Monday, May 2

A mindless pursuit?

Watching television mindlessly for hours and having gained nothing in the end is a routine.

Go back to the early 1980s to find out how much time people had either to spend with their families or do certain other things, like reading, going out with kids and having a stroll in a park.
Now it all seems to be different. People are doing the same jobs with the same working routines, but they are on-the-run all the time. Their social life is shrinking with every passing day. They love to catch up with the lost sleeping hours on weekends. So the present lifestyle of people is primarily because of television, sometimes negligible but mostly a prominent feature of their lives.
For students, television is a necessary thing (read evil) and they want to watch television regularly. "When you have nothing else to do, the best option available is watching television. I do read magazines and other books apart from my syllabus, but I am not a voracious reader. During my school and university days, most of the time, I used to sit in front of television, but without watching it actually, and I kept on reading. I knew nothing about the programmes during those days. As far as my concentration was concerned, it used to be all there and I always knew what I was reading," said 23-year-old Rabia Ahmad, who has recently done her masters from Lahore College for Women University. "These days, even if I am not watching television, I can read, but again not too much. Television does affect reading habits, but only of those who are easily attracted to other things," she averred.
It is not a matter of life and death for few, though too difficult to agree with on the face of it. When one talks to them, it seems to be an integral part of their lives. "I can live without television, but it would not be life actually. I usually watch television for 2-3 hours daily during the nights, apart from reading novels, especially Judith McNaught, for about 3-4 hours. If television would not have been there, then I would have been spending my time either listening to music or reading. Succinctly, I strongly believe that television has adversely affected the humans in numerous ways, but it has definitely brought the world to your bedroom. So it is not without any good influences too," said 24-year-old Noor Fatima, who is presently working with an advertisement company.
Aimen Uthwal is altogether a different individual, who has moved from being a crazy-for-television sort to peace-searching soul. "I used to be crazy about television 3-4 years back. Even during examinations, I sat in the TV lounge till the wee hours. After having a 2-3 hours sleep, I went to take examinations. My parents always believed that I was studying. Even if my eyes were getting closed, but I stretched them to keep on watching television," said 22-year-old Aimen. "But I am a transformed individual now. Television no more interests me. I believe it is an escape from your own self. Now television sounds like ‘a cry in peace’. I think a lot now, and love to read without even the slightest disturbance. I close my room door and keep on studying. I feel comfortable when my family is out of station because I have a lot of time to read short stories. Now, television is a useless box to me," she concludes.
For some people, if television is switched off, then boredom creeps in. But sometimes, if one’s television is out-of-order, it is a blessing in disguise. "I am not watching television for the last two months because its wire-plug has broken down. For initial first 2-3 days, I was cursing myself for not getting it repaired," said advocate Amjad Iqbal. "Instead of tossing and turning on my bed, I took up a magazine and started reading. After some time, I simply forgot television. Since then, I am reading daily and I am so much satisfied with my routine that if I don’t read, I can’t sleep. I think it was a blessing in disguise for me as I always wanted to read," he said.
Reading boosts one’s confidence and relaxes an individual. "I had a lot of tensions, which were never off my mind even before going to sleep. Then I used to watch television till mornings with my mind still gripped by the thoughts. Some how, I started browsing magazines while sitting in front of television. With the passage of time, it used to be a mere voice being overheard by me till I switched off television and involved myself in reading. Now television is a disturbance to me because I enjoy reading a lot," said a freelance journalist Muhammad Taufeeq.
No doubt, television takes a lot of our time – both for its quality programmes and mostly, just mad switching of channels. Most of the people, who watch television for hours together, usually sit in their couches mindlessly. This also brings laziness as one is falsely comforting himself with the idea of moving to some place or doing something after a particular song, drama or two overs, in case if he is watching cricket. In the present day, it is a necessary evil, which is consuming a lot of our free time and talent loss apart from entertaining a big chunk of people. Lets take television out of lives for just a week to see changes in our routine. Just try it instead of sitting in front of television for hours together and getting up empty minded, which is a usual practice.

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