Tallat Azim No I am not talking about the drama or saga, rather of the everyday life in the land of the pure. Having tired of the aimless shouting matches on talk shows, which have no chastening or convincing effects on any of the screaming participants, I have switched back to watching television dramas. We have an excellent track record of producing great plays for television in its initial years, which successfully tried to off-set our non-productivity of quality cinema or art movies. The heroines of yore still excite the imagination of those who remember them and are a part of the growing up years of so many of us. The playwrights, the directors, the actors all held up mirrors to our way of life with great sensitivity. Somewhere along the line our dramas stopped being artistic ventures and became material ones instead. The great majority became commercial productions made in a slip-shod manner. Nobody really wanted to waste hours on discussing the content or screenplay. The focus shifted to non-humorous comedy and over made up women and the TV drama lost its lustre, as well as its fan following. When all those hundreds of channels mushroomed, almost overnight, the viewers could not really decide which offered better entertainment value and opted, instead, for the news channels. They were a novelty and the whole populace got hooked to the real life shows and the constantly breaking news. Somehow, in the rush for staying informed, creative expressions and the performing arts, so vital for the identification of a society, lagged behind and did not get the importance or the encouragement they deserved for a number of years in the recent past. Having switched to the television drama again it is, indeed, a pleasure to note that the plays have got some of their lost glory back. The varied subjects of drama serials on private channels are truly reflective of the current issues in our lives, including those that we constantly brush under the carpet. It is the conclusions of these plays that will help to gradually change mindsets. No longer are we doing the routine boy and girl love stories with just a few ordinary dimensions. Instead, we are reflecting and enacting real life problems of the times we live in. There is one, and this I think is the story of almost every house, in which the widowed and gullible mother signs off her house to her son as he wants a loan against it. The ambitious daughter-in-law creates a lot of misunderstandings between the younger unmarried sister, the mother and the son. This leads to the unmarried sister, who has a job, to move out with her mother. The story takes a twist when the girls boss wants to marry her, but for that has to agree to accept her mother as part of the package. How this plan plays out is yet to be seen with schemers a plenty, of which our real life society is also so full unfortunately, along the way. The story challenges the prevalent norm that parents in their old age are only supposed to be the responsibility of their male offspring. The second extremely sensitive serial running currently is based on the subject of a man, who decides to go abroad for better earnings leaving his young wife and baby daughter to live with his mother. In his long absence, the wife has a brief affair with someone which is found out by her in-laws. The issue of whether a woman can be forgiven for such a huge lapse by her husband and his family is the developing story. She has been relegated to the position of an unpaid maid and her daughter has grown up to be a cynical and hardened, emotionless individual seeing her mother suffer thus and in the absence of her father. The husband, meanwhile, becomes a widower when his second wife, that he married while living abroad, but who was about to divorce him, dies in an accident. He returns home briefly and finds it almost impossible to communicate with his daughter or his first wife, who are virtually strangers for him. Again, this play is breaking new ground because it is questioning, why women cannot be forgiven for errors of judgment when men can always be in our society. There are some other fascinating stories that I am watching. There is a play based on Razia Butts novel Bano, which captures the time of the partition, and the extreme cruelties that were perpetuated at that time, as well as the first few years after independence. The actors are all remarkable and the attention to detail in recreating an authentic era has been done very visibly well. The emotions are heartrending. Interfaith marriages and some other extremely sensitive topics have also been woven into watchable storylines that are being directed and acted well. The treatment to all these stories is very much within the framework of acceptable standards. There is no vulgarity, only reality. These plays, which are being viewed and followed ardently, have the ability to influence thinking and lift the curtain from established myths and stereotype reactions to situations. It is an extremely warm welcome back to the television drama and its ability to portray and impact our lives. The writer is a freelance columnist. Email: tallatazim@yahoo.com