The plan was to watch ace boxer Akhil Kumar take on his Pakistani counterpart in the much-anticipated Commonwealth Games match on Thursday. My brother and I made a dash to the Talkatora Stadium, only to find a packed house.
Even the last of the Rs.500 tickets had been lapped up before we reached the ticket counter. Ditto for tickets for the India-Australia hockey match, and the next day’s boxing fixture featuring Vijender Singh.
As we walked away, dejected, someone whispered, “Haan boss, ticket chahiye kya (Do you want tickets)?” The tone was similar to what you hear outside Delhi’s single screen cinema halls. The bigger shock: The person offering me the ticket was wearing a volunteer’s ID card!The Rs.100 hockey ticket, was being offered for Rs.250 "only". If we wanted tickets for boxing or swimming, we needed to "give a call two hours in advance".
"Bhaiyya ko hockey ka ticket do (Give him tickets for the hockey match)," he said to his partner, another guy flaunting an ID card.
We point out: “It’s a houseful, how will you get the tickets?”
“I’ll manage that.”
“But how, you are a volunteer, right?”
“Yes, of course.” He points to his ID cards, which allow him access to the venues.
“Ok, but where will you get the tickets from?”
Reluctantly, he finally says, “Kuch ticket sponsors ke paas sab tickets hote hai (Some of the ticket sponsors have spare tickets). Agar de sakte hai, toh mujhe bata dete hai (If they can give them, they tell me).”
We shell out Rs.500, and he hands us two tickets right there. Having sealed the deal, he rushes off, but not before asking us to call him up if we need anything else.