The serial mode...: Dr Tiny Nair

The Hindu, March 12, 2017
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The serial mode, true to the Bluma Zeigarnik effect
 Once she understood that she was in hospital, she asked, “What day of the week is it, doctor?”
“Thursday,” I said. “You came here on Saturday.”
“Oh my god,” she started sobbing. I knew that all this was but the result of her stress and anxiety related to her condition.
I did not realise how wrong I was.
“You would go home in another couple of days,” I said.
“No, no, doctor, it’s not that,” she paused.
“So I have been here for five days now. Which means I have missed out on 20 episodes of four different television serials”! “Serials?” I had run out of words, stumped and caught behind all at the same time. All the nurses started laughing. Here we are worrying about life and death, and she talks about TV serials.
Stuff to look forward to
“Please understand me, doctor,” she said in a soft voice. “My husband has passed away; the children go out for work and I stay alone at home. My only entertainment is the TV set and the serials. I have no one to talk to. So I live, laugh and cry with the serial characters and eagerly wait to know what is going to happen next. It is this interest in waiting for the next episode that keeps me alive. Now that I have been in the hospital for five days, I have lost the thread of continuity. You may not understand, but now I have very little else to look forward to.”

That’s exactly what Bluma Zeigarnik theorised. But what I learnt a different lesson: “Our junk may be someone else’s diamond.”


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