TV viewing for the thin-skinned

I am thin-skinned. Not that I cry at the drop of a hat, but more that it’s difficult for me to ignore an undercurrent in a conversation, or even a static sound on a TC. The official term is Highly Sensitive Person or HSP. HSPs are said to “process sensory data much more deeply and thoroughly due to a biological difference in their nervous systems” (so says Wikipedia).

Right. Now, watching TV is commonly understood to be the easiest thing to do- passive pastime, little effort, no energy expenditure. For most people. For me, it is one of the most tiring activities: one reason being the sensory explosion of sound/ movement/emotion/ colour. The other is the content on TV these days!

For the longest time I even avoided watching the news. But as one grows up, one needs to get connected to realities of modern day living, such as watching Game of Thrones, and Prison Break. I had coped well with the death-a-minute pace of Game of Thrones, but as we started to watch Prison Break some weeks back, I could feel my blood pressure rise, and heart palpitate rather aggressively in each episode. And it had nothing to do with Michael Scofield’s charm.

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“Babi,” I turned to my husband, “Look at the kinds of risks these convicts are taking to escape prison, to go home and be with their wives. But we are already in our home, with each other. Our normal life is their fantasy. They should watch us on TV. Why are we watching them in their prison?”

It’ll get more exciting, he reassured me. “That’s what I am afraid of”, I thought.

*Prison Break Spoiler Alert*

No doubt, it did get more exciting. After the episode where the 4 Burrows across the 3 generations come together, trying to flee across the US border, I dreamt I was living in this nerve-wrecking escape effort. The 4 Burrows were replaced by 5 Khokhars- my brother and I, my dad and his 2 brothers: All of us escaping across a rocky terrain in a ramshackle bus, all with tense foreheads and knitted brows, sweating profusely. For the longest time, everyone just looked around tensely saying nothing at all.

I now realize my brain was having difficulty manufacturing the right dialogue to fit the scene. Since it completely lacked the astute machinations and strategic bent of Michael’s brain (yes, I was Michael in the dream), I finally said, looking all tense and strategic, “No, I don’t like that song. Let’s find a better radio station.” Then some tense argument about song choice on the bus’s music system followed. Even in the dream state, I must have figured this was too lame, and the dream ended soon.

The final straw for me was the episode where the box arrives in Lincoln’s apartment with Sara’s head in it. I was close to throwing up. “That’s it,” I got up and left.

We have switched to Modern Family since then. Reruns.

For those who don’t believe that the shows we watch, or the books we read, impact our own personalities, please note I have become more tolerant since watching Modern Family. Every time I am about to lose patience with loved ones, I am reminded of Claire Dunphy’s reaction at the end of a disastrous array of mishaps at Luke’s birthday party: “These things happen, right?”

The answer is Yes, they do, and all the time. Where’s the need to watch Prison Break?

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