Seventy five-year-old Sundari Ramasamy returned home with thick black glasses after undergoing cataract surgery. She was advised not to watch television for at least a month. But a hard core serial viewer, Sundari decided to listen to the serials and ended up listening to more than six serials everyday. Slowly she started watching the soap operas. “I couldn’t stop myself from viewing if some important scene was taking place. In Ilavarasi serial (on air at 1.30pm on Sun TV), the protagonist (played by Santhoshi) faced murder charges and was put in jail and I don’t want to just hear it,” says Sundari.
Her day starts with Metti Oli on Sun TV at 11am. Though Sundari had previously watched the serial, she still prefers to watch the re-telecast. “It’s a very good serial and I love the Gopi character. So I prefer watching it,” she says. Her daughter-in-law too watches the serial. “We switch on the TV at 11am and I listen to the serials from the kitchen. I come in between and watch them and again go back to cooking. I don’t find it difficult as I’m used to this routine,” says Uma Murali, a housewife.
They prefer watching one particular channel rather than switching channels. “It’s not like I don’t do household work and just sit in front of the television. I start cooking from 11am and by 1pm, my mom-in-law and I eat together by watching Vasantham serial on Sun TV.
While Sundari and Uma together watch serials, Geetha Sampath watches serials because she doesn’t have any other option. “My mom Sudha watches Athipookal at 2pm on Sun TV and Mahaan at 6pm on Vijay TV and Thirumathi Selvam at 8pm on Sun TV. She doesn’t allow to surf channels even during the break. Thank God she watches only three serials,” says the final year college student. “Only after watching Thirumathi Selvam my mom starts cooking dinner. We have dinner only at 9.30pm,” adds Geetha.
Sudha says she is not a serial addict like her neighbours. “Being a housewife you can’t be in the kitchen 24/7. I need some kind of relaxation and I get it while watching serials. My neighbours watch all the serials and don’t miss even one, but I pick only two or three serials,” says Sudha, adding, “My relatives don’t call me when the serials are on. They either call or I make calls before 10am or after 3pm. We don’t want to disturb anyone while they are watching serials.”
What if she misses an episode? “I telephone my sister or I prefer arranging my programmes in such a way that I don’t miss them. Sometimes it so happens that an uninvited guest knocks at your door during serial time and yes it irritating,” she laughs.
Kalyani, another serial buff, watches them because she doesn’t want to be excluded from her group of friends. “We, a gang of 10, are a part of Bhaktha Mandali. We sing at the temples during evenings. When my co-singers initially discussed about the day’s serials, I was clueless about it. So, I started watching serials and now it has become a habit,” says Kalyani.
While most of the housewives prefer watching only one channel, Suganya prefers watching the best soap operas. “I don’t want to stick to one particular channel. I watch the mix of everything. If I watch Athipookal on Sun TV, I watch Velakku Vacha Nerathilae at 7.30pm on Kalaignar TV. In that way you get a bit of everything from every channel,” she smiles.