That’s the Reality!

May 12th, 2010 | By | Category: Articles

Waiting for the bus at the bus stop, the other day, I met my next door neighbor. She was also waiting for the bus along with her four kids. Wait, her four kids! I thought she had only one kid. And all the kids curiously looked the same age and were of the same height. So, as I wished her good evening, my curiosity got the better of me and I asked her, “Which school do your kids go to?”

“They are not my kids. Only she is my daughter,” she said pointing to the small girl wearing a short skirt and a sleeveless top.

“She is my sister’s daughter,” she said pointing to the other girl wearing a jeans, orange shoes and a T-Shirt which declared ‘I am a Star’.

“And the boys are my husband’s brother’s sons,” she said again pointing to the boys, one of whom was carrying a cricket kit bag. The other boy looked very reticent and hardly looked up.

“Their parents live in Aurangabad, so they have left their kids here with us so that they may attend singing, dancing and cricket classes,” she chirped in again before I could say anything.

I told her that that was very thoughtful of their parents.

“Yes,” she burst again, “My daughter will be appearing for the Boogie Woogie auditions next year, and my sister’s daughter is learning singing so that she might get into some singing reality show.”

“That’s great,” I smiled as reality dawned upon me. “And are you planning to join the Indian cricket team,” I asked the kid with the cricket kit.

“I want to play for Mumbai Indians in IPL,” he replied raising his fist.

Last weekend I met a friend who had recently left a lucrative job with an event organizing company and was going to start a new business. I asked him what it was all about and he told me that he wanted to start his own talent hunt academy.

“It will be like a one stop shop for all reality shows,” he said triumphantly. “We will groom talents of all ages and prepare them for every kind of reality show on earth.”

After the meeting I did a bit of research on the Internet about these reality shows happening on every TV channel. From an article on Tehelka.com I learnt that such talent hunt academies were mushrooming all over the country and these were being endorsed by celebrities to attract prospects. Apart from that, the article said that advertisements were not the only means of earning money for the channels, the winners of the reality shows were then asked to pay the channels a cut, sometimes as much as fifty percent, from the fees that they charged for every show they performed after winning the show.

Everybody is vying for their fifteen minutes of fame, even the small kids who should be spending their evenings playing in the parks but instead, are learning dancing at some ‘Hip Hop Natya Shastra Kala Academy’ or singing at some ‘Indian Idol School of singing’.

I wondered if books on parenting would soon have sections on ‘How to Groom Your Children for Reality Shows’.

And discussions among would be parents will be something like this:

Wife: “If it’s a girl we will send her to singing classes.”

Husband: “Why singing, why not dancing?”

Wife: “Arey baba, logic! The show ‘Junior Sa Re Ga Ma Champs’ till date has had only boy contestants as winners so by the time our kid will be three and ready for auditioning they would be looking for a girl winner, so our daughter will have more chances of winning the show.”

I had asked my friend, who was starting the ‘reality show academy’ what after a person has won a reality show and has outlived his two or three years of fame, what would s/he do after that?

And he very happily replied, “Oh we will also have some refresher courses so that people who are already into reality shows for a couple of years can take up these courses and then audition and participate in reality shows for reality show celebs. If that’s not enough then we have also planned to train these reality show veterans in to becoming the judge or hosts for reality shows.”

I had to stifle my laughter at the thought of the kids standing next to me at the bus stop growing up to become reality show judges and writing on their resumes “Experience: Reality Show Veteran”.

As the bus arrived and I helped the kids on to the bus I asked the little kid who looked like the studious type and had stood silently all the time, what was he up to?

“I want to go on that show on Pogo.”

“Which show,” I asked. “Hole in the wall,” he exclaimed, revealing a gap in his upper set of teeth.

“What the *beep*”, I laughed out loud. My neighbor turned around and gave me a ‘what the *beep*, stop laughing, you moron’ type look and scrambled on to the bus.


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Born and raised in Steel City Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, Vivek did his MBA from New Delhi. When in school, his grandfather introduced him to Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, and he hasn’t stopped reading since then. Inspired by the lives of common people who are in all ways unique in their own rights, he started writing short stories in 2009. Mumbai as a city provides him food for thought and he is currently working on a collection of short stories, he aspires to get published soon.

Vivek Singh has written 8 articles on The MAG. View all articles by


10 comments
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  1. Whoa…you know I have a cute nephew all of four and once, his folks got a call from a talent company. The lady on the phone asked my bro to get my nephew for auditions. Lucky for us, my bro doesn’t believe in this shit. The world is going to the dogs.

  2. Vivek, looking forward to your collection of short stories

  3. Nice.

    I think for fame parents will push their kids into all sorts of classes. Gone are the days when kids could be carefree & be kids.

    Vivek – waiting for your collection to be published.

  4. really nice bro..yeah well I hope Parents allow their children to just ‘Be’ they will be the best in whatever thing they do..but let’s choose them that and don’t make benchmarks for them coz if you don’t there is a huge probability they might just break them !!!

  5. Haha ! Nice read, Vivek… Keep writing ! 🙂

    Down south, we are not much into reality shows…Saved !!! 🙂

  6. bro ……no words for ecplanation om your short stories……
    Well i think u must also be heading towards reality show over blogs and writing short stories….what say nice idea na…..yeh bhi ek talent hain na bhai…

  7. Great one sir & and real too. But don’t you think that it’s ok as atleast today’s parents are shifting their pressure on children to be studious only & killing their natural talent. 😉

  8. hahahahaha……..
    I must say….you should publish your own book….
    n i’ll be the first person who ‘ll purchase ur book…….
    very nice story………!!!

  9. was very general, looked more like an article than a short story,

    your usual panache was missing sir.

  10. Thanks everyone for your encouraging words.

    @Nishchay you are absolutely right, the article is not about discouraging parents from nurturing their children’s talent its about discouraging them from using their kid’s talent for commercial reasons.

    @Sameer I am still learning Sameer, will try and improve, thanks a lot 🙂

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