TV watching had become a rare and precious event in my life. First it was all the moving-to-Singapore routine. Then between work and setting up a house, there was no time for TV. When I finally had to stay at home thanks to pregnancy complications, the in-laws were around to help. Pretty much like everyone their age group, they are glued to the profusion of Hindi serials that abound in Indian TV. I could watch all the Parichay or Uttaran or Big Boss I wanted to watch. Or I could sit in my bedroom and read my books. After about ten minutes of watching the first serial on the first day, the choice was quite clear.
Everytime I passed by the hall they would sweetly ask if I wanted to watch something. I usually declined. The in-laws were literally losing weight helping us set up home, taking care of cooking, housekeeping etc. The least I could do was to let them enjoy one of the few things they took pleasure in.
The in-laws left, the parents came and then the baby came. Considering I was running short on sleep with the baby, watching TV seemed like a distant dream. Even when the situation stabilised, I still could not watch anything given the odd times at which the baby nursed. Thus, a movie would reach a crucial scene and I would run away to nurse.
Then my parents discovered Video-on-Demand. They were also pretty much housebound and were delighted to be able to catch movies. That is, till they saw they had to pay per movie. The great Indian middle class mindset kicked in and they debated for a while if they should be going ahead.
‘Would I watch the movie too?’ they wanted to know. After all, the more people watching it, the more the paisa vasool
‘Certainly not’, I shrugged with the conviction of someone who watched only Oscar nominees. Quietly ignoring the fact that I have a history of staring blankly at rotten eighties Hindi movies when they play on TV.
I pointed out that it was certainly cheaper than watching a movie in the theatre and this argument convinced them sufficiently.
They signed up for the latest Tamil hit movie and watched it with a lot of pleasure.
Then watched it again. And again. And again.
If we were going to pay good money, then by God we were going to watch it as many times as we possibly could in the 48-hr rental period.
In the last half an hour before the rental was to expire, I began watching it. Engrossed, I did not notice the clock ticking away and was shocked when the screen went blank.
‘Renew it’, D suggested.
I was aghast at the thought of having wasted all the time when the movie was available and felt terribly guilty about spending more on the same movie.
For about fifteen minutes. Curiosity got better of me. Besides, Video-on-demand was my only shot at actually a full movie in a long time. I should not have to be apologetic about it.
So I watched the movie.
Where do I find the time? Especially considering that we have a golden rule ‘No TV for the baby for as long as we can help it’. This means the TV is not switched on when he is around.
Now that reality is sinking in i.e. he is in the living room all the time, we have diluted to this rule to ‘No TV to be on when the baby is awake’. Anytime he is asleep is fair game. We are on the verge of diluting this rule to ‘No TV when the baby’s head is turned towards the TV’. But we have resisted so far seeing how rapidly the baby can turn his head away from the Chagall painting on the wall, towards the TV. (Yes, my little one is endlessly fascinated by paintings. The genius…Ok new smitten-mom)
The baby’s sleep schedule has stabilised a bit. The nights have become easier. However, daytime naps are had only in the comfort of my lap or in someone’s arms. (A habit I am supposed to break, but how?). So once his bath, massage routine is done and he has drifted off, I put him in my lap and watch TV.
This is nearly a dream situation. I have the “I wish I could help out with actual household work but poor me cannot move for an hour. Such are the demands of motherhood” look on my face. A perfect marriage of timepass and motherhood.
I watched English Vinglish on demand. I got through most episodes of How I met your Mother – Season One on DVD.
I was planning to move to Season Two and also watch Hunger Games when the baby decided that he is done sleeping at 11 a.m. and can we have some activities please.
So now I am back to figuring out when to watch TV. Perhaps a break is good. Watching How I met your Mother has gotten me a bit nostalgic about the child-free, carefree days. Not withstanding the fact that I used to sleep off at 10 p.m. and never used to hang out in the bar with a bunch of close friends like the characters of the series. Most of my friends had had babies long ago and it was a rare night when they got out to party. Maybe once a year.
I guess I will find another slot but for now, it is cooing ‘ah-goo’ and ‘Ink’ at the baby in the mornings. And I realise that these moments can never be on demand or kept in DVD for later.
Wait, the post-9.30 p.m., “after the baby goes to bed” slot is looking positive. Maybe..