For most of us, telly watching is a favourite pastime during Eid. The first two days are ordinarily spent in slaughtering the bakras and the cows, cleaning up and cutting up meat pieces, marinating roasts and hunter beefs, distributing meat packets to relatives, friends and the maasi brigade. Once this back-breaking exercise is done and over with, there is nothing better than celebrating Eid in front of the TV. Or is there?
Unfortunately this year as in previous years there was an overflow of rubbish TV programs characterized by overdressed hosts who drunk-laughed (eg: Sadia Imam on Dawn TV with her collagen-filled lips smudged with vampire red lipstick and botoxed face, Nida Yasir on Geo TV with a blingy crystal tikka and a white over embellished outfit that was more appropriate for her valima), with over-the-hill comedians helming silly comedy shows (Umer Sharif, Khalid Abbas Dar), starlets hosting shows inviting stock TV personalities (Rambo, Sahiba aur Aap, Eid Lounge by Faisal Qureshi, Eid ka Roz Mubarak with Fiza Ali) un-funny Eid dramas (Pachpan Ka Bachpan, Shah Rukh Khan ki Chooriyan, Bakra Pooray Lakh Ka) and just childish antics (on SamaaTV a competition was held, inviting Mishi Khan, Uroosa Siddiqui to kiss a poor helpless goat on its lips for 50,000 rupees and female politicians participating in antakshari type contests).
Khair, not all of it was traumatic viewing. For die-hard fans of comedy series Bulbulay and Quddusi Saheb Ki Bewah, there were special Bakra Eid episodes featuring the inevitable bakra/gaot as the main protagonist. Since I am not a fan of Bulbulay I preferred watching Quddusi Saheb Ki Bewah, eid special, in which the sisters get into an argument with their mother over getting a handsome goat. As Khajista says, “Amma, even though we were unable to find an eligible match could you at least buy us a good-looking goat.” Except that it was marred by at least 15 minutes of ads, after which I quit watching the episode. Inevitably, the ad breaks led me to channel surf and I ended up mostly watching the slickly produced and highly entertaining Indian music shows such as Sur Kshetra and Best of Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. Several mainstream Urdu channels and other little channels preferred to show Hindi blockbusters such as Rowdy Rathore, Rajneeti, Cocktail) and that too were immensely watchable.
So till next year’s Eid TV misery, goodbye and may the next festival brings us better locally produced programs. Amen.