My friend, who lives on the 21st floor and has bid for the 1998 World Cup football to be held on the terrace of his house, must be the only person in India at the moment who must be watching the matches on his TV set. This he is able to do by having planted his own private satellite in the sky with a direct electronically controlled link through a complicated circuit system with his TV set.
Last night, he invited me to watch the Argntina-South Korea match.
We set in the TV room, across a TV set with a screen as large as a football field. There were sunlamps over our heads and floodlights to create the atmosphere of a Mexican afternoon. The Mexican ambassador and his wife, who had also been invited, sat with us. Had also been invited, sat with us. "To give the local touch," my friend explained.
Before the play began, my friend showed video films of previous World Cups, and a short live-coverage of the dying moments the India cricket team's match with Northanmptoshire. Tortillas and other hot Mexican food was served by a cook that my friend had specially flown over from Mexico to cook for him for a month. The Mexican ambassador's wife said: "Our Mexican food is so much like your Indian food, nice."
My friend explained: "There were two alternatives, either to go to Mexico and watch the Matches or to stay here and fix up the TV coverage. I would have preferred to go, but I am told the tickets are being sold in black and everything in Mexico has become expensive because of the World Cup. Who has that kind of money to spend these days."
The TV coverage, contrary to all the complaints from all over the world, was very good, of course, my friend's wide screen, with three-dimensionat effects, stereophonic sound, and a facility on the remote control which made individual players come out of the screen during half-time and sign autographs, helped.
After half-time, my friend served tow separate suppers and we were invited to eat from whichever of the two supers we liked. One was an Argentinian meal, the other Korean, and my friend had flown cooks from both the countries to prepare the meals. The ambassador's wife said: "Argentinian food is so much like Mexican food. There is a lot in common in the cooking in that entire area."
At the end of the match, enjoyed by everybody, my friend instructed the driver to take the ambassador and his wife to the airport from where they would be flown in my friend's private plane back to New Delhi.
Then, as I was leaving, my friend said: "One favour deserves another favour. I will be coming to your house to see the semi-finals and finals which are being relayed live by Doordarsha."
"You are most welcome," I said. "But why should you when you can see it in your own house?"
"Because mine is only an imported TV. You have got Bush and I understand the reception is very good on it," my, friend said.