While most people are installing Star TV in their buildings, my friend, who lives on the 21st floor and was the first person in the country to get international TV programmes on his Videocon set has now acquired a Five-Star Star TV system.
This morning, when I called on him, he demonstrated his equipment, showing me the five large dish antennae distributed on his five terraces and the TV in the drawing-room with a creen the exact size of a tennis court. "You can watch the US Open on it, as good as you are there," he said.
"Yes," I said, "the whole town is watching it one their Star TV, sitting up entire night to see jimmy Connors win one more match, then coming to the office in the morning bleary-eyed."
"This is not Star TV, that only shows you what is on, this is Five-Star TV, on it you can see the finals of the US Open before they are played, in advance," he said. "If you want, you can see the 1992 Wimbledon right now."
"Not now," I said. "What about World Cup cricket in Australlia? Can we see the matches right now, know the results and lay bets?"
"We can see right now, but we connot lay bets. When you buy a Five-Star TV, you have to sign an undertaking saying you will not make money out of it because of your advance knowledge of the results. You can see next year's Epson Derby also, but not the Indian Derby. What is not to be televised, you cannot see in advance."
My friend next showed me the film channel. "On this you can see any film in the world that is curently showing and in the cinema of your choice. For instance, if you want to see Saudagar, you use this digital computer and you will find yourself sitting in Metro, dress circle seat."
"What's this knob for?" I asked.
"Ah, this one is for the news channed. It gives you news in depth with analysis," my friend said. "Say you want to know not only what Mr. Gorbachov is going to do next but why he is going to do it. Then you press this knob with this key: Mr. Gorbachov will come out of the screen, sit opposite you in your drawing-room, and explain to you. And you may ask him all the questions you like. You want me to call Mr. Gorbachov now?"
"Not now," I said. "And what does this knob do?"
"That the 24-hour music channel," he said. "All brand new music, never before played in the world."
"And this knob?" I asked.
"That is the Doordarshan channel, when you want to see The World This Week by Prannoy Roy," my friend said.