By Arindam Guptaray
A three way love story between two long legs and a slip.
When you are almost dying of suffocation in a crowded bus in Kolkata, on your daily commute to school you tend to ask yourself philosophical questions like “Why I am going to school?” and look for answers. A simple answer like “My Dad will beat the hell out of me if I miss school” is not satisfying enough. You wanted some dream answers that justified the torture and my answer was “One day I will be as rich as Rajesh’s dad”.
Rajesh was the rich kid in our block. His house had more marbles than Marble Palace. Every room, including the kitchen, had an AC. I used to think that the white cylindrical thing in his bathroom was also an AC (it was actually a water heater). His house had a lawn which was bigger than Vivekananda Park. In front of their house was parked a white Mercedes. Next to the car, stood a chauffeur in white uniform. He looked like he had come out of the latest Surf advertisement.
My friends and I took turns distributing our inheritance from Rajesh’s dad. His earthly possession became a line item in our list of dreams. Subir wanted a million dollar home like his. Partha wanted to own a Mercedes (he later upgraded his dream to a Ferrari when he realized that the top of the line Merc cost a paltry $ 100K). I was never into big houses or fast cars or fast women (I know it’s totally irrelevant but I threw that in as a freebie). When my turn came to select my inheritance, I opted for an experience instead of durables.
When we were growing up, Eden Gardens, unlike now, was an obvious choice for the extinct game of cricket called Test Match. While we watched the game on our black and white TV, Rajesh watched it from the Club House. After the game he would show off his collection of autographs: Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Brian Lara and even Chandi Charan Ganguly (extra credit if you know who he is). The only thing that he didn’t do was to say “Na na nana!!” That day, I decided my life would be incomplete until I got to see a cricket game from the club house.
When Pradeep, a business acquaintance from US, called me to check on the availability of IPL tickets I immediately went to the Ticketgenie site to check for club house tickets. They were Rs 4000 each (Sharukh Khan not included).
“They are Rs 8000 a piece. Are you interested?” I asked.
Before passing judgment on my action, here is a piece of information. Pradeep hires out my employees in the US at $50 per hour and pays me $10 an hour. By doing this he made it to the list of “Michigan Top 40 Entrepreneurs under 40”. So, I don’t deserve the title “Most likely to head Faud Abraham’s Petty theft division” for my action here!
“Sure.” He said. To an NRI, the fact that you have seen an IPL game live has more ego points than dating Angelina Jolie.
I bought 3 tickets for the KKR match. Why three? Well when you are married it is a criminal offence to have any kind of fun without your wife. If I have to commit such an offense it has to be with someone who is far better looking than Pradeep! I paid with my credit card and the transaction was very smooth. Within minutes I got a text message from my credit card company that I had been charged Rs. 12060.
You get a high when you know you are deceiving someone. You get ten times more depressed when you realize that you are the one who is getting duped. I kept waiting for my tickets but they never came. Four days, Five days… Ten days passed. I ended up knowing all the Blue Dart employees on first name basis. The reply I got from the one contact number of TicketGenie was “All routes to this number are busy”. However I have to admit the female voice was really sexy. I even tried calling the number at midnight hoping that this woman would be sleeping and I would reach someone who could give me some information on my tickets, but I failed to get through. I sent two thousand and nine emails to their help desk, but they, like other Desi companies, believed in the fact that emails were meant to be received and not to be replied back.
I resorted to my omniscient friend Google. He told me that the only way out was to go to the Mohd. Sporting ground to see whether I could get a ticket based on the print out of my order. Based on the glitz of the IPL, I was hoping that the ticket redemption counter would be like a Vodafone office with pretty girls wearing bow-ties manning the Booth. To my disappointment I found 200 people standing in front of a hole through which Jerry from Tom and Jerry wouldn’t have been able to pass. These were people like me who had thought that a painless way of buying an IPL ticket was through the internet. “If only Lalit Modi bought one less ugly tie and used that money for a better ticket delivery process we would not have to suffer like this,’” I thought. After spending two hours in the line and cursing the deodorant maker Axe for false advertising claims, my turn came.
“I need to see the ID you have used to purchase the ticket?” the guy said.
“But I was told to keep the ID at home for the Blue Dart delivery person,” I said.
“No tickets for you,” he said like the soup Nazi from the Seinfeld show.
I realized that the best way to cure one’s low pressure problem was to try to talk logically to morons. Unfortunately I did not suffer from low pressure, so I had no choice but to go home to get the ID.
When there is no hope you bank on miracles. No, the Hooghly River did not part and the tickets did not come out from the river! I did something that I haven’t done in years. I checked my snail mail box. (None of my high school girl friends went into a twenty year coma like Rip Van Winkle. The odds of receiving a love letter by mail were as high as India winning the World Cup Hockey championship). Inside the mailbox were three club house tickets for the IPL game!
I forgot all the trouble I had to go through once I reached Eden Gardens. I also have to accept that the seats that had been randomly assigned by TicketGenie were great. (Thanks to these seats SRK could recognize me. He even waved at me.)
The KKR team, accompanied by three burkha clad women, wiggling their waist, took the field amidst the cheering crowd. Apparently the moral police had suggested to SRK that he replaced these women with party cadets who were willing to show their hairy legs. The KKR management team compromised: by covering the cheer leaders instead of covering the pitch. (Otherwise they had to go undercover from the investors)
The game was going great for KKR till the first fifteen overs. Then ‘The Dhoni massacre’ happened and Kolkata true to its history produced eleven more martyrs. It’s a strange feeling to cheer for Owais Shah and Shane Bond and jeer for Dhoni and Raina. I guess I did not jeer enough for Dhoni and thanks to that I could at least see a couple of sixers. KKR could not play any worse. It appeared Dada and others were in charge of the class “A Beginners Guide to Catching” making sure that the ball fell within a foot of the fielder at an optimal height. The local paara champion, another KKR (Kanchrapara Kool Rockers) would have played better.
I left the ground with a heavy heart. Not because KKR got their ass kicked but it dawned on me that there was nothing to dream about anymore. The worse thing than not having one’s dreams fulfilled was to not have anything to dream about. No wonder Partha had upgraded his dream. I now need to have a new dream. It had to be achievable, not something that would remain unfulfilled until my death. Hmmm… what could it be?
How about ‘Koffee with Kareena’?