During our stay in Pune, in the first apartment we stayed, the owner had provided a TV. We had to soon move out because the apartment was in the topmost floor which translated to unbearable heat in the summer. In the second (and current) apartment, the owner did not provide a TV. The contrast in experience because of the presence and lack of TV respectively has been quite amazing.
The first significant aspect is that my wife and myself spend more time talking and discussing and actual exchange of thoughts. And yes, more communication also means lesser scope for misunderstandings and so on.
Our life is more real because of no sensationalizing TV news anchors, no unrealistic portrayals on TV which skews our thinking, and no constant advertisements. This was also noted by Rukhmini Punoose in her recent DNA article “Why the TV should stay off”.
Because there is no TV, people tend to ask the Joey question: “What’s all your furniture pointed at?” :)
2 Social Media
I used to respect TV news channels CNN-IBN and NDTV, but after reading @mediacrooks, @centerofright and @kiranks, I’m completely shocked at how much of the truth gets suppressed by the TV channels a.k.a. “paid media”.
An example: The recent Assam riots which CNN-IBN doesn’t consider important enough to cover because there are not enough deaths while the truth is that these news channels don’t want the masses to know that the current government is responsible for this.
And I would have never known this if I hadn’t stopped listening to paid media and started listening to social media. Of course, I still subscribe to DNA newspaper to get a balanced view as well as local news coverage.
As a bonus, listening to social media means we get to hear about unsung hero lawyers in India and more.
Interestingly, even my wife now follows @mediacrooks and @centerofright via the Flipboard app on her phone.
Update on 26 Sep, 2012 : We are hooked to the Chai with Lakshmi online show!
3 Watch any show
When my in-laws came visiting, they still needed TV news, so YuppTV app on the iPad came to the rescue, and they were able to watch the local Kannada news channel right in their hands.
And even considering the useful TV channels, just watching them would mean that information is inevitably lost, for example, my wife is enjoying searching for “rajma masala” on youtube and watching the video tutorial any number of times and pausing any time than having to quickly note down the recipes while watching a cooking show. On the same note, she’s learning much much more, for example, having free time to kill means she visits Pinterest or Ravelry or YouTube and picks up some knitting, crochet or tatting skills and designs.
I have read more books in the non-TV period than in the with-TV period of equal duration. My wife read “How I Taught My Grandmother To Read And Other Stories” by Sudha Murthy, “Single in the City” by Sushmita Bose, and so on. I read books such asJaya (A retelling of Mahabharata) by Devdutt Pattanaik and other books in progress.
The mere act of choosing the entertainment than whatever is playing already (do you really want to watch Speed or DDLJ for the thousandth time?) on TV has been great, especially watching old movies such as Wag the Dog.
On the same note, I’ve started listening to Sky.fm channels regularly and listen to different genres of music depending on the mood rather than listen to the same old songs or trying hard to find new bands and albums. I re-discovered Sky.fm only because I wanted to fill the void sometimes during breakfast or in the evenings when a little background music would make life more pleasant. I listen to Hard Rock or Uptempo Smooth Jazz during work or when writing a blog post, Smooth Lounge in low volume during dinner, sometimes Club Bollywood when we are in the kitchen, etc.
Update on Nov 12, 2012: Listening to sky.fm/di.fm is better with the Clementine Music Player.
I’ve been enlightened how TV news channels are not telling the real facts, books bought long ago are actually being read by us now, we are having more discussions and more human interaction, and no interesting shows are missed. Best of all, we are more active in choosing how we spend our time, we actually realize there is more and better entertainment out there, we have way lesser distractions and life is not centered around advertisement breaks.