Why I am a Fan of IPL… from Yday.

The Girls predicament and Why I am a fan of IPL…. from yesterday.

Happened to get a couple of complementaries to an innocuous IPL match – DD vs RCB. Went with a ex-cricketer and friend of mine. Going into a stadium for the first time since 1986 to watch a live match. Some ironies and some obeservations.

1 When the Toss is done you see just the 2 captains and Ravi Shastri (RS) on your screen + may be someone else. But in the middle there were almost a hundred people. Both teams in full practising and markers, groundsmen, cameramen, etc. It more looked like Churchgate railway station at 7 am.

2 Players scoring hardly registers. I thought Kohli would be about 10-11 and when i looked at the score card he was into his 30s and when his innings ended i thought he would have made 30 but it was 58. S Iyer, i thought would have made 10-11 but the next day papers showed 34. Only Gayles registered full and proper. He swings like a golf drive and most of his shots were saved on the boundary by well positioned fielders and hence it sort of registered but Kohli swatted his sixers like swatting flies and hence perhaps did not leave an imprint. Mind does seem to have a metrics system of its own. Does not add up arithmatcially but goes by impressions, it seems.

3 Almost after each over 1-2 boys run in with liquid refreshments and towel; i am sure old timers – players or spectators would be loathful and envious of such transgressions on the sanctity on the Cricket religion and its rituals. The Dinner spread was heavy and lavish; wonder how the players would be able to keep awake and play after such a meal.

4 Zaheer Khan seems an involved captain. He was changing the field almost after every ball. He was for almost all the time in mid off or mid on constantly discussing and instructing the bowler. I would perhaps have handed him the ball back and told him ‘you only bowl’.

5 The Attendant ‘Girls’ hosts

In the Box there is a ante room where snacks and drinks were being served and the door opened into a box of 20 seats. The ante room had 2 girl hosts and 2 from caterers. The one we saw when we went in looked serious and slightly harrassed. It was hot and humid outside and for portions we were watching the match from the ante room. I asked the girl if she followed Cricket.

‘No Sir’

‘How come then here?’

I’ have come back on vacation from Philipines and trying to earn some money’

‘Are you from Philipines’

‘No sir. Here from Delhi – Rohini’. (with so much make up and slight north eastern looks I could not figure out).

So what are you doing in Manila?

My MBBS.

Why Manila.

My dad decided that I should shift abroad and we searched and found the best offer from there.

How is the education quality and life there?

Good sir. Life is safe there (i have heard so many stories about the unsafety of Philipines from several others); good education.

On the TV screens most of the girls look well dressed and chick with well fitted cloths. But from a foot afar, the dress looked almost funny. They must be having some standard sizes and these attendants fit into it by lots of pins and needles i guess. I could not help a smirk or smug at the looks of it all.

I thought it would be improper on my part to drag the conversation endlessly. But then she was standing by and looked relaxed for the first time and seemed curious for further conversation.

How did you land up with this opportunity?

‘I know the head of this agency who is recruiting and I asked her and she put me on this’

How much will you earn, if i am not inquisitive?

Rs 900 per match. Today is the last match and i have done 7 matches in all.

So when do you report for duty.

‘we have to report at 3 pm’ (for a match starting at 8 pm!).

She opened up a bit.

‘But then it is not fair sir. The other girls are getting Rs 1800 and only i am paid Rs 900. I asked the head girl who put me on this. She just shrugged and said ‘once its negotiated and agreed it is done; no scope for changing it’ ( when crores are spent what was the need for cringing on the Rs 900 or was it some intermediary running away with the Rs 900 – shd be).

(while the discussions were on, a caterer boy came and asked us if we wanted a can of sprite. We said no.

‘Sir can i take one sir’ with an enquiring tone.

We said go ahead feeling a little sympathetic. He took it and soon one after the other water bottles and beer and other cans started disappearing. Just about anyone in caterer uniform walked in and helped himself. By three- quarters of the match all the shelfs were empty. Worse was when we saw some security staff stuffing cone ice creams kept for desserts into his pant pocket – in just one go 5-6 of them. Could only pity him!. There seems to be tiny politician and kleptomaniac inside each Indian – why blame the politicians alone.

We continued with the girl who still seemed interested and relaxed now.

‘So what how you learnt in this stint. To control the crowd better, how to keep them in check. (the hostesses are supposed to be serving food and drinks but ensuring that they are not taken out of the door into the seats, control use of equipment, unruly behaviour or fights, etc.).

‘No not much’. How has the crowd been – any rough and rowdy elements?

‘Only one day there was a rough man. But otherwise ok. But thats not the problem. The main issue is carrying water bottles and drink cans into the stadium when there are clear instruction on the wall not to do it.

‘And the annoying habit of taking selfies with us. ‘they ask us first. We refuse. But then they will pretend as if they are shooting something else but we could easily make out that they turning the camera slyly to get us into the frame. Very annoying. (her tone summarised it better).

‘And most people use foul language (again expressly prohibited in the ticket itself, plastered on the walls and the seating area). Very annoying.

Me: Who do you complain to in such cases?

My Friend intervened: Who can they complain to? And what action will be taken?

We thought taking more time with her would be improper and said ‘bye then. have a great time’.

6 Why I am fan of IPL from y’day.

When we went in, there was some security gate (4-5 of them) with frisking. There must have been about 15-20 guards. And then within another 25 yards one more gate and light frisking. Another 10-odd guards there. Then the ticket checking and exchanging for the wrist band (6 of them) and then you enter the iron gate (5-6 security staff) and then before the building. Gate and scanning another 4-5 entrances with 3-4 guards each.

I would have counted at least 50-60 guards in my approach.

This is just for Gate 1 alone. And there were 18 gates in all. Imagine the total security including inside the stadium, players area, in the traffic control, etc. There must have been at least 700-800 of them overall.

Then the ground staff (100s of them), the TV crew, cheer leaders, caterers (must have been at least 300-400 of them), coaches to the teams, umpires, attandants, … there is an endless list i reckon would be in excess of 4-5,000 of them. Plus the equipment suppliers, contractors for fans, coolers, recruitment agencies, …plus the conveyance of spectators, etc.

There is at least 100 players who would be making Re 1 cr per year thru this. Fees and endorsements, many from interior areas capable of being role models for their area. Umpires would have never seen this kind of money. Extended careers for the ex-cricketers thru commentary stints…

That day’s play would have employed at least 5000 people apart from the 22 on the ground.

Thats a huge employment creation.

The biggest failure of Indian reforms is the lack of jobs. Its jobless, senseless and heartless… much like a female model going extremely anorexic or male body builders going to extremes without a sense of balance in life. Jobs which is the prime delivery mechanism of individual benefit from growth is absent in the equation.

I would vote with both my hands for anything that creates such scale of employment… even if not permanent. But i am aware an army of people are at it thru the year.