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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Chp 157. Bridging the distance through internet

Arsenal 1 New 1

Remember those days a long long time ago before Rupert Murdoch’s Star network entered the Indian market? When the only television networks we used to get in Mizoram were Doordarshan, Bangladesh Channel and a couple of “Khawchhak” (South East Asian) channels? All we had to do was twist our TV antennae a bit and voilà, technology astonished us. And our elder brothers who had the knack of “twisting out” such channels were highly treasured as the community’s pride and neighbor’s envy. It was even an appropriate “bullet point” to mention in a Résumé that you were a talented antennae twister back then

You could see him walking slowly down the market square with a slight hobble and chin held up high, wearing bell-bottom jeans and leather jacket and sideburns on his cheeks which were actually just an extension of the same hair from his head… And the village damsels would stop whatever they were doing and sigh and flutter their eyelids at him. All the men admired him, all the maidens drooled over him, and all the mothers wanted him to marry their daughter. Such was the reputation of the antennae twister. Ah, those good ’ol days

And long before “Star Plus” had shows such as MASH and Sledgehammer, and before VJ Nonie was sweeping us off our feet at MTV, we had to rely on Doordarshan (I think) for the Football World Cup telecast! Every locality had a certain house which had a TV, where everybody would gather to cheer for Argentina, Cameroon or Brazil waving their respective flags. It didn’t matter what color the flag you’re carrying was, as long as the design was similar, because everything was still in black & white then

And then Cable TV entered Mizoram, Michael Jackson became white and “Star Plus” became a Hindi channel. A lot of things have changed since then. You can now catch the LIVE coverage of almost every sporting event here on the face of earth, including “sports” that involves rolling a flat disc while another team member runs along with that disc and “polishes” the ground surface on the path of the disc, until it hits another disc. I didn’t understand the game, and I didn’t give a damn what the name of the game was. But still I watched. Because it was a LIVE coverage.

This morning, 1:15 am IST, my team Arsenal had a match against Newcastle United. And horrors of horrors, neither ESPN nor StarSports were telecasting the match!!! Can you believe that? Gunners versus Magpies and no TV coverage! My ex-roomie all the way from Bangalore told me it had something to do with last minute match rescheduling. Bummer.

Here is where technology takes a step forward: Even with no TV, we really enjoyed the game!

At first, I did what my Arsenal pals from suggested: Downloaded the sopcast application so that I could watch the match LIVE on my computer. It was only after setting it up that I realized, we don’t get an internet speed greater than 2 MBps (256 kbps) here in India (TRAI regulations), which sopcast clearly required.

Hehe, so it was back to the ’ol drawing board for me. But things weren’t that bad.

I went to the usual and to “watch” the action. Livescore shows the minute by minute score update of all the matches that are playing simultaneously, while sportinglife displays the minute-by-minute written commentary of a particular game, highlighting the most important event of that particular minute (a goal, a free-kick, a corner, a stumble etc) in detail.

In addition to those two windows, I was chatting with my ex-roomie in Bangalore all the way from here, Delhi, with webcam and the entire Arsenal uniform, cheering or cursing together as we read the latest written commentary

Apart from all that, we were also online at various Arsenal forums, taking part in the ongoing discussions along with thousands of Arsenal fans worldwide. A very nice dude from UK immediately posted this clip just after Adebayor scored the first goal in the 4th minute. Thanx dude, whoever you are. The clip immediately sparked off a discussion between me and my ex-roomie.
Commentator (immediately after the goal): Adebayor! That’s outstanding. That’s typical Arsenal, typical Adebayor.

illusionaire: wat the heck did he mean “typical Adebayor”??????
illusionaire: how many times hav he shot like dat??? lolz.
amosair: hahaha!!!
amosair: crazy guy
illusionaire: think he’s just sayin something for the sake of sayin somethin
illusionaire: :-D
amosair: or he’s prolly watching the game via the internet just like us
amosair: =))
illusionaire: lolz
illusionaire: say how much do you think the guy writing down the match minute-by-minute is getting paid?
amosair: no idea, prolly more than 500 pounds
amosair: fook, I’ll do it for free!
illusionaire: hahaha. me too
See, it’s quite like watching the game right besides my ex-roomie. We can see each other through the webcam, hear each other through voice conference, and chat with each other through messenger. Technology sure has leaped ahead.

And oh, there was also the BBC radio broadcast (sports channel) running continuously in the background of our system, occasionally updating us with the ongoing match along with other worldwide sports news.

I can visualize, 5 years from now, some of the younger generation who are watching the match LIVE on the internet at +50 MBps cribbing about how they used to browse the internet this way too. Sigh. I guess every generation has its own set of people who reminisce through their respective “stone ages”.

After the match, it really felt good enjoying such a game. It felt almost similar to watching the game LIVE on TV with friends cheering, hugging and patting each other, except that there was no TV and no friends around. Thank you Internet! You sure do bring out the “PAT” in pathetic


Anonymous said...

dear u knw wat did i do while reading all ur blogs?? it was really hectic for ma eys to stick on dat for hours. so i used to select alld text so that d background goes white n letters blue.. den i cud manage.. hmmm.. i called ma NE frnd after reading ur blog n sent him url.. i think he must read it.. love u..

Mizohican said...

Thank you so much for linking my blog to your friend. I really appreciate that. I'm sorry if my layout does not go well with your eyes, but this is the layout I've been having since the beginning (2004) and I don't want to change it. Thank God you're a Programmer who knows how to change that :-D

I got lots of frens in WIPRO, my classmates from my Comp Science Engg days, who are still working there. Where are you posted?

Aqua said...

Ahhh those good old days. We had similar antenna twisters back in darj too. i remember spending cosy winter afternoons watching japanese serials on a SE channel that we somehow managed to "catch" :)

and yes, VJ Nonie...all the boys drooled over her and all the girls wanted to look like her. the 'long hair tight top template' was much favoured those days. :)

Philo said...

Im not as rabid a Gunner-fan as you are but i do find myself occasionally scanning youtube for the odd and recent clips. Kya kare? Being on the fringes, soccer is on pay channels.
Ps. The line on miscolored flags and B/W tv-sets was really neat.

Pixie said...

Good old days huh?! :)
yea, we didn't have TV at home when we were in school since my parents didn't want us to get "distracted" from studies, so we used to go all the way to my uncle's place to watch Chitrahaar and Mahabharath on Sundays!! :)

Mizohican said...

@ Pixie: lolz at "chitrahaar"!!! Used to watch that a lot too! And the funny thing is, it didn't feel that long ago about those times, except that it really is a long time ago :( I remember Dev Anand, Sri Devi, Smita Patel, Kumar Gaurav, Poonam Dillon and the young Amitabh bedazzling us with their fine performances :)

@ Aqua: Hehe those good 'ol Nonie days. I wonder what happened to her after writing this post so I googled and this is what wiki churned out: "In the early-1990s, Tao (aka Nonie) was reportedly married to a finance expert in Hong Kong. In 1996, she left her duties as host of Channel V's Asian Top-20 to have a child"

The funny thing about twisting those TV antennae was, we used to catch a lot of foreign SE Asian programs, in their own language, and we used to watch them anyway even though we never understood the language. lolz.

@ Philo: Plus, I don't think football... I mean soccer :-P is popular there in The States, right? Ever dreamt about cheering for LA Galaxy one of these days? :)

Shahnaz Kimi said...

Kima, This post made me walk along the memory lane, reminiscing all day about my childhood and the family jokes we have about my dad standing on the roof in Republic Veng adjusting the antenna, and each of my siblings stationed along the corridor to the TV room, relaying if we could see the stations when he turns the antenna...I can still hear my siblings' and my dad's voices -`My dad: `a lang tawh em? ' and the kids would relay back: `'tlem in her leh teh' always, your post made me laugh on a rainy sun less day in Vienna:-))

Anonymous said...

You were lucky. There was no Doordarshan to twist out where I lived. All we had was Bangladesh. We used to watch a black and white "Hana Film" (I think it was about Lord Krishna)on Sunday afternoons, the rest was "Isikut huan interviews" and "Bangla ri manu si bachi" :D

Remember the Tv in my place? It's Dyanora :D

Mizohican said...

@ Shahnaz: lolz, thats what most families back then used to do. Hehe! The Antennae relay team! :) At our main house (IN PUI) my elder cousin brothers used to climb the roof, while all of us younger cousins would stand in a line relaying the message between the antennae twister and the TV adjuster back inside the house. Those are certainly some good memories. sniff.

@ Matey: Speaking of Bangaladesh channel, do you remember those "amra poori, amra nunun" shows? And that ad about "Red Cow"? And that ad about the pen "Ecko"? I STILL remember that tune! "Amara chungnung Eckono, shabana chungnung Eckono..." lolz!!!! And at 4pm on Fridays, Bangladesh used to show "Movie of the week" and I remember rushing home after school every Friday to watch it. The Movie of the week was right after "ThunderCats" at 3pm! :) Gosh! I still remember the time! How cool is thaaaat! :)

Anonymous said...

@Shahnaz Kimi, a nice comment... I used to be one of the members of the Antenna relay team...!!! where my dad is our hero :-)

Jerusha said...

***mmuaahhhh** for making me laugh so hard. Antennae twisters, and them being written about by you of all people :D We used to have ours pretty close to your house, since that's the highest point around where we live. Several relay shouters in between the twister and our house, and getting a clear reception was the biggest thrill of all...I miss those days!

Aduhi Chawngthu said...

My friend's 80 year old grandmother is a big Arsenal fan. She never misses a match. Isn't it amazing how football brings together people of all shapes and sizes and ages? :D As for me, I still couldn't figure out what an offside is, even after listening to a thousand explanations and watching a million games. Some things in life are just meant to be beyond our understanding..

Mizohican said...

@ Jerusha: hehehe, my pleasure, making you laugh :) And whadya mean your house is the highest point around where you live??? Your house aint the highest point! As long as you have "kawmchhak", you cannot be the highest point :) Thats a fact :-P

@ Aduhi: Speaking of women and football and offsides, perhaps this post might interest you :) It got quite a number of hits during its time :)

Of women and football


@ codearies: i in hmeh hmel, relay team a awm chu. Hnap tawlh per pur, kekawrbul chhing tawk nen... hahaha.

Jerusha said...

I said "your" house, around where we live in Chaltlang - the area close to YOUR house, near that tlang thuthleng, which definitely doesn't have a 'kawmchhak' - is the highest point. And that's a fact! :P

DayDreamBeliever said...

During those days, my mom made a houseguest we had from the village climb up on the roof to turn the antenna around. When the picture became clear, she forgot all about him. Half and hour later, he tentatively asks, "how's the reception now?" !!

Eric said...

The dude is totally right, and there is no suspicion.
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Gideon said...

It won't succeed as a matter of fact, that's exactly what I think.
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