“Ms. Austen, I am delighten to make your acquaitance. I have heard so much about you from my father. It is finally nice to see you in person.” PBS is such a kind channel for agreeing to host us every Sunday. I am sure we are going to have a splendid time. Have you heard that Mrs and Mr. Bingley will be coming to Netherfield for Michaelmas….Oh I am sure you have met the Darcy’s at Pemberly. I heard the sisters miss each other a lot, they will be arriving too, that is good news. Mr. Bennett will be delighted to see his daughters. How is Anne eliott. Heard her husband left the navy for good.”
Ok…I am not bonkers..well not entirely. But I can assure you that I do become a little silly every Sunday evening. PBS is airing an hour and a half of all Jane Austen’s work every Sunday. In a series of them titled “Masterpiece“, I have so far seen “Persuasion,” “Northanger Abbey,” “Mansfield Park”, and “Miss Austen regrets”. I just finished watching “Pride and Prejudice” with spunky Jennifer ehle doing complete justice to Elizabeth Bennet and the dreamy Colin Firth as Darcy. Oh boy, has life been good. I am a big fan of classics and I am even more pleased with the way that these classics have ben adapted for television. I am not a big fan of books being made into movies, but these series have been so truthful to the actual novel, and in some wierd way to the characters as I imagined them. I think that is where the problem lies with some adaptations. I have a vivid imagination adn love to put myself as a person in that time or place observing the whole story. I can actually visualize the whole book in my mind…much like Laxman’s common man. Wierd I know, but that’s me. Though initially reluctant , I forced myself to watch it and was abolutely florred to how true they have been, especially Pride and Prejudice. I have to confess I have like 5-6 copies of that book. It is exciting to watch the culture. A lot of the clothes and jewels they wear so resemble Indian sarees and jewels, makes sense because of the amount of things that were imported to Britain from India. The culture, the language and the way of life. There is almost a poetic nature to the English spoken and the language is just so beautiful.
Watching these shows also made me think of something else. The lives of these people were so consumed by making good matches, the availability of men and the proper behaviour and upbringing of girls, it is almost identical to any Indian family. Made me wonder how much of the arranged marriage, dowry giving, marrying according to status and everyting else Indians do are of our own culture and how much was adapted during the colonial times. I am sure a lot fo the cultures, behaviour, manners and way of life has been handed down to us from the British along with the English language, but what was India or the pieces that came to be India really like. Were arranged marriages common or was marrying for love common? Did people really bother about caste and status? How badly did a single man in possesion of a fortune in search of a good wife? Did girls have any say over who they married and was marriage really the ultimate goal? It would be very ironic if hte life that we lead today are not really ours, but are borrowed garbs in order to fit in. we still borrow a lot of garbs to keep seeing which one fits just right, maybe the one that fits right was the one cast aside the first. In search for acceptance and modernity, we have been ignoring the one thing that made us truly stand out and modern than the world ever was in the 1700’s. Makes me wonder…that’s all.