It was great news in the reality show business- the famed Berticcinno Feluciti has agreed to do a reality show for Indian television, to be released globally later. It was to be about a worldwide phenomenon which would strike a chord with people all because of its universality. It was a show about people working hard all their lives to set up a nest and the chicks growing wings and flying away leaving those that spent most of their productive years building it alone in an EMPTY NEST.
The great BF had chosen a typical Indian family as a case study. The man was a 56 year old middling level business man, the woman a 53 year old teacher. Married for 31 years their only claim to the starring roles was that they had just married off their younger daughter and were currently living in an EMPTY NEST. His secret cameras lined their whole house and (lets go into flashback mode now- a cinematic liberty I picked up from his conversations)
Camera one sees him looking at the typical suburban house in Delhi from outside. It is late evening and it zooms in on the house and the great BF sighs as he sees that of all the houses in the street THIS one, which just the other day was all lit up for the wedding of the family’s younger daughter, is still dark . The camera pans in at the trees the couple had planted when the kids were still at school and notes that the shadows of the trees cast by the street lights are causing strange patterns to appear on the now dark downcast walls.” A perfect setting to go with his theme” he thinks as he gets to the main door and------- FINDING IT LOCKED shouts, “CUT ,CUT ,CUT”
Camera two sees the couple sitting quietly in their den staring at the television screen with not a word spoken between them. The woman occasionally sheds a tear , the man puts an arm round her as violins play a long lost tune in the back ground and lights dim as the director moves in for the close up shot BUT observing what they are watching he shouts” CUT CUT CUT.!!!!!!!!!”
Camera three delights the great BF! It shoots the couple at the dining table very obviously arguing. ”EEt ees the empty nest” he whispers to the assistant fawning over him . “now even the smallest of differences weel blow up into major arguments” he signals the cameraman to get closer to get the argument in the frame ,”my chance to capture life in the raw”, he thinks,” the tragedy of the nest gone empty” ,TILL he hears what the argument is about and shouts” CUT, CUT ,CUT!!!!!!!”
Camera four is set for the mandatory bedroom sequence- he sits by the bedroom monitor , observes the tossing and turning going on inside and knows he has finally found out what the truth is. ”They” , he tells the second spot boy “ cannot sleep – the layers fall off in the bedroom and here is their tragedy all exposed – their true selves - their true lonely selves are finally out for the world to see- and I ,Bertuccina felluciti will capture the moment,” he gloats . The spot boy peeps in again looks back at the boss and winks at him and says,” look carefully Boss, they are not sleeping all right- but I certainly don’t think what they are doing is called loneliness” He has a second look and is so stunned he even forgets to shout CUT,CUT,CUT.
The Great Berticcinno Feluciti has had it upto his gills and rings the door bell and shouts “YOUR NEST IS EMPTY YOU IDIOTS, DON’T YOU KNOW WHAT IS EXPECTED OF YOU?”
“OHHH we are not allowed to do this? “ I stutter.”Of all the nights you had to choose this one- and on camera too!! heaven knows what he will do with the filmed part”,hisses Sarita.
The great Berticcinno Feluciti first throws down his wig and then begins to pull the balance of his hair out. While he works at his favorite exercise, l turn to explain that it is US he is filming , me and my wife of 31 years, Sarita, recent empty nesters with both daughters now married and just the two of us at home. (we are back in current documentary mode now)
He told us recently that he wanted to shoot a documentary on the empty nest syndrome and thought we were perfect subjects. He told us he would shoot us unobtrusively and that we were to just be ourselves and we gladly permitted him thinking this would be a new adventure( of course we never expected him to enter the bedroom but when I noticed the cameras I thought he was doing it for oomph factor.) Except that now it seemed we been living life all wrong . (back to flashback mode- clever huh!!!)
“You are doing eet all wrong- YOU two are supposed to be miserable!!! and when I tried taking a shot of your dark house three nights in a rowI found it was dark only because it was locked as you had gone out every single night “ he yelled , “This is not done!! You are supposed to be home and mooning”.
“And when”, he raved on,” I found you sitting quietly in the den you should have been watching reruns of the wedding videos and getting teary eyed and you were actually munching at pizzas while watching the latest blockbusters!!”
“And when I finally found you arguing, would you ever have the sense to argue about each others quirks and foibles- there you were arguing about in what resort to spend the next extended weekend” he loudly ranted.
“You two are disgusting, a blot on empty nested parenthood, sceallatioslstampondas,spilencias” he shouted ( maybe these were Italian words cause we did not understand them)” and now” he continued,” just as I thought I was capturing your real loneliness,” he screamed.”you two get into bed and do this” ( as if his parents had been amoebae and did not do this when he was born)
I did want to tell him that kids going out was not the end of life but could actually be a new beginning. I did want to ask him as to why now that we had both time and money and no responsibilities toward either parents or kids, could we not lead a vibrant active full life. BUT it was too late, he had stormed off ,as had the second assistant director and four spot boys and all the sponsors leaving just the two of to sit and argue about whether to continue what we were doing or go out for dinner. Any guesses what we did?????