Journalists are not supermen. I am not being smug; it’s just that the number of phone calls I have received since Yuvi’s heroics set up the India-Pak semis tie is enormous. Everyone seems to think if I work for a newspaper, I must have ‘links’, and must put them to use to get them into PCA Mohali cricket stadium on March 30. And when I tell them it’s impossible to get passes or tickets for the mini-final, they think I am lying. What was flattering at first became irritating eventually. But now it’s finally settled at being ‘mildly amusing’.
The variation in line, length and pace of the same demand can put Afridi to shame. Some called early morning, just so that I remember that my good deed for the day was to arrange free passes — even paid tickets would do, they added. Many called repeatedly, lest I forget that I had told them thrice that I was trying. And then there were some googlies — a friend of a friend’s friend asked me if I could sell him a couple at whatever price I wanted. He probably thought I’d be offended and get him tickets at the MRP, or even for free, just to prove that I was not cashing in on the black-marketing potential.
The list so far includes dad’s friends, their friends, ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend, current girlfriend’s ex-boyfriends, their mothers, pretty girls I stalk on Facebook, a teacher I hated in school, one I had a crush on, ex-colleagues, their brothers, my maid, her husband, and even the guy who comes to collect garbage from my house every morning.
The fact remains that the 14,000-odd tickets that went on sale remained on the shelf for a good part of two days. And if you’d done your maths right, you could’ve known that the potential for an Indo-Pak face-off in Mohali was pretty high. But the lazy cricket fans waited until pretty boy Brett Lee failed and the tickets sold out. (“Don’t waste time blaming me, just tell me if you love me enough to get me into the stadium,” said the school-time sweetheart I never thought would call me. Let’s just say, she will never call me again.)
Not that I didn’t try. I tried the same variation in line and length on our sports reporters, even offered them money. But all they did was smile and take down my demand on a piece of paper they certainly would have tossed in a bin or burnt chanting voodoo incantations, given their frustration with people like me.
Let me suggest something. Why don’t you buy an official India jersey, a decent projector and a crate of beer with the R25,000 you are willing to pay for a non-existent R250 ticket? Get some friends to pitch in. That’s what I am going to do. I wasn’t lying in jest when I told you that I haven’t got a ticket myself, and that neither do I get the salary to buy one on the black market.
Believe me, journalists are not supermen.