A mad descent into Indian soap operas | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 25, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 25, 2018

A mad descent into Indian soap operas

That one fateful day began like any other. I was in one of my many stages of being a freeloader by wandering about the house with my eyes glued to my phone, thumb on autopilot scrolling through senseless memes. But on that day, I decided to actually accompany my mother by sitting down next to her in the TV room and Then continue scrolling through memes, as any ideal daughter should.

All was well until she kept asking me to watch the Indian show she was so invested in. I refused incessantly of course. It was a battle wherein my mother threw blows of sayings like “you never listen to anything I say” or “watching American television is the reason why you have back problems and bad grades” which I fought by making a case for the obviously superior shows I enjoy. How could she even compare Indian soap operas with a high IQ show that has had a sentient cloud of evil gas in one episode?

But eventually, I caved in and decided to give it a watch. It was the usual story where So-And-So, rich bad boy with no moral compass, falls in love with What's-Her-Face after crashing into her family's grain field in his sports car. Accompanying this arc were the quintessential dramatic camera angles/cuts, expression freezes, and the sound of thunder when he asked her out on a date at the end. All the while, my mother watched with rapt attention, but I guffawed at the production value and left to continue my evening of being useless.

But that night, all I could think of was the episode I had watched. So-and-So and What's-Her-Face's overly cheesy but thoroughly epoch-making encounter wouldn't leave my head. I had to find out what would happen to this star-crossed pair possessing absolutely zero chemistry.

The next day, I swallowed my pride and willingly sat down again to watch the following episode. My mother was utterly delighted but I had to keep her in check by saying that I was watching solely for the purpose of laughing at it.

Thus the dark ages were ushered in. Every evening, my mother and I would quietly sit together and spend thirty minutes in an intoxicated daze, only snapping out of it during commercials. Week after week, my mind would circle around their troublesome love story, the obstacles they faced from snobby family members, suspenseful scenes where What's-Her-Face would accidentally burn milk. I loved all of it.

But I couldn't deny that it was taking over my life. I, too, dreamed of a snobby stranger destroying my only source of income but then sweeping me away into a life of capitalism and hard-earned romance. I had the sound of thunder ringing in my ears whenever someone said something mildly inconvenient to me. I daydreamed of shenanigans with my evil mother-in-law.

I was on the brink of insanity, ready to tip over. But the universe did hold a silver lining for me, as the writers of the show decided to kill off What's-Her-Face by making her drive off a cliff in her new sports car. Finally, I had found some peace and could finally move on from this horror.

That is until they introduced her long-lost twin sister.

Fatima Jahan Ena considers herself to be a chaotically neutral egg with feelings. Fight her at mail2ena@gmail.com

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