Among the people who are getting ready to watch the World Cup is my friend, who lives on the 21st floor and has a 50 per cent share in the overall income of the present tournament in Italy, plus endorsement rights over all the players wearing No. 10 shirts.
When I called on him at his house this morning, he was inspecting a new TV set that had just arrived.
"It is latest, custom made and especially designed for the World Cup," the told me. "I can watch all the matches live on them even if they are not transmitted by Doordarshan by presenting this button. And if I press this button, I can watch the Doordarshan transmisions, but without ITC advertisements and Ghulati introducing the matches."
"Excellent," I said. "What are these buttons here for?"
"Oh, they are for vewing the games from different seats. If I press the first button, then I get the camera angle from the best and most ecpensive seat in the stadium, this button is for the angle from the press box and this from behind the goalpost. This is for aerial view, this from the enclosure where the English football hooligans will be sitting, and this is from the seat next to Sophia Loren's."
"Terrific," I said.
"This knob here, with the dates, it gives replays of any World Cup match ever played, right from the start, even at the time when the matches were not being televised," my friend said. "That is fi I turn the knob clockwise. If I turn it anti-clockwise, I get replays of old European Cup matches, FA Cup matches, Santosh Trophy, Rovers Cup, DCM, etc."
"Fantastic," I said.
"Yes," said my friend. "This green button shows scenes inside the teams' dressing-room, before and after the matches, and this yellow button picks up what the coach is telling his players during half time."
"Extraordinay," I said.
"If I don't want a particular team to lose, then I press this red button. Then the entire game is cancelled and replayed. But I have been told to use this button with great dicreation."
"Amazing," I said. "What's all this over here for?"
"Oh, that is a computer game. I select my Indian team and then match it against any World Cup team. It comes free with the TV set."
"I had been meaning to ask you, what set is this?"
"Bush," my friend said. "You give seven old black-and-white Bush TV sets, plus Rs 4,000, and in exchange you get one World Cup TV set."