Let us begin with expanding the abbreviations. I have given the terms based on pattern already existing in the world of Netizen’s preferences.
IDrama – Indian Drama | Drama from Indian Subcontinent which include North, South, East, and West (We are like the Maggie Hot & Sweet Tomato Sauce, “It’s Different!”)
KDrama – Korean Drama | Korean Drama and K-Pop Series
CDrama – Chinese Drama | Drama from Mainland, Shanghai, Hong Kong
TDrama – Thai Drama | Drama from Thailand, Taiwan, other countries in South Asia
JDrama – Japanese Drama | Drama originating from Japan and their cultural milieu.
IDrama (Indian Drama) – Drama series or serials as we call it, which runs up to multiple years playing out same themes of festivals related to Karva Chauth, Diwali, Bhai Dogh, Rakhi, Holi, et al. Interestingly, the West, East and South India would do their drama’s differently. Though the North Hindi series is pan-India. But the emotions are the same throughout India. I do not have complete knowledge of the East and West shows. But then, North and South I do know some information since I have seen them. My East and West India are more based on Movies seen in Doordarshan on Sundays.
In South, from where I come, the Metro City Chennai situated in Tamilnadu, of course we belong to India. Our dramas have evolved from stage plays. I am not such a great fan of the Tamil Serials but I do not mind absent-minded watching it with my parents. The central theme was always same re-runs of Mil-Dil fights, (Mothers-in-law and Daughters-in-law).
But then Sachin’s “Tu Tu Main Main” sitcom twisted the same theme into humour, but the Tamil version of the same sitcom barely made it but the main leads were great with their comic time in the show “Chinna Pappa, Periya Pappa.” I prefer to see comedy shows in Tamil, we have nailed it, especially Crazy Mohan’s scripts are hilarious to watch.
That way I loved all the projects of Crazy Mohan and Kamal Hassan. These were movies and there was slight competition between actors to out-do-each-other in comic timing. A good comedy is one which uses the language nuances with finesse. Crazy Mohan actor-cum-writer sometimes wore all hats in the field of verbal comedy. Especially, in presenting the Brahmin Community was done to perfection. I think if you did not know how to laugh at yourself, then you have not learnt the art of living.
I have been watching quality comedy shows since my childhood so the present-day comedy seems to be lacking in the classic finesse found in the earlier dramas. I am not interested in serious family dramas, so I give it a wide berth. There have been many a drama in the list of comedy dramas that I enjoyed with my family and was above board.
Picky About the Shows That I Watched
My entertainment is selected after a lot of thought since I am sharing my personal time on it. Screen time for me is measured and I loved it when I can see a show with all my family members including the youngest member. That kind of show is hard to come by since it must cover the audience range which is wide. But then, SaReGaMa’s Musical show with music Gurus judging the candidates hosted by Sonu Nigam was incredibly famous. The earliest musical show was done without much fanfare and relied on the talents of candidates and it was a definite all-ages show.
I am a person who is from the era when Doordarshan used to telecast only between 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm. They used to have a logo montage which many old timers remember with fond memory. That is one thing I really love about India. Its diversity is heart wrenching and sweetly emotional. You cross five miles in India! You will find another culture and community, yet, in all this variation we are same in spirits.
Like all families, we have our own skirmish about water-sharing, official language, constituency issues, and we fight for all things, small and big in and out of parliament. This is our internal politics, but then, get an outsider in, then all our differences just disappear, and we get together with caution! (we still must think of our internal strife right! 😉)
KDrama (Korean Drama) – I was first introduced to Korean drama quiet by chance when in a googling spree for fantasy stories, or it was while browsing for movies on my sister’s Netflix at her home to pick a movie to watch while I waited for my sister’s family to return. But I do remember the first Korean Drama that I saw in Youtube was “You’re Beautiful.”
From then on, I was searching for a proper channel where I can see dramas and found DramaFever. Yoohoo! I was in cloud nine! My part-time viewership of KDrama was set. Since my net connection was shared, I had to ration my watchlist of the drama, to not be a burden on my kind-hearted Apartment Manager. In a semester, I saw about three dramas at the most which includes the weekend watch in Netflix at my sisters.
During my Summer ESL, I was staying at the Students accommodation and they had free wifi which I used for searching for the drama after my 6 pm home rule of being in the hostel before light out for my invisible mother. I found it in YouTube and would get a warm sweater and hunch on the table where my laptop was docked. After I got a more permanent apartment in Mission, I then discovered DramaFever from there on all my craving for fantasy, crime, family, romance and what not dramas were handed to me in a platter. Happy and Joyous!!!!
Back in Chennai 2012 December, Missing DramaFever
When I came back after my Graduation with a welcome relief to be in warmer climes, I found that regular intervals of drama breaks. DramaFever was not available for India. For a long time, I had no access to these dramas since I do not do Torrent downloads. Practically, my laptop does not have that kind of space and I was unaware of the technical tricks and tips.
So, around July 2020, I discovered Rakuten Viki streaming website which showcased shows from Korea, Mainland China, Thailand, Taiwan, and Japan. I jumped in and got a subscription to watch the dramas from KDrama. In this platform I got to explore various dramas in different genres.
This then lead to checking out YouTube channels for new releases and crosschecking with Viki if they had the series. The interesting thing about these dramas are that it was maximum 50 or 60 Episodes. Or rather that I picked shows which were that limit. If it is good with interesting synopsis then, I do not mind the episode numbers. But of course, sometimes, I pick shows based on actors or genre. Sometimes it is free style and mood based. If I pick a fancy to check out drama, I would go ahead with it.
I was also actively looking at people who handled YouTube channels showing dramas with English Subtitles. I enjoyed watching these drama even though the translation was a little off-beat. There is a marked difference in the various languages and its cultural aspects. But I loved watching them all.
CDrama (Chinese Drama) – I never ventured into Chinese stories until I was a Yo Yo English Channel’s subscriber. I found this in 2020 during the pandemic lockdown when I was ready for some dramas. By then I had gobbled up so many Kindle books.
I am always interested in people. As much as I love to talk and to hang out with people, I am equally shy to approach strange people. Given despite my shyness if I do reach out, I am super-sensitive person too. Once bitten twice shy kind of person. So, I am extremely cautious about people I befriend. No wonder books and dramas are easier companions.
My True Love of Life
I love stories, and I also love to write but to do that I need to first read, watch, or experience things in real life. Since I believe in writing experiences that I had experienced in surrogacy. That in turn would fuel my spaces of thinking mind which will give rise to new understanding of old things or totally new understanding. These dramas allow me to explore my sensitivity and human understanding of emotions.
I love languages too. I love to learn them just small phrases, saying thank you, sorry and exclamations. I am in no rush to learn the language. I only look for longer exposure to the language. So, my endless bingeing on K-C-T-J Dramas comes from this passion for languages and culture.
There are subtle pointers to idiosyncrasies of each cultures. I want to observe that and imbibe within me an understanding of the people. Most of my understanding of relationship have been built looking at these dramas. Sometimes the dramas are so moving that hot tears have trickled down the cold cheeks and warmed my heart.
TDrama (Thai Drama) – This happened during lockdown mainly due to MyDramaList.com. I accidently fell upon this website and found listing of dramas. From there I had to find a channel that would show these dramas. I explored the theme of revenge and contract marriage. Do not ask me why the topic choice?!! I wanted to see those kinds of dramas, entirely my quirk!
While crosscheck with MyDramaList I found most of the listed Thai dramas were available in Viki. I set on a huge search for more Thai dramas. At last about a couple of months back I found Asiaflix app is Play Store and after some initial difficulties, now the app is settled and improving.
My first Thai drama was “Fated to Love You,” I saw this in DramaFever back in 2011 Summer break at my sister’s house in my laptop. Later I picked it up here and saw it was repackaged as “You Are My Destiny” which I saw in all three language Thai, Japanese, Korean. Japanese version stops abruptly without a closure. I like the Thai version (the repackaged one). But it was great to see local comedy scenes. I always feel that the best way to enjoy language to watch for comedy skits.
Thai people have an extremely complicated way of bowing down which almost reflects our South Indian bowing style. The same is true for Korean and Chinese and Japanese signs of being respectful. We are related to each other’s with our way of kowtowing.
But I feel that Thai have not conquered their musical score for their dramas. It could be quiet jarring to hear the scores in an intense scene. The comedy is slightly crude but then I am still a beginner with these dramas. I need to watch it with much openness of mind. But Thai Drama can be little too much though their chase scenes are done with great finesse. Almost international standards for drama.
JDrama (Japanese Drama) – I am still exploring dramas beyond KDramas. I have seen about three or four Japanese Drama and all were emotionally intense. My first show was “Coffee & Vanilla.” I was squirming when I was watching this drama, but then, it was my set for romance and beyond. It did not feel ugly but more like hit the nail of right touch of art and literature in theatrical representation. The actors both were fantastic. It was like watching an art movie.
I feel that JDramas have the lighting all done to perfection. The picturizing of the drama was done to perfection even beats KDrama which pitches into darkness sometimes. But even darkness is lighted softly in the Japanese dramas. The cinematography has all the markings of being excellent and 10 starred. But the storylines are extremely focused and single-minded angle toward a specific objective. While the dramas of my past were broader and more over culturally, I am used to sweep strokes of the creative brush. I am not that super focused unlike the dramas from Japan.
But that is the specialty of watching the different dramas from different country. How each treat the same human emotion and feeling are the special thing to watch and to enjoy. I still have a lot to learn and my exposure to life in general is really limited and given the current situation even more so. Beyond the limitation lies the expansion of borderless existence which is waiting for me to explore. I have my knapsack and walking stick all set to begin walking in another person’s shoes to know the pinch.
PS: First off, I am sorry this piece was a ramble and there is no rhyme or rule in my entry this time. Plain joy of language and the cultures that I explored. I was all over the place with this piece but the aim was to open up thinking mind.
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