TVF, Tarak Mehta and LinkedIn influencers

When Tarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah (TMKOC) started it was a big hit. It was also like a breath of fresh air for Indian television. At that time, Indian shows were filled with saas-bahu (mother-in-law & daughter-in-law respectively) melodramas. TMKOC, on the other hand, was a sitcom based on a society called Gokuldham. It revolved around the daily ‘mundane’ life of those people living in that society. Even though, now, I cringe at some of those old episodes. There is no doubt that the old episodes were quite wholesome and enjoyable. It was the ‘Sarabha vs Sarabhai’ (another generation-defining sitcom) for our generation.

Now, after almost 14 years since it was first aired, and 3.6k episodes (YES!) TMKOC is still going on. A few days back I came across one of their episodes on YouTube. And it was unwatchable. I haven’t seen anything as useless as this. And this is coming from someone who has watched Action Replayy in theatres. There is no content, most of the stars who had started the show have also left but still, they are dragging it on.

On the other hand, TVF (The Viral Fever) started as a YouTube channel before widening its horizons. With respect to Indian standards of comedy, TVF has been quite good. Far better than anything that’s going on. And one of their ‘mantra’ for this has been quality over quantity. One of the TVF founders summed it up in a talk-show adda nicely:

To create a good content of 1 minute, it takes 100s of hours. I don’t know how anyone can go on for 10 years on the TV and still maintain the quality of the content.

When I look at most of the ‘LinkedIn influencers’, I feel they follow the path of Tarak Mehta rather than TVF. LinkedIn is a social networking platform where you can share any updates about your work: your learning, difficulties in a project, some useful resources etc. But now it is just filled with cringe content. Each one of us, who is working, will have some important things to share if we are true to ourselves and the work that we are doing. But it is hard to come up with something valuable every other day. Even the CEO of a successful company will fail miserably to do this.

It is absolutely fine to post an ‘aesthetic’ picture with a cheesy quote on Instagram or Twitter. Hell, even I don’t mind looking at it. But to pretend you have learnt something great and it is the same old BS, that’s just irritating. There are so many posts where the content of the post and the picture don’t even have any correlation! There is still some value in LinkedIn, so it will survive but I hope it pivots soon from the ‘Tarak Mehta’ way to the ‘TVF’ way.

P.S.: While re-reading the whole post before publishing, I realised I have rambled a bit here. But it is what it is.

It is the people, not the politicians

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are absolutely my own. It doesn’t reflect the opinions of anyone (a person or an organization) with whom I’m associated.

Just look at a few political scenarios from a few Indian states.

Scenario 1, Maharashtra: A politician from Maharashtra breaks down an alliance with the current government. Flew to Assam with the rebel (LOL) MLAs. Dethroned a government. Assam was experiencing high floods at that time. But they didn’t care about that at all. The former government, which was formed back in 2019, was also a product of many controversies.

Scenario 2, Karnataka: One of the very few states (might be the only one, need to recheck that) where an ex-CM was sent to jail for corruption. The story of forming and dismantling a government often follows the same path as Maharashtra.

Scenario 3, West Bengal: Two of the top ministers from the current ruling party are in jail for huge scams. A few have been jailed earlier. A few probably will be in jail in (and for) some time. It has become a regular incident where politicians are interrogated by ED and CBI here in West Bengal.

In short, politicians are opportunists and corrupted. But why do the first two states are two of the best performing states when it comes to job opportunities and West Bengal isn’t one? Because of the people.

Any societal change that happens in a place comes from the people. It is a bottom-up approach, not a top-down approach. Mukulika Banerjee in an episode of ‘The seen and the unseen’ has summed it up nicely. This is what she said (paraphrased):

Even when the left would win in Bengal, you would see nearly 40% of votes were there for the Congress and later the TMC. This is like supporting your favourite team. You don’t stop supporting them because they are going through a bad phase, you stand with them in solidarity.

This might even be more true for many other states. But the statement, alone, captures what is wrong with the state. Last time the condition was so bad that the main opposition party, which was vociferously against the ruling party for corruption and misdeeds, ended up taking many MLAs from that ruling party itself. The funny part is, even a year ago, these MLAs were accused by this opposition party. Helpless situation.

In another case: Two politicians from the ruling party, who were jailed and were in CBI interrogation, have become Facebook and social media clowns for the last 3-4 years! They are literally celebrated and made fun of by almost everyone. And their misdeeds aren’t even talked about. Just imagine.

The change can only happen in this state if the people decide to change. You can support your party but at the same time, you should be seeking a good job and a better future for yourself and your children. If that doesn’t fuel the change, I don’t know what will.

One quote by the late Soumen Mitra captures this situation perfectly:

When Congress came to power, people used to say that the Britishers were better. Then when CPIM came, people used to say that Congress were better and now they believe CPIM did better than this government.

26.

Turned 26 today.

26 always felt like a special number to me. There might be quite a few reasons for that.

While I was giving my first big examination of life, that is the 10th board (or as we call it Madhyamik Parikhsa), my elder cousin turned 26. And he went on to join his first ever job. Not only him but there were many of my elder relatives who would join some big MBA colleges before landing a lucrative MNC job. 26 always felt like the age of independence to me. Always thought of it as the magic number. Whatever you do in life, you ought to find yourself by 26. I always believed that.

Another reason might be in the number and the significance in life. 10 years since the first significant examination of life. One is expected to grow enough by 26. You are not in your early 20s. You are expected to have some sort of ‘stability’ in life. You’re also far (?!) from your 30. You’re not likely to be a family man or start taking more responsibilities. (At least I think that’s the case for most of the middle and upper-middle-class families)

Previously, I had made a chart about the things that I would like to do by 26. Looking back at the chart, I see most of them being done. But one big question which I didn’t ponder upon was the purpose of one’s life. I often think about it nowadays, might be because of watching ‘The Good Place’. What’s the purpose of this life? I started working full-time 16 months back. Got promoted 4 months back. Might get promoted again. Or leave the current organization for something else. Then? When would it stop? All these nowadays feel so mundane. Lucky are those who have the purpose of life figured out.

One of my friends topped CAT 3 years back. But he didn’t join any IIM. He was aiming for ISI. He could only get into ISI last year. Now, 3 years back I thought he is crazy! Might be out of his fricking mind! Now, I feel like, he is one of the most mature men (or women) that I know of. He had clarity of what he wanted in and from life. He set his goals and achieved them. I wish I will have that soon.

The day, otherwise, was quite ordinary (really love these ordinary days). Did something similar like I had done the last year. Then went to East Bengal Club to witness the first training session of this season. And finally ended up listening to some stories by a random Swedish gentleman at Broadway.

Cheers to 26. I guess.

About You!

I must write about you
In a big city of broken dreams and bereavement
Full of lifelessness and lack of enticement
You’re like the last train, carrying them home
You’re like my ray of hope when I am all alone

I am writing about you
They say a pen is mightier than the sword
But how can I depict you through a few mere words?
In a deserted land, you’re like the only flower
On a cold day, you’re like a warm shower

I did write about you
And then I showed you them
You thought they were for someone else
Someone with, a different name
I sighed and smiled at this situation
Knowing my train has missed another station

P.S: I generally don’t share my poems here. But recently I was told by someone to just share them and not think about how they will be perceived by others. So just doing that.

The science in poetry

One of the things that define science is how universal it is. It is essentially the observation of nature to some huge extent. Sure, there are perspectives in many scientific findings. Even, science teaches us about perspectives. But the universal property is quite innate to science. Ricky Gervais eloquently summed it up in this video:

What he says is:

You see, if we take something like any fiction, any holy book, and any other fiction and destroyed it, in a thousand years time that wouldn’t come back just as it was. Whereas if we took every science book and every fact and destroyed them all, in a thousand years they’d all be back, because all the same tests would be the same result.

This is quite thought-provoking and he is spot on with it. Even if you delete all the scientific books, the scientific truths won’t change. Force will always be equal to mass times the acceleration. Speed will always be equal to distance divided by the time taken to travel the same. They are universal truths. Now, this got me thinking about poetry and the science in it.

A large part of poetry involves correlating one’s feelings with natural objects. Be it Pablo Neruda’s “And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture” or Javed Akhtar’s “Kabhi yun bhi to ho...ye naram mulaayam thandi havaayen..jab ghar se tumhaare guzaren, tumhaari khushboo churaayen…mere ghar le aayen” (Eng: Sometimes this should happen..when this soft tender cool breeze passes your house, it steals your fragrance and brings it to my house..). All the great poets have used nature and natural phenomena as the object of writing. My hypothesis is this: Even if we destroy all the books of poems, we will have similar things coming back to us. Nature won’t change. The rivers will continue to flow. The wind will have its fragrance. And the poets, with their pensive hearts, will observe and write about them.

This all came to my mind on a fine evening when I was coming back from the office while humming a Beatles song: You never gave me your money. There is a line in that song that goes: “Oh, that magic feeling… Nowhere to go, nowhere to go…”. Now, this has a striking resemblance with a line from Rabindranath Tagore’s poem “Dui Bigha Jomi” (My little plot of land): “I consoled myself: God has decided not to confine me to this small plot of land; Perhaps I am fated to roam far and wide and end up in some distant strand.” They are eerily similar in a sense. And the chances of the Fab Four not coming across Tagore’s Dui Bigha Jomi is also high. Then how is the similarity? It is because (IMO) poetry captures these universal feelings of the human race. And these feelings will stay the same as long as there is this universe. As long as there is nature. And that’s the reason, I believe, even if you destroy everything, there might well be another Neruda in the future who will write: “I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees…” or something in that line.