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Cricket and KBC constitute our happy hour

Sri Lanka vs Pak ODI Series 2017. Image credit — Google Images

It’s 09.52 pm, and Dad’s watching tv as he waits for his dinner. It seems like another defeat for Sri Lanka is on the cards, with Pakistan maintaining a decent run rate to chase a meagre target of 177 runs. As an over ends, and commercials begin, Dad tunes into Set HD channel, which is currently airing Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC), and the contestant on the hot seat is using Phone a Friend lifeline for a question. ‘Vikram Samwat is the national calendar of which country?’ It’s a question worth RS. 25,00,000. Dad’s confident the answer is Nepal. The contestant isn’t able to make up his mind, doesn’t want to take a risk by answering Nepal, quits. As he quits at Rs. 12,50,000; Dad makes a sad face, knowing that his instinct is is right and should just get Nepal locked.

This is the time of the day, when life becomes almost normal, when Dad’s watching tv, Mum’s doing her accounts, dinner’s getting heated, and the kids are buzzing low in our rooms.

That’s the normalcy we seek each day. That’s the honesty that tv brings us every night.

Cricket is by far the only game which everyone watches with interest in the house. Brother will peek into the room asking about the score. Mum would get mildly interested when India or Pakistan is playing, supporting the teams, and analysing new players versus the old ones. Sister would wait excitedly for a six or four, or a wicket. We all win join into laughter as a funny audience member is shown or a bad move is played by any player.

KBC, on the other hand, evokes multiple discussions over a question. Up till Rs.3,20,000, the questions are mostly simple, getting one of the family member respond with a hint, or general knowledge. Simultaneous sighs over unnecessary need of lifelines, or the excitement over new questions, or just Mum’s wish that one of her three kids also enters KBC contest. All of these dissolve into a happy one and a half hour, easing the night and slumbering us all to sleep.

There are jokes shared between me and my brother or angry vitriol over who gets the right answer. Often, there is an absolute ignorance and the speed at finding it out on the internet. Besides the irritation at relentless breaks on this show, it has so far managed to keep us engaged, and not led to cancelling the set top box subscription.

The intermittent coughing of Dad has made itself a part of this happy hour. We are aware of the pain, but we are also aware of the subtle distraction from it.

As this happy hour draws to a close each night, we gradually move on towards sleep, towards a new day, towards another recovery day for Dad.

Hi, I’m Mariyam, thank you for reading my post. This is part of my series on finding positivity and decoding the ‘be positive’ attitude as my father fights through aggressive oral cancer.

If you liked it, you can read other posts on

You can also follow me on twitter @MariyamRaza for more. Much love 🙂

Mariyam Raza Haider

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A journalist by training, Mariyam Haider is a writer and performance poet in Singapore.
She is the researcher of the book The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age written by James Crabtree.
Her writing has appeared in Hindustan Times, Livemint, Feminism In India, New Asian Writing and Kitaab.

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