I see you staring back at us…. even when we are not watching you!
You are amongst us, in the privacy of the bedroom and also when we sit together. You keep an eye on the children too.
We build pedestals with panelling and ledges around you. We put sound bars to amplify your voice and worship you. Even the poor and the wanting hang on to your grace. We are seeking from you. While we are trying to manipulate and control you, we succumb to your hypnosis and surrender meekly. We submit our minds to your control, to fill our emptiness… to kill our aspirations. We get numb, comfortably.
We have tried, though, to rebel against you. There was a time you would hang around the front room (the one that some of us affectionately call as the drawing room, to draw in guests I presume). The guest, in the Indian tradition, is a God by invitation. But you took the attention away, and quietly replaced the guest in billions of homes. The guest would come in expecting to be treated kindly, even if not revered, to be talked to. But he would receive a cursory glance in the homes and they would all stare back at you, most respectfully. The poor guest would soon follow cue, feeling awkward, till the time came for his departure. You were surely the God of the drawing room. Not any more though, now some of us see reason and the drawing room has been set free, although the room itself has been reduced to a mere foyer over time. The guests are not coming in anymore, but that’s another story.
You preside over the family living room, however. The central position of the house. People even pick themselves up from the dining room and sit around you as they mindlessly gorge on anxiously, to add to their over weighted-ness. They dissolve into your soaps. The erstwhile God in the puja meanwhile, like the erstwhile guest, is adjusting to the situation, at first having been moved from the central position to a convenient corner and then slowly crawling into a nook.
You are expanding meanwhile, growing in size (though you are still measured in inches)! You also are getting into new avatars: LED, curved, 3D, and today, smart! I wonder why people took so much time to realise you were smart… or maybe it is their futile attempt at denying their stupidity!
We have not, however, lost it all. You are out of the dining room too, but I’ve seen often that the house help put up a small throne for you in the kitchen, so they can pray silently.
Then of course you are present in the private rooms of every couple. They sleep right across you, paying attention to you till they drop off, one earlier than the other.
The elderly watch you reverently too, till they have to leave forever, first one, and then the other. The guest definitely needs you for company as the hosts are busy; and the children love you, so that they can mercifully avoid answering the inane questions that the parents keep asking them.
But I have news for you! Every God has its day!!
The mobile phones make you irrelevant now. And your time is near, as the mightiest of Gods now enters the home, in a temple built for him, called the Home Theatre. He will vanquish you, even as the smaller Gods in their mobiles and apps make you redundant!!!
I will smile, because there is more money to be made in the design of projection home theatres, than in TV consoles….
By Samarendra M. Ramachandra