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Telly, Pakistani style

August 28, 2013

I don’t want to speak ill of Pakistani television.  I’m sure there are plenty of people who settle down for the evening (whilst the electricity is still working), cup of tea and ginger nut in hand to watch, quite happily, some chap screech into a microphone.  Should said chap not be quite your thing you can change to the next channel to watch another chap, identical in almost every way, screech into his microphone.

Alternatively you can indulge in a Vicarious Hajj (and who wouldn’t be up for a spot of that?).  The hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca which every good muslim should do at least once in his or her life as one of the five pillars of Islam.  Once the pilgrim gets to Mecca they perform various rites, one of which is to walk 7 times anticlockwise around the Kaaba, a big black box to which all Muslims face when they pray.  There are channels (yep, more than one) on which you can watch people walking round the Ka’aba repeatedly.  That’s all they show. It’s kind of mesmerising.


Look, look – there’s Dad on the telly!  He’s the second from the left…no, third on the right…no…

Alternatively you can practise your Urdu and revel in the artistic excellence of Indian soap operas.  For those who can’t get them I’ll précis: There’s generally a rather rotund ageing lady, let’s call her “Grandma”.  She lives with her daughter, a put-upon middle aged lady who’s constantly in the kitchen, let’s call her “Mum” and a very beautiful young girl.  Then there’s a chap with thick eyebrows and a pouty intense expression.  He might be a son, he could be the milkman – it’s not always easy to tell. His main occupation, however, is to look serious and brooding. He doesn’t say much.  Then there’s a younger man, clean shaven with less exciting eyebrows.  In my very brief flicks through I can tell you that there seem to be 2 plot lines:

1. Young girl and  young man try to go for a walk. Mum comes out of kitchen, wringing hands.  Grandma shakes finger.  Older man broods.  Young girl and young man don’t go for walk.

2. Grandma goes to hospital.  Mum sits by her bed, wringing hands.  Older man broods.  Young girl and young man try to sit together at Grandma’s bedside.  Grandma shakes finger (weakly).

Come to think of it, I think they’ve stolen the plotlines from 1980s Eastenders. I’m sure I saw something similar with Lou Beale in hospital, Pauline and Arthur sitting at her bedside and Michelle and Lofty heading off for a quick ‘walk’ somewhere, although I may be misremembering (with big thanks to Hillary Clinton for that hacking destruction of the English language).

Of an evening, we therefore generally resort to a nice box-set.  We’ve worked our way through all the usual suspects: The West Wing, The Wire, Homeland and The Gilmour Girls (A bowed out at series 3 – I made it all the way to the end of series 7.  Had to see if Rory and Logan made it.  I won’t ruin it, but have the tissues ready.) and we’re at something of an impasse until Homeland 3 comes out.  So thank heavens for VPN and The Great British Bake Off, which has just started back in the UK.

VPN stands for virtual private network.  It’s a little ‘thingie’ (program? app?)  that you download onto your computer and which fools BBC iplayer into thinking that you’re in the UK, so you can use it.  Clever, eh?  It does, however, mean that you still have to rely on Pakistani internet to watch anything and on BBC iplayer running well.  Happily no one seems to work in Pakistan before, oh, 11am when everyone is still asleep back in the UK. ‘Bake Off’ is on Tuesday night in the UK.   I can see a new pattern emerging to Wednesday mornings. H gets dropped off a school oh so promptly.  I rush home – quick coffee an croissant in hand (I can work up quite an appetite watching other people bake) and Paul’s your uncle, Mary’s your aunt.


There she is, the lady herself.

I have this book.  It sits proudly on my kitchen shelf indicating to all and sundry what a keen and talented baker I am.  Now I just need to stop watching television and open it…

(photo of The GBBO book courtesy of Amazon)


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  1. The West Wing – I LOVED The West Wing. Finished the final series fairly recently, and felt quite bereft for 2 or 3 days. I sometimes find it a bit hard to think back in American politics and remember whether it was Bush, Clinton or Bartlett who did something. I have a girlie crush on CJ, and want her to move to Scotland and be my best friend. I am also a little in love with Sam Seaborne.

    Bake Off is safer waters. No-one to fall in love with there, and it doesn’t screw with your knowledge of world history.


  2. We watched the West Wing when it was on the TV (back in the old days before we watched series in full after they were done). We’ll still happily watch episodes in re-runs. I saw the Gilmore Girls series as well. My A also did not join me but he happily downloaded episodes for me. What was it about Logan? You can find Matt Czuchry on The Good Wife which apparently is quite good… I’m waiting for it to be cancelled…

    I haven’t caught the Great British Bake Off. The current obsession around these parts is the Australian Masterchef Series (the American series is really mean and more about the drama). For us it’s more about the eating than the cooking. And it’s true, you can work up quite an appetite watching other people cook!


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