There is one thing about working from home that reminds me of college days –afternoon television. There is something very scrumptious about watching T.V. on a weekday afternoon. It’s just not the same on weekends. (The program schedule for Saturdays and Sundays seems to be odd. They keep showing reruns of programs that are aired on primetime – shows that you are most likely to catch; but won’t show the programs that air in the afternoons, when you are away at work.)
Anyway, Ma nowadays is deeply engrossed in several music shows – those that involve gharaanas, some phenomenal singer who does Kailash Kher fabulously, contestants from India and Pakistan (therefore the set has very gaudy flags of both countries), and Anu Malik scowls enormously at a cute Alisha Chinai.
So, she doesn’t like being interrupted when she is watching this. But considering I am supposed to be going through a tough personal crisis now and all, she is okay if I change the channel.
The first time I did that, we both watched ‘Mindfreak.’ And it must be said that Kriss Angel is quite dishy. I don’t know when he stopped being annoyingly ghoulish (from the previous season) to being so smart and sepulchral. The dark side has a seductive representative, I must say. So, Ma, who was quite taken in with Mr. Angel watched his various antics with some enthusiasm and rapture, until…he started doing a series of vanishing acts in public places. He would gather a crowd, ask a volunteer to shoot the episode with a handheld camera, and get another volunteer to participate in the act. Then he would get the second volunteer to vanish into thin air. The part that troubled my mother was that after Kriss did that, he would walk away jauntily to claps and whistles. “But where’s Christina?”, Ma would ask me about an unfortunate volunteer who had vanished. Now, I had no way of knowing that because I don’t know what happens to the vanished people. “But when is she coming back?”
Sigh. It’s sad when a daughter doesn’t have answers for her mother.
So, we caught up with the next show where Angel’s cat Tammy (all wierdos…sorry –'the normalcy challenged' are cat people) was levitating over chips and Ma again came up with "Where’s Christina?”
A few days passed this way and I started taking afternoon naps. My afternoon idiot boxing now shifted to another time.
A week later, I was watching a cute, twinkle-eyed blond dance and jiggle before settling into a chair and start talking to the audience. Ma took a look and exclaimed, “That’s not Oprah!”
Well, Oprah wasn’t the only one who has a talk show, I reminded her. She didn’t seem convinced.
“Is it that girl who always acts with Tom Hanks?”, she asked again. It was a very inadequate description of Meg Ryan to begin with, and I didn’t think the talk show host resembled her, but…
“It’s not Meg Ryan. It’s Ellen Degeneres.”
“Oh. What is her show about?”
“I don’t know…it’s the Ellen Degeneres show.”
“OH! I want to watch!”
Now, I didn’t know what got Ma so keen into watching the show, but…
20 minutes into the show, Ellen had read a few letters, made a crank call, talked to a Desperate Housewife, and was doing the routine talk-show thing. Meanwhile, conversation between Ma and me went thus:
Ma: “She’s still here…”
Ma (getting irritated): “She will be here for the whole 1 hour?”
Me: “Yes..” (I didn’t understand. I mean, it’s not as if Oprah handed over her show to someone else after the first half-hour.)
Ma: “She stays on the WHOLE show…she doesn’t go anywhere?”
Me: “Why should she go anywhere? It’s her show?”
Ma: “So why is this stupid show called ‘The Ellen Degenerates Show?’ Tell me when that handsome boy’s show comes on. Maybe today, Christina will be back.”
Oprah was simpler to explain.