Love & Life Voices

The Sordid, Family-Unsafe World of Netflix

Even someone as non-judgemental, non-prudish and open-minded as Sunita Pandey suffered shock upon shock.

By Sunita Pandey

The husband and I joined the streaming television bandwagon rather late. Its been just a couple of months since we got Netflix. As a history student, I was rather interested in The Royal House of Windsor and it didn’t disappoint. It was fascinating to see King Edward’s Nazi sympathies out in the open; to empathise with Prince Philip torn between his ego and his sense of duty; and the general changes in the monarchy. I had earlier baulked at paying Rs 800 per month for a subscription, but now it seemed like value for money.

Soon, however, I realised there was another aspect to Netflix I had not anticipated.

house of windsor.jpg
The Royal House of Windsor

Our daughter was home for a few days and, on a lazy Sunday, she recommended Outlander on Amazon Prime. With a big bowl of popcorn and steaming mugs of coffee, we settled down to watch. Five minutes in and the husband yelled at her, “Shut your eyes!”

The couple on screen had begun to feel amorous and decided to act upon their desires, ummm, rather vigorously. My husband couldn’t bear to have his daughter watch such “impure” visuals. While she sat like a little ‘See-no-evil’ monkey, I went to check on my oven. Now I heard him yelling, “Shut your ears! Shut your ears!”

“Seriously!” I thought with a grin, but then I realised I could hear the moans even in the kitchen.

Within minutes, the daughter had joined me. “Mumma, it’s getting too stressful. Every five seconds Babba is yelling ‘aankh bhi band karo, kaan bhi band karo’.” By the time I could soothe her down, the husband stormed in. “What is this rubbish? They are at it like rabbits. Who has recommended this vahiyaat show?” Taking umbrage at his terming her taste vulgar, the daughter flounced out.

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Outlander

I continued watching Netflix whenever I found time. But even my non-judgemental, non-prudish and open-minded self suffered shock upon shock. Historical dramas still fascinated me most. (I know, I know, I sound like the people who claim to read Playboy for the articles, don’t I?)

Sadly, my non-supportive family was deeply skeptical. Each time I said, “I am planning to watch TV,” one or the other would chime in, “Ohh! The nude show?” Awful this family, I tell you.

One night, I decided to watch The Affair. I had seen a few episodes on TV earlier and wanted to know how the story moved forward. My mother meanwhile had suffered a rather severe muscle pull. She was bed-bound and I had employed a night attendant for her. With the husband out on tour, the time was just right for a binge watch.

I settled in bed, lights out, a cup of Horlicks by my side, and switched on Netflix. This was a ‘safe’ serial that I had seen earlier. Then, suddenly, whoa! I almost toppled off the bed. What was Noah Solloway doing? Hey, man, pull your pants up!

The Affair.jpg
The Affair 

Before I had gotten over the shock, Scott’s now-naked derrière loomed large on the television screen. As the moans increased in volume, suddenly ma’s television in the adjoining room was switched off. In that silence, the sounds emanating from my TV set were beyond embarrassing.

Ma luckily has started going deaf but what was the attendant going to think? At this rate, what was the whole mohalla going to think? Where was the bloody remote? I practically wrenched my back searching for it, burnt my hand on the Horlicks but finally got the moaning under control. #Whattarelief!

I won’t lie. I am still watching a lot of Netflix. But now I put on my spectacles, peer very carefully at what the credits say. Anything 13-plus is fine.

If it’s 16-plus then I read the fine print. “Bad language and violence”? Oh bring on the F-bombs. I am quite inured to them. As to the violence, what harm can a few murders do? But if the S-word is there, that’s another story altogether.

Sunita Pandey, 54, is a homemaker, a post-graduate in modern history, and avid NGO volunteer. She has immense faith in the essential goodness of humans.

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