1. They are endless: Climaxes for these soaps do not exist. One of the characters in a Star Plus soap was shown to have lived through four generations. The director still planned to keep her alive had she not died a real-life death.
2. There’s no such thing as certain death. Now, as far as I know, when you’re dead, you’re dead. But in Indian soaps a character can die and return as many times as the director wills it.
3. Once a character is killed off, they may return to the show with a completely new face. Even the height, eye colour, and voice are different. Under some circumstances, the said character returns having suffered memory loss. This character thus remembers nothing except the latest fashion trends, of course.
4. Endless affairs: In every soap, there must be at least one extra-marital affair, and every extra-marital affair has to produce an illegitimate child. I would have thought that science had progressed enough to take care of that. But it seems that in the world of Indian soaps, the plastic surgeons are much more advanced than the gynaecologists.
5. Absurdly large families: I am always amazed at how so many people can be accommodated in one house. What is even more surprising is how easily room is made for any added member. Do all middle-class Indians live in palaces?
6. The crazy math of money: Rich folk can lose their money if they screw up one deal out of the millions they conduct every day. They are shunted to a small house if one of their 50 factories catches fire. Meanwhile, the women may not have beds to sleep in, but they have gold jewellery that they can wear even as they do the dusting and sweeping.
7. The universal utility of the set: the living room seen in the first soap becomes a restaurant, and 30 minutes later it turns into an office. The same building keeps changing into a club, a bar and even a five-star hotel.
8. Drum rolls: Whether someone dies or a supposed-to-be-dead person returns (only to attend his/her spouse’s wedding, of course), your eardrums are sure to be pierced. These ear shattering notes follow arguments, slaps, and shocking moments in general.
9. Non-existent door locks: You live in a huge mansion and you do not have locks on your bedroom door? Some nosy aunty from the family can easily peek into your bedroom when you are getting naughty with your husband’s sister’s husband’s cousin. Surely, a disaster waiting to happen.
10. The age math. It is beyond me how the son can look older than his mother and younger than his wife. Maybe in the next season, they will all unveil themselves as the Cullens. Now that would be cool, wouldn’t it?
Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, January 15th, 2012.
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