Some of the things that make us happiest are the simplest. Like the TV serial ‘Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’.
Let me confess at the outset: I haven’t watched even a single episode of ‘Taarak Mehta ka…’ fully. In bits and pieces – yes, I have. When and where was that? Whenever I visited my younger-brother Vivek’s house … My little niece, Alisha, would be watching it, all glued… So, if I happened to be there, I had better show some interest. In fact, the first time I heard that name – ‘Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’ – was from Alisha… I remember reacting, “Kiska chashmah?”
And, yes, “Ooltah kyun?”
We have no TV at home, you see. So, I was blissfully ignorant about it. But, in today’s world, ‘No-TV’ makes no difference… You get to know and get to see everything on your handset!
The man who wrote, for years, the original stories in daily newspapers was Mr. Taarak Mehta. And, I did not know that, either. It was only a couple of days ago, when Mr. Mehta passed away, I learnt what a literary giant he was… and what a stupendous connect he had! No wonder, the TV show became such a rage among all ages, all class and communities… all over the country and beyond. It has lasted more than any other TV show in our TV-history has… and, dare I say this: It has made more people feel happy than anything else has!
To say this, I do not have to watch the Taarak Mehta shows, myself… People around me are enough.
Some months ago, I was talking to one of our Society members. He was a fine, educated young-man. The topic of discussion was the endless conflict in our society which involved a couple of highly-egoistic men. “These men need to watch ‘Taarak Mehta…’ episodes,” this fellow-member commented, “What a wonderful society ours can be!”
Differences, problems, misunderstandings, quarrels and struggle are integral part of our Life. What makes this Life worth living is the way we choose to live… coming together, sorting out our issues… putting behind our animosity… celebrating our differences and being there in each-other’s joys and sorrows…
Just yesterday, I had a very touching moment to experience. Mr. Jain had brought his 13-year-old daughter to enroll for our upcoming summer-programme of Personality Development. The little girl was visibly upset with her dad’s decision… She was frigid and did not utter a single word initially. I could sense the reason… Mr. Jain wanted his young girl to open up… sound enthusiastic and confident… cheerful. I, immediately, took control of the situation in my own way… The girl began to loosen up… a mild smile flashed across her face… She was talking now… for, no one was judging her… there was no pressure of ‘performing’ before someone, an authority… she was accepted unconditionally… and, it was reassured to her, that she had the right to express her views… an, above all, she was a wonderful person… loved by all.
“Beta, what is your favorite programme on TV? I gently prodded.
There was a sudden burst of cheer in the room… The little one was looking at her dad and elder sister (who too had accompanied)… and they all seemed happy about it…
“Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah…” the little girl declared.
Just on hearing that name, my heart felt the warmth… “I am so glad, you love that programme, beta,” I patted the young-one. Taking it forward, I asked her, if she could write a page on why, in her opinion, ‘Taarak Mehta Ka…’ was such a popular TV show.
The young-lady has agreed to send me the write-up by tomorrow!
One of the reasons why people are unhappy and low in self-confidence, today, is the slow isolation the technology and social media have ushered in... Each one seems to be lost in his own virtual world… No true friends, no family bonding through prayer or meals… Yes, we all have been sucked into this cesspool…
Actually, how simple joy and happiness can be!
Priya, my friend, had in-boxed this video, which is presently going viral. “Gerry, please write something on this subject,” she had urged me. I was mid-way through my ‘Taarak Mehta’ post… So, I assured Priya, that I would, certainly, share the video… “Yes, there ‘is’ a connection,” I had concluded.