It rained the other day, the first of this year. And I failed to notice until it was over for I was consumed by a TV series that I’d been binging on. That’s what TV series do to you; take you far away from reality.
Netflix had its largest surge in subscriptions in recent history. A boom that stands in stark contrast to a global economy that seems to be heading towards a recession. Both the Netflix boom and the bust in the economy have one cause – COVID 19. Staying indoors and practising social-distancing have resulted in people looking for ways to fight the boredom and it looks like OTT platforms are increasingly turning into the answer; quite evident from the significant surge in subscribers.
While social media and gaming apps seem to lack the capability to keep you engaged and entertained for more than a few hours at a time, the ultimate sorcerer – these OTT platforms – keep you entertained with their movies and shows that cater to every mood.
I’ve been surviving the lockdown away from my family, in a different State. I’ve not had to work since the start of the lockdown, but days have not been dragging away as one would expect them to. All I’ve had to do to kill time is pick an intriguing TV series from the cosiness of a warm couch and let it take me on a journey.
I finished 5 seasons of a series – around 40 hours – within 10 days. I hardly realised time pass by all thanks to the cliffhangers at the end of each episode. The moment I was done with that series, I involuntarily looked for the next one in the recommendations list to dive into. And that’s when it hit me – days were passing by, crossed off the calendar, without any significant mental or physical effort on my part. That though this is a mandatory isolation period, with no pressure to get work done or be productive, it is still my life passing through time. And that these ‘pills’ of entertainment were leading to my blatant disregard of my poor sleeping pattern, social anxiety, and lack of appetite. I realised that socialising (albeit virtually), physical exercise, art, and innumerable otherworldly activities have taken a backseat while I let this pill take me to a world that I was far more comfortable in.
But should we pause and reflect at the idea of letting life pass by while staring at a screen, alienating ourselves from the real world? Consider the wider vista of possibilities we are bestowed with – watching the first drop of rainfall like delicate beads and feeling the wafting chill that it stirs in the air around you, or maybe taking the time to reach out to a long-forgotten friend, or just pausing to let in the thoughts that might revitalise you in unforeseen ways.
I have decided to put my next binge-session on hold for a while and focus on what the blankness of each day brings in. Because who knows what kind of treasure trove your mind could unveil. Who knows how things could change in unimagined ways during this time of chaos, for good.