Complementary tickets are something that many of us look forward to. The reason isn’t only the money saving part but also a feeling of exclusivity. But on the dawning of the fact that half of the auditorium consists of freeloaders not very different from you, the latter feeling vaporises. Only when the free pass is that elusive one for an Indo-Pak cricketing encounter, some lack of exclusivity does no serious harm.

This wasn’t the battle of the estranged siblings, but a story of a puppet with the most famous nose in the world (real or imaginary) – Pinocchio. A supposed musical extravaganza at the Indira Gandhi Stadium. It wasn’t the ever-increasing length of his nose that baffled me, but it was the instructions on the rear of the ticket prohibiting almost everything from babies and books to bombs. Being the ‘law-abiding’ citizen that I am (never got caught), I dutifully left even my inseparable mobile phone back home.

All through the performance by innumerable school kids and plenty of grownups – mobiles kept ringing and babies kept wailing. Almost all the forbidden activities took place with impunity. Even some bombs went off, albeit onstage. I cursed myself – if only I had my mobile, I could atleast keep myself interested with some games. The lackadaisical direction and script took the shine away from the splendid performance of the kids. Only Zakir Hussain’s music lived upto the expectations.

Thanks, I said to the sponsors for the complimentary tickets. Or I would have been cursing myself. Though a few hours without the mobile vibrating in my pocket was a welcome experience.

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