Saturday, September 16, 2006

Battlefield Kuala Lumpur...

...just what we call our cricket show at Headlines Today; the violence has been practically rained out in reality!

It really has been ages since I last blogged. No reason really. Just tired of it. Have little time after work, so decided to use it in more fruitful pursuits such as spending time with Ajitha watching as many movies as we can. The DVD collection is becoming more and more formidale with each passing day and I can honestly say that we have almost all the movies we want to possess now. 'Almost', of course means we are less than halfway home, but that's not too bad.
And since there hasn't been much to write about except put together another of those lists of 'movies seen', chose to opt out.

Anyway, thought it made sense to put together some vague uncollected thoughts now that I am sitting here at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur (actually just outside KL; much like Gurgaon and Delhi), watching Phil Jaques and Shane Watson hitting quite a few decent one-day shots against the rather pathetic Ajit Agarkar and Munaf Patel. Irfan Pathan is being protected from the Aussies, as is RP Singh.

Have to say that watching cricket here at the Kinrara Oval has been a really nice change. It's an almost idyllic setting. A beautiful smallish ground. Room for just about a couple of thousand people to come and watch. Everything is at ground level, which helps in the breeze circulating around the stadium, unlike, say, Kochi, which is a dustbowl with incredibly high walls. A lot like one of those Death Traps or whatever you call the pits where bikers zoom around at tremendously high speeds. Daft. And dangerous.

Phil Jaques has just gotten out, and all the people around me appear incredibly excited about it. We'll let that pass for the moment...

To get back to Kinrara, it's also been a nice experience as a journalist because you have surprisingly good access to the players. Makes life a lot better for TV journos like us even if it has nothing to do with stories. And the whole lack of security makes like a lot more comfortable for everyone - players, journos, the public.

The big problem though has been the fact that it's a triangular series, with three teams who all have separate practice timings, at separate venues (there are three practice centres) and all of them are miles away from the hotel from where we sent the footage back home. As a result, it's been impossible to catch the sights and sounds of the city. Not that there's much barring huge shopping complexes and stuff. But there are a couple of neat places like a really stunning aquarium, which we found out courtesy our colleagues who have come to Malaysia at the same time to do some touristy shoots.

The Petronas Towers - the locals call it the Twin Towers in a hope-inducing but morbid take - are quite intimidating, but rubbish in terms of architecture. Which is pretty much the case with all the huge buildings in KL. Huge structures, but with incredibly bad design sense - protruding disk-like appendages, some shaped like beer bottles, a furniture market with a HUGE red plastic chair at the entrance with the people having to go in between the chair's legs.... It's an endless assembly line of some of the biggest and ugliest structures I have ever seen anywhere in the world.

The roads are good, the cars travel at fantastic speeds for the most time...but what do you do here? Just my luck to be stuck in yet another dumb place with a whole lot of work to do!

On the flipside, the food's great. A wide array of birds and sea creatures and four-legged animals to choose from. With spice options from Argentina to Crete, Kerala to 'Black Africa' and everything in between. Have been doing a bit of interesting eating; haven't had time to stuff my face much.

So that's pretty much it. Three channels competing for airtime featuring me. A lot of Hindi-talking, which hasn't gone as badly as I thought it would. A lot of stories sent two-and-a-half hours back to India. And yes, a phone stolen. My beautiful, loyal, trustworthy, taped-up Nokia cameraphone (don't know what number) was phonenapped while I was interviewing Jeff Thomson. Sad.

To end, Australia have reached 80 for 1 and the beautiful Ricky Ponting is out there just settling in. Ciao!