The Things We do to watch a Game
AASHA MEHREEN AMIN
Queuing up for that golden ticket.
Sometimes it's hard not to empathise with our PM. Apart from the gargantuan task of running a country of 160 million people she also has to deal with all kinds of nagging requests from her cabinet members and their subordinates. The latest mama barir abdar (roughly translated as fanciful demands only your maternal uncle is willing to fulfill having the traditional role of being the most indulgent relative in the extended family) has been 20 World Cup tickets for each minister, state minister and secretary to each ministry. If we try to calculate the number of tickets required it would come to a few hundred. This is at a time when literally thousands of crazed cricket lovers are bombarding the ticket booths at banks causing the officials responsible for selling them to fear for their lives when all the tickets are sold out.
Frenzied men, women and children have been waiting for hours just to get that desired piece of paper that will allow them to attend the Biggest Event of the Year: World Cup Cricket 2011 from February 19. But there are only 100,000 tickets for the Dhaka matches and 29,000 for the two games in Chittagong on offer to a few million cricket fans to whom it may seem the end of the world if they don't get a ticket.
It's amazing the extent to which people can go just to watch a game. A university student waited a total of 26 hours only to be turned away from the booth. Not that the process of getting one was any easier. First you have to get a slip with your name, phone number and other details of your life and then present it to the banks responsible for selling the actual golden ticket. No wonder the lines have been so long and the level of frustration so high. Cars and bank premises have already been bashed up by angry fans and brawls at ticket booths have been reported, which is not surprising as anything can spark a brawl in this city.
There have been reports of people being forced to drop out of the queue to avoid being squashed by aggressive shoving and pushing of people. Others have found ingenious ways to deal with the situation such as bringing in one's mother to stand in the comparatively shorter queues for women. Some have tried bringing in babies, banking on the crowd's sympathy to let them jump the queue. Some have failed miserably. For others, their faces have transformed in seconds, from anger, exhaustion and growing disappointment to sheer joy and jubilation at procuring that prized ticket.
Coming back to the predicament the PM is in it is really a matter of concern how she will handle all those demands from her colleagues in addition to dealing with the frustration of ordinary people at the slow process of selling and the actual availability of tickets. At the meeting when one of her state ministers made the request, apparently all she did was smile enigmatically probably in amusement at enthusiasm. Regarding the sales she directed the concerned authorities to increase the number of authorised bank booths to speed up the process. Another very clever move on her part has been to instruct 'the authorities concerned'(who are these people?) to set up big screens at different key points in the city and other places in the country so people can enjoy the games even though they are not sitting at the stadium. If this command is carried out, many cricket fans may be palliated. Maybe the PM's colleagues can think of this alternative before trying to hog hundreds of precious tickets.
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