Keep reflecting:)