Earlier when someone would ask me what my hobbies were I’d say writing, painting, cooking, and a little bit of reading. But now I have a new and trending addition to this list. Netflixing. Yes, that’s a legitimate word and I do it so passionately that I have begun including it in my hobby list. And to think of it I never ever expected such a thing to happen to me! Wondering why is that? Well, read on to find out about my tryst with Netflix.
Watching anything on screen (by screen I am mostly referring to the TV), according to me, qualifies as being something we do to kill time/ stay updated on news, and sometimes to relax and unwind. By this definition, at the most it is a pastime. So, when people around me would list it as their hobby in the slam books we used to fill in school and college, I’d laugh my heart out. I mean how can someone watch content so passionately that they list it as their hobby? Movies, I’d still understand but TV?!
Content on Indian TV from mid-and-late 90s onwards has only spiralled downwards in all possible ways right? The saas-bahu sagas and myriad reality shows, now including news as well are a case in point. How can such content ever satisfy the senses? These thoughts always prompted me into passing a sly smile the moment I’d see someone relate TV viewing to a hobby.
In fact the last decade/ decade and a half I have hardly consumed TV content excluding some of the hit English shows telecast on Indian TV ages after they were first broadcast abroad. Lost, Friends, Sex and the City, Two and a Half Men, When I Met your Mother being a few of them. I and my husband would usually watch a lot of movies over the weekend and that was the only content fix we’d enjoy as weekdays are always too busy for any TV.
But then came the era of digital content and it is like everything changed in the space of a flash. We started getting access to better and more varied content in India, both national and international. And with such content just a click away, we started consuming so much of it. The choice of content that the digital medium offers is truly incredible. TV quite literally hit saturation point for me because inspite of like hundreds of channels available, everything would seem mundane and nothing interesting. I’d just keep flipping channels and then ultimately switch it off. We finally figured cable TV had nothing to offer us and ditched it three years ago.
We started off with Amazon Prime which did not have a lot of content then but still we used to figure out some show or movie of our liking. We have two very little children and haven’t yet exposed them to movies or content that’s not animated. With them around we wouldn’t visit any theatres too. All we had was content on the digital platform which we got to enjoy late nights once the kids were packed into their bed for a good night’s sleep.
With time, content across the digital platforms started improving and we switched to Netflix. It was no longer just Indian or English content but a huge platter of amazing stuff from across the world. Japanese, Spanish, German, Korean…the list goes on. It felt great to be in command of what we wanted to watch or enjoy than aimlessly/ hopelessly skim through the bouquet of cable TV channels.
Romantic comedies, dramas, thrillers, sci-fi stuff, documentaries, historicals, lifestyle shows, food shows…the options are so good that its the mood that gets to make the choice. Ahh, wonderful ain’t it. We have had the chance to explore such wonderful content over the last couple of years – a mentalist who is unravelling case after case to get at his wife and daughter’s murderer, a young divorcee from the late 1950s who is fighting all odds to make her career in stand-up comedy, a story of alternate universes at the verge of collapse, a wormhole that facilitates time travel, a CIA analyst uncovering a corruption scandal, a young Mumbai couple figuring out their relationship, the Vikings, the story of England’s longest standing ruler, an Asian Britisher giving tips on practical cooking for families….well I can go on and on, believe me.
It is this eclectic range of content that has me totally consumed. So much so that I used to end up staying up very late in the night to finish that one more episode of a show. I have been quite literally awake till like 3 or 4 am in the morning just binging on a show – not just on weekends even weekdays. This was a brief phase. Thankfully, I am much more controlled now! But when I did it I actually over did it to such an extent that my husband seriously contemplated on discontinuing all digital media subscriptions. Hufff! The deal now is that we watch just one episode on a weekday before calling it a day. And weekends we indulge a little more.
Now when you do something with so much love and interest, it is fair enough to list it as a hobby right? Even though it contradicted my earlier belief or technically it still doesn’t constitute to be a hobby. Hmmm, that’s debatable but we will let it rest there.
Do share your experiences and thoughts about this big wave of digital media content. And very soon I will list down some of my current Netflix recommendations which I enjoyed quite a bit and are quite unique in their own way.
Until then, happy Netflixing!