Don’t ask me why I went to watch Aisha, but I did. And I spent the first 20 minutes of the film arguing with the multiplex’s management. When we entered the hall, two girls were sitting on our seats, and they refused to budge.
Not that I can blame them — they had the right tickets. But then, so did we. L 1 to 4? Check. L1-3? Check. Both tickets were legitimate; only theirs’ were handwritten. Blue ball pen ink was scrawled across the glossy ticket paper and there was an official-looking signature in one corner.
It took a long round of blame gaming till the manager finally got around to finding us other seats (the girls refused to budge on grounds of having come first. Whatever!). One would assume that this was one of those once-in-a-blue moon things. Since I’m cribbing about it, you’ve probably figured that, it’s not.
Two weeks ago, my colleague Namya left a South Delhi cinema hall fuming. An ongoing argument between a group of boys and the ticket counter guys had stalled all work. The paper in the ticket dispenser had got caught mid-way through printing and came out blank. But, the tickets had been logged on the computer and couldn’t be re-issued. One guy was convincing the boys to accept handwritten tickets, two were writing them out, and a line manager waited to give the tickets his final stamp. Finally, at ten minutes past nine, the counter re-opened. But who would want to watch Inception halfway through?
Our party girl, Himadree, had a similar experience. Her trouble started at a ticket kiosk — the machine outside multiplexes where you can book tickets yourself. The kiosk swallowed her credit card details, but forgot to spit out one of the tickets. Once again, a long battle ensued, one that started with the management saying, “we can’t help” and ended with them practicing calligraphy.
I really don’t know what can be done about technical glitches and human error, but I do have a word of advice: the next time you’re getting a hand-written ticket, please, please confirm your seat numbers. I didn’t mind waiting out Aisha, but if it were Inception, I might have been moved to violence.