There’s a show on Zeeworld I’m hooked on… Yes the same Zeeworld I mocked in Motorpark Chronicles, how the mighty have fallen innit? It began late last month when certain members of staff of the hospital I work in began to make snide remarks about my locking myself in my office and isolating myself from the rest of them. The politics of that tiny workplace would take years to unravel but knowing just how serious such an allegation is (before they brought it to my hearing, it had already become gossip fodder for months). Anyway I began to leave my office from time to time and sit at the reception and watch TV with them, it’s mostly on Zeeworld because that’s like a universally accepted station these days.
So I feigned interest in two shows- Young dreams and Twist of fate, both shows air in the evening with repeat broadcast in the morning, which is when we watch it anyway. The two shows are rather interesting but after a while I found myself discussing the shows with vigour and heat and even missing Twist of fate during weekends. I had to admit that I had a problem.
Twist of fate is basically about a rock-star (I love that crazy dude) who married a woman on his sister’s urging in order to punish her, they have a tumultuous married life with his sister and girlfriend stirring up evil plots and subplots and other characters adding verve and spice to the mix. Pragya is his wife- a simple, level-headed young woman who’d been very unlucky at love before she met and married Ahbi. I do not understand why she married a man who never tries to hide contempt for her, maybe it’s because I started halfway or just because it makes no rational sense.
Since I began to watch the series, Pragya has lost her contempt for Ahbi and fallen in love with him. It would have been funny if it wasn’t so sad. He still tells her he hates her even though his attitude towards her is softening and it seems as if he is falling in love with her too. He’s kind to her family, even goes to jail for defending her honour and her family’s source of income but he still tells her he hates her, still carries on with his girlfriend among other things.
It became obvious to me after a while that the series was inspired by thousands of romance novels that had similar storylines. I was a diehard Mills and Boons/Harlequin/Silhouette romance reader, I read very many in secondary school and after. The older books (those written in the 1970s especially) mostly had that type of flawed love story- the man (much older man, rarely younger than 30) starts out with contempt for the young woman (usually between 18-24) who is innocent and loves him in puppy-like fashion. There is also the sophisticated older woman who holds his attention easily and who is cruel to our young heroine and there is also a member of the man’s family who likes our heroine and acts as a source of strength for the girl. Somehow they marry, even though he doesn’t love her… the way the plot twists to this point is the high point of the story for me. I wasn’t really interested in the resolution- where he discovers he loves her and the big love confession on pg 180, I only wanted to know how the hell they got married.
The main reason I read those books was for the things I learned about different countries and places, those writers might have written wacky stories but I learned more from them than any geography textbook could have taught me. The stories were so similar that I suspected that they had some kind of instruction manual (I was shocked to discover that it was true, they did give writers a template to write with).
Another thing snagged me about the series, the way she defends her rock-star to her family when he treated her shabbily reminded me of many women who go through hell in their relationships/marriages and still defend the men so fiercely, even the language was similar. It saddens me that some women have a seemingly infinite capacity for self-delusion and clinging to hope regardless of the video reality keeps flashing. They keep hoping he’ll change, praying he’ll change, telling the world he loves them and give a million reasons for his stupid behaviour. “Love will find a way” becomes their favourite song.
Our mothers and grandmothers were more pragmatic about their bad relationships, they didn’t make the men out to be misunderstood renegades with hearts of gold. They might have stayed put in those relationships but they definitely didn’t deceive themselves about the motives of such men. As I write this, I remember On Becoming by Toke Makinwa and it strikes me that I could have written this post about the story in her book and the post wouldn’t have been significantly different.
‘Shine your eyes’ is a phrase popularised by Daddy Showkey in the 90’s, I think it is still relevant today especially for women who are in relationships or are about to enter new ones. Take off the rose coloured spectacles, burn them! try to be more logical in analysing things. It seems to be common knowledge that women are more prone to emotions than logic, I do not believe this. Ever seen a mother run her home or separate the brawls that children seem to need more than food, she dispenses logic dispassionately and in abundance. We are logical but we seem to think it is a bad thing, sad innit.
I didn’t set out to write a long post, nearly a thousand words later… I still wanna rant a little more but I’ll resist the temptation.
Christmas is in less than a week, my birthday is six days after Christmas… hint, hint…