Wednesday, January 13, 2016


8:10 PM: On a cold December night an innocent 6 year old incessantly flips through channels on his remote, until a stellar recreation of the visible universe jumps out at him from his television set and changes his life forever. Well yes you see the usual stars-and-space-blah ALL the time on the Discovery Channel (which is the channel we're talking about).

8:29 PM: The narrator probably said something to the tune of "In 5 billion years, as the Sun nears completion of it's lifetime, it's diameter will expand and it will engulf the very solarsystem that it would have nurtured for the past 10 billion years." *The end*.

Simple enough. But unfortunately, thanks the concept of dubbing to reach a wider audience what the 6 year old sitting in his New Delhi house gets to hear is "5 arab saal mein sooraj, dharti ko nigal jayega" and on cue, the friendly animated Discovery Channel Sun turns a monstrous red and happily expands to take up the entire screen.

The Earth is no more. The credits roll as the boy continues to stare at the screen in a state of shock.

Sleep eludes him for the next couple of nights which he spends with folded arms praying for the safety of his family.

In a couple of days he will come to understand that "5 arab saal" actually means 5 billion years or 50 million lifetimes (200 million if you live in Nigeria.) (Who the hell knows what arab means anyway? How's it even a number? Isn't that a race? When did it become a Number?)

I know kids get scared of random things all the time, but this was different. For starters it happened 19 years ago. Also, I was the innocent 6 year old.

I remember reiterating this story to my school counselor asked me to list down "when you've been scared" when I was in the 6th. Needless to say she couldn't hide her disappointment. (Newsflash: Not everyone is molested by their private tutors.) (Also, who discusses fear with 12 year olds?)

Though, I eventually came up with better (read: socially acceptable to relay) fearful incidents, "Two of us were chased by 20 people on the streets of Guwahati" etc. When I think of fear, it always, on cue, takes me back to those nights in my blanket 19 years ago.

Granted, that by then the only thing I'd thought of twice was how much of a bitch the letter 'R' is to write in cursive, but something from that night has still carried over with me, even though if it's in the form a deep dislike for counting in Hindi (and Urdu by extension) and hatred for the voice of that evil Discovery Channel Hindi dub artist. (He's still there! Or maybe, Hindi voice overlay artists just sounds the same.)


PS: Yes, that post ended abruptly.