Monday, September 24, 2007

Reading a match

Never thought I would ever watch a cricket match, or indeed any sporting activity, in text form.

Today, as India and Pakistan took turns to alternatively clobber each other and then play badly, we didn't have the match running in office. Some technical glitch and non-payment of dues resulted in all our pay channels being unceremoniously cut off at the mains. Hope still hung about though as we thought DD Sports or DD National would telecast the match. But DD turned traitor as well.

Everybody took it to heart. The bosses, the minions, the chai-wallah, everybody. So much so that MB thundered, "Pawar kaka ke office mein cricket match nahin dekh sakte? This is a crime punishable under IPC."

Then Dixit sir came across which very ingeniously gives text updates in real time. So we 'watched' the match thus, to cite an example: Gambhir takes on Gul, and it's a FOUR! Gambhir slices away with a very clever gap between ______ and ______. That should take the pressure off India a bit."

Dixit sir, MB, Umakant sir, Ajay and I actually imagined our way through the match. Since we couldn't see the visuals, we actually mapped out the field mentally, and helped on by cricbuzz' instructions, knew roughly how people played and why. Besides, the shouts from the neighbouring building signalled a wicket a split second before our virtual scoreboard flashed the same thing. And of course, the groans confirmed that the Indians were sometimes being silly or that the Pakistanis were playing really well.

Funnily enough, watching the fall of all the Pak wickets one after another on Aaj Tak later made me curiously disoriented. After having watched the match in a different medium with silence (save for the click of the mouse or our own ceaseless chatter), the sudden presence of visuals and commentary does tend to jar on the nerves.

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