Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Saas-Bahu sagas - the true repositories of Indian culture!

It’s sometime after 8pm in the evening. i am engrossed in my favourite saas-bahu saga on TV. The camera a panning alternatively at the faces of saasuma and bahurani, the background score is moving towards a crescendo. The moment is tense as i anxiously wait for what happens next. My husband walks into the room unnoticed and adds his sarcastic comment on the scenario which jolts me back to my drawing room!
At other times in a similar situation, he shrugs dismissively and wonders aloud,  “How do you even watch these programs?” and thus ensues our argument. He’s not interested in ANY of the programs i watch and that’s not fair. Judging any woman who is a fan of saas-bahu serials based on this fact is gross injustice. Women watching them are generally scoffed at as having nothing better to do or a reasonably high IQ. That’s why a lot of people who watch them will not admit the fact!

i don’t understand what is wrong in watching the saas-bahu serials! i am proud of the fact that i follow them diligently. If i can’t watch them live, i painstakingly put the series on record on my Tata Sky Plus (thank god for this great invention of man!) i agree that most programs have a similar look and feel to them but so do most Enid Blyton or Jeffrey Archer books!

i think you need to have exceptional intelligence to peel the onion and appreciate the finer aspects of these programs. i hope after my humble attempt to do so for the reader, you will be able to comprehend how valuable these gems of television actually are!

First of all, these programs are made for the mass consumption of women and women like me who spend loads of time at home. And if we don’t watch them, who else will! Let the men smirk and scoff at our choice of programs but who cares! We do not interrupt when they choose to watch sensational pieces in the garb of news (at dinner time!!!!!). You will soon see what a great idea it is to watch them!

Secondly, these programs are greatly responsible for promoting our national dresses! They have kept sarees and kurtis alive in the public consciousness! Where else can you feast your eyes on such a wholesale parade of Indian attire!! While the real life betis and bahus have shed the 6-yard ensemble, it is these characters who have kept it going. Show me one woman in these shows who isn’t dressed like a true bharatiya naari, pallu dutifully on her head and a mangalsutra running all the way to the tummy! (As if the length of it is directly proportional to how pati vrata she is!!)

i feel the most important contribution of these shows is the portrayal of indian values at their best. When kids of generation Y have only heard stories of so-called joint families, these programs actually depict them in action! All of them have joint families and women of the household cook collectively in the kitchen. (Ask your grand mum and she’ll tell you it was a reality a couple of generations ago!) No matter how opulent the family, it is the bahu raniyan who are seen running around the house fussing over the household chores, just like yesteryears! (No career women here!)

i’ll give you one more reason why saas-bahu shows are the true repositories of Indian culture. They have kept the real status of an indian woman alive! Every woman on the shows is a maa, behan, beti, patni and is never allowed to forget her multiple roles by frequent allusions to it. i mean i am all for the modern career woman but come on we are so much more than just that!! Had it not been for these programs, i would have never realised the host of roles i am!!

Yet another reason why women who watch these shows are better off than those who don’t is these programs are extremely knowledgeable. In these times of kalyug, when women are only career minded, these programs remind them of their real duties! How many times have you heard your in-laws spout sentences like

“Aarti bahu ko ek acchi bahu, yash ki patni aur bachchon ki maa bankar dikhana hoga”
“hamare ghar ki bahuein bahar jaakar do paison ke liye naukri nahin kartin”.
“Arre tu us ghar ki beti thi lekin ab tu is ghar ki bahu hai. Tere haath mein is khandaan ki izzat hai”
But these programs have an abundant supply of such advice! i sure feel more responsible as a bahu and patni (and surely later in life an achhi maa also) since i watch them!

So the next time you go bashing about these programs, remember that they are champions of social change and reminders of lost indian values.


  1. nice article babe... I think people think that these are just std gossip shows coupled with the usual MIL & DIL fights etc. But our lives will relate to some parts of every program.I love watching Desperate Housewives, and it is anything but what t
    he name of the program depicts!

  2. Suman ...it is true that most Indian men can't stand saas bahu stuff......I could NOT stand that "Bold and The Beautiful", "Santa Barbara", and all the other stuff which I am sure Indian Serial makers took inspiration from. I remember the aunties would watch religiously.
    You had entire lives that revolved around the serials and damn they ran for a decade almost.
    The reasons for guys not liking this are simple
    1. Camera panning on One person is almost 1/2 the show.
    2. Lot of Slow motion stuff - 1 min becomes 10 minute scene.
    2. The numerous rituals applicable for every thing get a guy mad.
    3. AS you said the onion has too many layers to be peeled off. And we can't stand this.
    but as you said above - they give a glimpse of another world that is there, but is being forgotten.
    It is true that a lot of the younger generation don't realize what the earlier generation accomplished with what was available.
    I wonder about what is craved for Now.
    1. Instant satisfaction.
    2. 24X7 Electricity , Water - Amenities.
    3. Lot of Money but even lower brains.

    It is a sorry state of affairs for us. Wonder what the next generation will know about what we did.

    1. Thanks for the long comment. Rohan! But the point of the post wasn't exactly about men not liking it! It was about how useless these programs are which depict a society which is defunct in today's times!!

  3. Suman well said!!! yes they do remind us of our culture the good the bad and the ugly.The only problem is in the chase of TRP's the panning of the camera on every face every thirty seconds, the drag of every idea like they might run out of ideas and hence shut down, annoys, I watch them as well most of us do I am sure, and am guilty as charged just that some of us tout it others don't;)

  4. To each his own :) I prefer watching Comedy Central and that isn't intellectually stimulating either.