Hurray! The Olympics have started. The ultimate sporting extravaganza; the greatest test for any athlete around the world, and a period of frustration and disappointment for any sports lover trying to get a peek at all this through Doordarshan's exclusive coverage in India.
Some dumb bimbette, whose greatest accomplishment till date has been flawless skin and above average bust size kept smiling through the mandatory DD studio act before any sporting event - a hangover from its 6th umpire programmes during breaks in cricket matches. If they meant it to be an introduction to the greatest sporting event in the world it was a miserable failure.
When DD's live telecast started, a military band was playing and our very own Hindi commentator was practicing his opening lines live on TV, completely oblivious to the fact that his voice was being heard on national TV. He said something along the lines of "it's sunset time in India, lekin China ke is mahanagari Beijing mein raat prajjwalit hain" not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times - each time messing up his line and floundering somewhere among those esoteric Hindi words.
But most obnoxious was his pronunciation of 'Olympics' - he insisted on calling it the 'Olaampik'. I can understand his reluctance to use the plural, by why, oh why does he have to say 'Olaa' instead of 'Oly'? The least I'd have expected from DD is to send a guy who knows how to pronounce 'Olympics' to do the commentary. My mistake. After so many years, I've still not leant that DD is not just any other TV broadcaster.
This commentator also insisted on using the words sabhyata and sanskriti every time they showed something multi-coloured on the screen (which was all the time). When they showed Chinese introduction of paper making, he reminded us that like India, China too has contributed a lot to the world and also has a 5000 year old sabhyata and sanskriti. When they showed the contribution of Chinese to gunpowder, the dude again reminded us that China had prachin sabhyata aur sanskriti going back 5000 years, like India. When they showed the Chinese invention of the kite, this guy had the following enlightening comment to make : "In India too, we fly kites." I swear he said that.
If he had just stuck to sabhyata and sanskriti, it would have been bearable. But he insisted on giving us profound insights into geopolitics in Asia. As the Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong contingents marched by, he observed that these two countries are to China what Pakistan and Bhutan are to India. Hmm...that must be news for our folks at the Ministry of External Affairs.
When the Commonwealth Games come to India in 2010, DD will have the same crack team of commentators ready to assault us with erudite and scholarly insights. I just hope that in the 2 years they have, they work on memorising their lines better. Also, a little bit of imagination and some knowledge of sports would do wonders. Am I expecting too much?
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