Sunday, August 24, 2003

Been watching a lot of television nowadays. No films; just television. One of the passions I developed during my last days in Pune was The Economist – a fine newsmagazine, probably the best in the world. For a hundred rupees a month I could borrow the weekly issues fresh from the newsstand, for three days. Reading an issue cover to cover took up the best part of my weekend, but that was time damn well spent. Been looking for a substitute for that here, in another medium. BBC World does not have a daily capsule programme that sums up the news of the day. Their website mentions an international news programme at 0030 hrs IST, but that turned out to be only five days a week. They do however have a half-hour weekly summary of world events in ‘This Week’ (Sat 1900, and repeated). And CNN – against which I should confess an early bias – appears to have a pretty good current affairs programme named ‘Insight’ (Mon to Thu nights, 0230 hrs – yeah, the timer rec feature on the VCR comes handy), hosted by the earnest and searching Jonathan Mann. CNN also has ‘World Business This Week’ (Sat 0400).

Other programmes that caught my interest include:
Design 360 (CNN, Sun 1100): design, architecture, commercial art. Last week’s lead piece was on a celebrated Japanese architect, who happened to come in second in the competition for designing the replacement for NYC’s twin towers.
Click Online (BBC, Fri 0100 and repeated): computing, technology, the internet. The last edition had an informative piece on GPS and its new competition. The only hitch with this programme is that the presenters’ attempts to jazz it up come off too often as clunky.
Profiles (BBC, Fri 0300 and repeated): Caught just one episode but that one was really good. The series is made of profiles of eminent personalities by someone well-known in that field. The life and work of Chinua Achebe was explored through images of a changing Africa and an interview with the renowned author. He spoke of how it is possible for one people to use the power of story to gain dominance over another: smuggle into their consciousness a one-sided version of their history and destiny.