In my last article I was angry that a show called Pahredaar Piya ki with child marriage as the central theme was about to be aired. After more than 15 episodes of crap, I am trying hard to be calm in the face of outrage.

The husband tells me to calm down and learn anger management because raised tempers do not solve anything.  So, I controlled the urge to say nasty things about the latest Flipkart ad, with the oh-so-cutesy girl who plays the nagging wife and a prematurely bearded boy plays the male stereotype at the receiving end of the said wife, problematic visiting in-laws and above all, is also, apparently the solo provider. I am appalled at the setting of this bad an example to a society which is gearing to fight for gender equality, equal opportunities and female education.

Pahredaar Piya ki is so ridiculous that it should not even be watched, yet the nation watches it as per TRPs and comments on social media. I feel helpless.

I read two days ago that girls who are as young as 5 have walked the ramp in a fashion show in a mall in China. As per the images, the children wore nothing but lingerie, costume wings and headpieces in front of a snap-happy crowd. My blood boils yet I control myself because anger is never productive.

I feel a sense of dismay now. Pahredaar Piya ki is so ridiculous that it should not even be watched, yet the nation watches it as per TRPs and comments on social media. I feel helpless.

I am no longer sure what dismays me more. Is it the dichotomy of sonylive.com classifying it as romantic drama and the disclaimer that the show does not propagate child marriage? Or is it the reality that despite an outpouring of outrage from concerned parents and social interest groups the serial is still allowed to run with people urging us to give the serial a chance?

On one hand, there are celebrities who refuse big-ticket advertisements if the product does not agree with their philosophy and on the other hand the cast of this serial display no qualms about working for a show with such a morally wrong storyline.

Pahredaar Piya ki

PAHREDAAR PIYA KI
I got a chance to skim through a few episodes and trailers to check whether they have corrected their act. What I saw was wrong at so many levels. I have problems with many portions of the episodes.

I have a big problem with the scene where Diya and Ratan chase each other in the bedroom complete with a fully decorated suhaag-sej. For a nation that has grown on a steady diet of symbolism in cinemas like two flowers or birds depicting the act of sexual relevance, the play with flowers and chase alludes to everything the show intends it to depict. Call it a problem of my perspective however, I deal with TOMA (Top of Mind Awareness) and perceptions on a daily basis and I know symbolisms and innuendoes are intended to work in that manner. The lurid tweets on social media are an evidence of what people have concluded looking at the trailer and episode.

one on hand there are celebrities who refuse big-ticket advertisements if the product does not agree with their philosophy and on the other hand the cast of this serial display no qualms about working for a show with such a morally wrong storyline.

SPINELINESS
Diya is often seen looking at Ratan with an expression of servile reverence, which annoys me to no end. Well, if she is the pahredaar, I expect her to show some spine in the serial. She is double the boy’s age, any child of 9 who knows one’s table thoroughly will be able to say that.

THE WRONGS
In another scene, a woman warns Diya that Ratan will soon tire of his plaything and move on. If I close my eyes, I will imagine the dialogue is about a lecherous man wooing a woman and not a boy of 9. In my books, the intent and implication, both are wrong.

SUHAAG THAAL
In the last episode, Diya and Ratan are asleep on the marital bed, and Diya is supposed to get ready for the Suhaag Thaal ritual. In a judicious blend of innocence and otherwise, Ratan wakes up rubbing his eyes in a manner any child would and then switches almost immediately to being an adult in command of the situation. He selects her dress, proposes she pleases the matriarch of the family and eventually devises a plan to enter the women’s function because it is his right as her husband to bless his wife. By the way, the show intends to unify every boy’s thinking. Another boy says when he gets a wife; he will not share anything (cake in this case) with him. Is getting married his only dream or aim in life? I thought cricketer, pilot or teacher where standard fare as far as aim in life was concerned for young children?

I am a mother of tween boys. I still regard them as my babies. I shield them from adult stuff and adulating in general. There is time enough to do that when they grow older, I tell myself. I indignantly worry about the child in the serial. The last I checked, Ratan Singh –the 9-year-old boy in the serial is really a 9-year-old boy. This leaves me with several questions.

How do the makers of the serial protect the minor children from adult content during the shoot?

How does a minor child who is mouthing adult dialogues unlearn the same when he leaves the sets?

Does he even understand what Suhag raat and Honeymoon are? Perhaps he just knows what honey is and what moon is but, does he know what it implies when together?

Riti Prasad is the author of Double Trouble, Double Fun!: A Supermom’s Guide to Raising Twins, Wicked Temptations and Mathematics Fun, Fact and Fiction. She works in the Fragrance Industry as Creation Head.