Big Bash

Half an hour back, I moved from my room/office to the hall to catch what I thought will be five minutes of Big Bash (Australia’s version of the IPL). I ended up staying there for half an hour. I don’t know if the quality of cricket was decidedly superior to that of the IPL, a tournament I hardly watched in its latest edition (I keep forgetting who won, even). It was the quality of broadcast that had me hooked.

I must mention here that I was watching the broadcast on Start Cricket HD, but even the IPL was telecast on SetMax HD this year. And there was simply no comparison in terms of the quality of pictures. I don’t know if it has something to do with the nature of floodlights at the Gabba (maybe it does), but the pictures from the Big Bash were so significantly superior to that of the IPL (tough to explain this objectively, so you should watch and see for yourself). And then there was the commentary. Again, I don’t think any of the famed Channel Nine line-up was involved (the broadcast is by Fox Sports, and I didn’t hear any familiar voices), but the commentary was good while not being too intrusive. Again, there was no idiotic playing up of the sponsors (DLF maximums and the like), and then they had wired up Shane Warne as he thought aloud as he plotted Brendon McCullum’s dismissal.

There is something about the overall sound of the Big Bash telecast that the IPL misses out on. It probably has to do with the way they capture the crowd noise, but it does make one feel like one is in the stadium. Of course, I must mention here that of whatever bits of IPL I watched this year, I watched most of it on mute thanks to the insufferable commentary.

And then the ads. The IPL simply doesn’t seem to have figured out an effective ad model. They stuff the viewer with so many ads that there is little brand recall, and people mostly react to these brands with a sense of irritation. The Big Bash, on the other hand, seems to have figured out the model of fewer and shorter ad breaks, which will still keep people in their seats. I hope they are being compensated for it with higher revenue.

There is a lot that the IPL has to learn from the Big Bash. Hopefully the low TRPs of the last edition will mean that they will be open to innovation and improvement. I surely won’t mind watching the IPL if it is produced with the same quality as the Big Bash. Maybe I’m being too hopeful here..

The Switch

Cafe Coffee Day is among the most unromantic places to go on a first date, or so they say. But then you need to understand that the venue can do only so much when it comes to creating the right “atmosphere” for the date. So if you think you are yourselves capable enough of doing a good job of creating a good “atmosphere”, you don’t need to bother about trivialties such as how “romantic” a place is or how good it is in creating “atmosphere” and just pick a place that makes practical sense.

There has been so much of One Day International cricket of late that it is difficult to keep track of various series and tournaments. One tournament that similarly got lost, mostly because the ultimate result was unremarkable (Australia won yet again) was the Champions Trophy, which happened (I think) in South Africa. I don’t remember much of the tournament; I don’t think I watched much of it. All I remember was that there was a game where India played Australia, and that Australia batted first.

Seating arrangement plays an important factor on a first date. Optimal seating arrangement ensures the optimal arrangement of eye contact. Sitting beside each other means you need to put too much effort to establish eye contact, and that is way too much energy. Sitting opposite each other can lead to overexposure – if things aren’t going that well, it’s tough to keep looking into each other’s eyes and that can lead ot awkward moments. It might be interesting to do some academic research in this matter but my hunch is that for a first date a ninety-degree seating arrangement is optimal.

For a few months now I have been on a diet. It has not been without results – my weight has come down by almost a fourth in the last six months. I haven’t done anything drastic, just a set of simple principles. And one of them is “no sugar in coffee”. I’ve given up on tea altogether since I can’t have it without sugar. When you are on a date, however, it is not nice to show off that you are on a diet, especially if you are a guy. it doesn’t give a good picture. So a good strategy is to order something like espresso, which you can claim tastes best without sugar!

I think it was an appeal for LBW that triggered it, but I’m not sure. I do remember, however, that it was a strong appeal that was turned down, but I don’t remember the nature of dismissal. Ashish Nehra was bowling if I’m not wrong. I have no clue who was batting. Maybe it was Haddin, or was it Paine who was opening in that tournament? Not that it matters.

Onlookers might have thought that the move was choreographed given how well we executed it. I don’t even remember their being too much eye contact as it happened. I don’t remember there being any conversation about it as it happened. All I remember is that one moment I was being distracted by Ashish Nehra’s appeal, and the next I was sitting with my back to the TV, comfortably settled where she had been settled a moment earlier, with her having taken my original place.

And I remember that our coffees had also exchanged places along with us!

Family Associations

I spent some time this afternoon looking at the address book released by the association of descendants of my maternal grandfather’s maternal grandfather (yes, I’m serious; there does exist one such association). Since I didn’t have much else to do, I did go through much of the book in detail. The makers seem to have put hajaar fight in order to prepare it – calling up thousands of descandants and asking them for addresses and phone numbers. It also took quite long to make I suppose – my address and phone number that is put there are from last August.

The first thing I noticed about our family is that there is no such thing as a “family tree”. Us being Kannada Types and the customary incest being there, there are lots of cycles in the “family tree”. I noticed at least two cases of first cousins being married to each other. The book has handled this rather inelegantly – putting the same pair of names and addresses in two¬† places. However, I don’t know how they could’ve handled it more elegantly without embarrassing the incestuous couples – since the concept has become taboo only recently.

It was also interesting to look at the geographical distribution of the family. As expected, the maximum number of addresses are from Bangalore. Interestingly, Mysore also seems to have a lot of people from the family, with not too many people inhabiting other parts of India. There is an incredibly large number of people from the family in America, and they seem to be distributed in almost all parts – though with a bias to California (not just the Bay Area – I saw a number of southern California addresses.

Interestingly, other countries have little representation. There is one family in Australia and a couple of families in the Gelf. Interestingly, there is no one in England (the book lists two families with England addresses, but both of them have since returned to India (one of them is scheduled to move to the US soon) ). There also seems to be a high proportion of ABCDs – a large number of people seem to have emigrated in the 60s and 70s.

It seems like a large number of ABCD cousins and aunts and uncles have ended up marrying people of non-Indian origins, but it is hard to say where their spouses are. In true Kannadiga tradition, everyone has been listed by given name only (with a few initials thrown in here and there) which makes it hard to determine who is from where (talking about in-laws of the family).

Another interesting phenomenon is the strange names that have been given to people who seem to have been born in the last 10 years or so (I’m only talking of people with two Indian parents). Some people still continued to get named after Gods and other popular Indian names, but quite a few names of this generation seem to be the types that won’t be found in any Sanskrit dictionary.

I had a few other pertinent observations as I was going through the book, but I seem to have forgotten the rest. I’ll add them here if I remember any of those.