Jan 13, 2010

Simplify your life: Turn off the TV

Today, I woke up to a quiet house. Usually, I wake up to the cacophony of early morning news, chatty TV shows and loud advertisement, not to mention weather and traffic updates every five minutes. As far as I can remember I have always woken up to noise whether it was Vividh Bharti (radio) and later Doordarshan (TV).
Except in the summers when we would sleep outside, under an open sky, snuggled in our blankets under the mosquito nettings and wake up to a quiet, cool summer morning. But that was years ago.
Today, T had left for work earlier than usual and had not turned on the TV like he does every morning. The house was so calm when I woke up, it reminded me of those early summer mornings. I warmed my cup of tea (courtesy T) and basked in the quiet warmth of the ginger infused concoction.
Till, my four year old woke up. On any given day, if we are not watching TV our son is, which is most of the time. Today, he seemed content to play in his room without the TV on and I decided not to turn it on till he asked for it.
Well, as it turned out he didn’t ask for it till half the day was over. Instead, he found and played with toys he hadn’t played with in months, we had a quiet breakfast together, went for a haircut, to see a train, took a bath and cut our nails, all before noon!
All clean and groomed, he watched TV for an hour and a half and had his lunch. A play date with a boy on the street and he was ready for his afternoon nap.
After the nap the TV was still off. We played together for a while and after T came home we had tea and snacks together and caught up on our day.
The three of us played pretend fighter pilots for a little while before I headed off to cook. Dinner too was a quiet family affair with still no TV.
Usually, we feed the picky eater while he is watching his favorite movie or cartoon, then the two of us eat together. Today, all of us sat down together and had a quiet meal without the TV blaring and the click of the remote between shows. 
A quick kitchen clean up and we were back building blocks and reading books. Before we knew it, it was an hour to bedtime.
This may sound strange but my son’s bedtime routine includes about an hour of computer games, which I play with him. We decided to stick to it but ended it earlier than usual.
As we prepared to go to bed, we realized how calm our day had been and how much more time we had to interact as a family. T told me he had not even surfed the net or listened to the car radio on the way to work and back home. I did no such thing but just turning the TV off opened up many more hours in the day for my son and me.     
More than the free hours, my life seemed calmer and less complicated. You just have to count the number of times I wrote the word ‘quiet’ in this post (six times, not counting the word ‘calm’).
After harping for so long about wanting to reach my 100th post and agonizing on whether to cook a dessert or an entrée to post, this day somehow seemed more apropos to log as my century.
Tomorrow, no car radio and if I can help it, hopefully no surfing the net. Unless…

If you are leaving a comment, tell me how many hours of TV your family watches? Ours was 7-8 hours between the three of us.

Disclaimer: This is not to say we are packing and donating our TV to charity. But now that we know we can live without watching our favorite shows or listening to the news, we will think twice before picking up the remote.


  1. Congrats Jaya, that's indeed a 'quiet' way of announcing your 100th Post.
    I am also slowly heading towards my 100th and still not decided what I would want to do.
    It's so true if the TV is off you have loads of hours in hand. Gladly at my place my kids have restricted access to the TV, the play station or the computer. Amongst the 4 of us we probably watch around 2-3 hrs of TV. At night both of us love to chat with each other so after 10 there's no TV, sometimes if there's something interesting to watch then it's a different thing. But ya I listen to a lot of music....especially while completing my morning chores.

  2. Hi girl;)
    I choose not to have a TV in my new apartment, and it was the all time best decision i have ever made.

    My house is calm and chill...and their is NO noise,,,other then from the I-Tunes Jazz radio:)

    One thing that really strikes me...about no TV...is that...just like you.
    I find time to do other things...like read and study a lot more::)

    Plus to be frank...TV these days are filled with negativity and crap:)
    Have a calm, relaxing day:)

  3. I watch very little TV.....and my lil one has restricted hours of watching TV. I prefer reading and music to TV.

  4. I've come under quite a bit of flak for - would you believe this- not allowing my daughter too much TV till she was three. Even now, she watches no more than an hour, and a bit more on weekends. Yes, but we do listen to a LOT of music, we much prefer that.

  5. A couple of hours in the nite between the both of us, or however long an English movie takes with the commercials in between. I have no patience to watch the other movies because the breaks are frequent and the movies stretch almost four hours. I'd much prefer to rent a DVD. As for the Internet, lots of time spent on it - if I don't find anything on TV, then I move to the Net even after the day's over.

  6. Hi Jaya this is my first comment on your blog and let me tell you like these concoction of recipes and good write ups.
    I have a 10 months old who is trying to put his first steps and I always have to keep an eye on him. we have a real big drawing room and almost whole day I sit there with the baby and the TV runs in the background. I hardly watch it but it remains on. recenty there had been a lot of power cut and I strangely discivered that without the Tv both of us manage well. so the TV these days are only on in the evening for 3-4 hours, but during this time too I do my work like embroidery or designing etc.

  7. congratulations on the 100th post DSM..I watch TV while cooking and N never misses AC360, so give and take 4-5 hrs..

    Btwn, I was expecting to see a photo on what you did today in your 365 days project..

    Happy Sankaranthi.

  8. Happy 100th!

    We do not have TV connection at home but we do have a large LCD hung on the wall (thanks to friends who gifted it). We watch max 1 hr each day some old movie from collection. We listen to NPR while having breakfast and in car .. thats about it :)

  9. Thank you lovely ladies for all the information, advice and hearty wishes. :)

  10. Congrats on reaching 100th post, Jaya! For us it is usually 3hrs a day of TV watching.. but I so agree a change like this does make for a wonderful quiet family time thats so rare. Reading your post reminded me of the first story in Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri which details how the life of a couple in a desressed relationship changes with lack of electricity.. do read it whenever you get a chance :)

  11. When the kids were at home, there was definitely more TV hours ( atleast for them). TV is never put on before 8 in the morning. That time (even when the kids were around) was known as devotional/classical music time. And later on in the evening after the news, then you have some mindless programmes that are on, even if none are watching. All in all some 3-4 hours, and that too for lack of anything better to do.

  12. Oops excuse those gramatical errors.

  13. When there's no power at home is when I realize how much work I get to do cos of no tv and the sorts...

  14. A nice and lilting depiction of life without TV Jaya. It is difficult to imagine life , rather even dinner times without TV .. :)

  15. Oh Jaya....it has been a long time since I've had the opportunity to come by for a visit...sorry. I so liked your post today. I grew up in a home where we did not have a TV (except for a few years near the end of my teen years). We kids 'thot' we missed it but you know, we never really did. Until we went to a friend's home. But there was always so much to do at home, playing in the fields, with our toys, helping mom bake, etc. I so rarely turn on the TV now. WE don't have cable and the son turned out just fine. That stupid big box just sits 'dumbly' in the corner....we should remove it...we don't use it! Grin! Love it and happy 100th post!

  16. Congrats for 100th post....
    good topic.....in the past when my first one was between 3-6 I use to have no t.v for weeks when she's awake but lot of music & songs....& after she slept we usually were so tired to watch any t.v....it surely was little difficult because u always need to have some activity in hand for them... now a days it's surely limited time but still on somedays accumulate to 3-4 hrs. I guess specially on the weekend if we r not going out.....plus hubby dear like t.v noises in the background, he says otherwise it's too quite...

  17. Jaya, I came back to read this post because I was running busy the last time I visited your blog-- but I wanted to comment because I think you make such a great point. Desi and I watch a lot of TV-- a lot of it is what we consider "useful" stuff like news and documentaries, but I also spend more time than I should on Seinfeld and Frasier reruns and for a while in the past few months I'd gotten horribly addicted to Desperate Housewife reruns (can you blame me!) :) Of course, at the back of our minds we have always known that watching TV takes away time from other, more quality stuff like reading or even just talking about things that matter. So in recent weeks we've switched instead to turning on the CD player instead of the TV-- music is less intrusive than television, and gives us the opportunity to do other things. I certainly like the idea of having a completely quiet, calming atmosphere--but meanwhile, I am glad we at least watch less TV than we used to. I can't say I miss it!


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