The Almighty Idiot Box

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Picture this. Around Seventy- eighty people sitting spellbound.  You can hear them breathing. Their faces look intent. A blue ray falls calmly on their faces.

Location: Ramesh Dutta Street. A not so popular corner in the metropolitan city of Kolkata.  Everyday people from various geographical, socio-cultural locations, from eight to eighty, come for a peep through the window to the world. The window named television.

In this modest locality, huddle together various groups of marginalized people. Some of them drive three wheeler vans to ferry goods from one place to another, some are rickshaw pullers, some collect old clothes from door to door and sell them on the pavement, some are daily labourers and some beggars. Many are migrants and many without work or shelter. The place is surrounded by three ‘red light areas’. One is Sonagachi (one of the largest in Asia), and the other two are Maniktola Lane and Sethbagan.

Even the children in the area have no easy lives.  But two television sets at the two ends of Ramesh Dutta Street become the only escape for them each evening, escape from their daily drudgery.

They do not care about the ills of the idiot box for the red blue rays from the set bring them hope and strength each evening. Evening after evening.

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