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my first encounter with the show i refused to watch, or episode 1 of episode 1

this is the episode i did all i could to miss when the promos started airing back in early 2011. i could not believe that any hindi serial… any… could actually come up with a story of a handsome suave sexy rich young man and not fall flat on its face.

where were such men on our television?

in fact, anywhere in reality?

they only lived in romantic novels, classic and not so classic… usually they resided in the west and went to hollywood; oh please don’t tell me that guy who is trying to look cool swinging a golf club in that promo is actually someone who can do that brash good looker tycoon thing. i mean really… i have seen him in a couple of places… yeah something about him, but that sort of role? he will surely be embarrassing.

who’s that girl on a scooter? so this is the “new” heroine, comfortingly middle class, very indian and traditional but ha, gotcha, she is on a two wheeler, she be modern. i was not too convinced, nor too sad i wasn’t.

after all who watches a hindi serial with any seriousness… or in fact, at all.

sometimes i wondered about the tagline… nafrat paas aaney na de, mohabbat door jaane na de. hatred doesn’t let you come close, love doesn’t allow any setting of distance. sounded nice. but no, i would not be there 6 june to catch the first episode.

all was going well, i may never have reached this page, had one fine evening i hadn’t looked at the television and caught sight of a young man walking toward a woman in red by a poolside. yes, it was the same girl with crazy plait i had seen in a casually perused episode earlier… but the man? yeah, he was okay, but surely his chin was too pointed, he really couldn’t be that smart… let me see, yeah… oh, he is going closer…

i had not realised of course, but i had almost stopped breathing by then, and once that diwali episode was done, i had to stay up till 3.45 am watching it repeatedly on youtube, on my handphone as i lay awake and startled out of my complacence.

soon i had seen all diwali episodes and some of what came before. then one day i thought, must go back to the beginning… and finally saw episode 1.

of iss pyaar ko kya naam doon?

i found out how completely wrong i was about many things. about serials and what they can offer a jaded middle aged stubborn condescending woman. about girls on scooters. about rich handsome smooth and sexy hindi serial heroes.

monday to friday changed forever that november in 2011, and here in singapore, it wasn’t 8pm, it was 12 midnight.

continue reading the second part here


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