I cut off my ties with Netflix about an year ago when I realised that my usage oscillated between binge-watching series (followed by deep seated regret about time wasted) and periods of absolute non-usage (followed by deep seated regret about money wasted). But last month, when a friend started a free trial with his email id, I decided it couldn’t hurt to check out what was new.
Turns out, many things tend to be new when you are eons behind in following TV shows. I watched the first episode of Stranger Things out of curiosity and immediately fell into the vortex again, and the next thing I knew, I was waking up bleary-eyed and hungover a week later after triumphantly completing three seasons. I swore not to touch another serial till the day I died, and the next instant my eyes were drawn to a poster filled with pictures of a woman with wild curly red hair – Russian Doll. The description talked about the protagonist dying and reliving her 36th birthday over and over. Interesting premise.
Oh no, I told myself.
Oh yes!, myself replied.
I supposed I could safely check it out, because, come on, watching the same day again and again has GOT to be boring and definitely not binge-worthy.
I was wrong and right.
I was wrong, because I expected it to be boring and it was anything but. The writing was so, so clever. Nadia Vulvokov blew me off my feet and before I knew it, I was falling in love with every bit of her. The weird accent, the fuck-all attitude, and the crazy zest for life – a winner all the way.
I was right, because I did not end up binge-watching the show. Instead I relished each and every bit of it, rolling the quotes over on my tongue, tasting the flavours, the tangy bits. I was not ravenous, not hungry for the plot and hurriedly stuffing everything into my brain quickly to get to the end; I was savouring each good bit and taking my time with it.
And as I switched my phone off after the last episode a couple of weeks later, there was weirdly no regret, either time or money wise. I had spent precisely the same amount of time as a season of any other show, but this didn’t seem wrong. It felt amazing. And for once, I realised the problem was not really with Netflix.
It all boils down to moderation, knowing how to rein in indulgence, that feeling of purpose and self-control that you yearn to possess, and the fulfilment you receive when you know you’ve been enriched by something. It doesn’t matter if it is a book, a movie or dear old life.., it’s the moments that matter. The words, not the story. The steps, not the pilgrimage. The days, not the decade. Like Miley Cyrus puts it, it’s all about the climb. And you can’t blame the mountain if you choose to pant and sweat and make a mess of it.