With the price of the Reliance Cup tickets astronomically high, a lot of cricket lovers are wondering how they will be able to afford them. Among them is my friend, who lives on the 21st floor and has not missed a Test match at Lord's in the last 50 of its 200 years.
When I called on him this morning, he was watching a video film of Gavaskar's seventh century. "I may have to miss the final at Eden Gardens, I can't afford Rs. 699, plus Rs. 20 for Mr. Jyoti Basu's flood and drought relief fund," he said.
"The finals will not be the same without you, I am sure you will find some way of raising your ticket money," I said.
"I do not see how," my friend said. "Unless I sell the gold trophy that I have had specially made to be presented to the captain of the winning team."
"You can do that," I said. "It is not as if Kapil Dev will be deprived of the trophy, it will be Vivian Richards who will be getting it, and why should we worry about them?'
"I will do that," my friend said, "nut that alone will not be enough to buy the ticket. I will have to forget the red Maruti prize for the best batsman of the series, and add the Maruti cost to the gold trophy cost for my ticket."
"Do that," I said, "after all it is not every day that you get a chance to see the World Cup final."
"True," said my friend. "But I will have to economies on something else also to afford the ticket. I think I will have to cancel my prize for the best fast bowler of the series of a free holiday for him and his wife at seven five-star hotels of his choice in the southern hemisphere."
"If you have to, you have to," I said. "This may be the last time you will be able to see Gavaskar and Imran Khan in action."
"I have been thinking about that," my friend said. "I was hoping to announce on the final day my plans to present each of them with indoor cricket coaching schools, in Bombay for Gavaskar and in Karachi for Imran. But I will have to ring up my architects and cancel that now."
"A pity," I said. "But you should not bother yourself about it. At least for Gavaskar the government and four of its successive chief ministers have been promising an in door school for the last ten years."
My friend made some rapid calculations and said: "I will require still more money for the ticket. Which means I will have to drop my best fielder of the series prize. I was planning to buy the Patalganga Plant from Reliance Industries and present it to the best fielder. That's out now."
"Then that's settled," I said. "With the money you have saved you can now buy your ticket for the Reliance Cup final in Calcutta."
"Not quite," my friend said. "I will still require Rs. 20 as surcharge on the ticket for the chief minister's relief fund. Could I borrow it from you?"