Indirect employment and direct sales at IPL

Indirect employment and direct sales at IPL


On Saturday evening when the Capital was brimming over cricket madness and hordes had headed out to Ferozeshah Kotla in their bid to catch Delhi Daredevils and Pune Warriors live, Metrolife took some time out to take directions from roadside sellers and discovered to its amazement that though none of these sellers - of flags, wigs or T-shirts - could speak Hindi and yet, they were doing great business!

QUICK SALES : Boys like these have been dogging IPL teams’ footsteps, travelling across country to sell cricket memorabilia.

As hundreds passed them by, inquiring and bargaining on the rates of fans’ necessary accompaniments, we realised that the business was brisk and marketing too good to be challenged.

Holding a box of select poster colours, Munna, a tattoo maker was cornered and asked the rate of a face tattoo and pat came the reply, “10 rupees”! Our next question, “Kahan rehte ho?”

brought on a blank face and we rephrased, “Ghar kahan hai?” he answered with a question: “Ghar matlab?” The 25-year-old, it turned out, was from Bangalore and had traveled all the way to Delhi, for the IPL match! But why?

“Money, people make tattoos and I earn money.”

There are several others like him, who could be spotted at each entry gate and hovering around in the corridor outside. The tattoo making itself wasn’t the hard part. All that Munna had to do was make a circle on the fan’s cheek and write DD (Delhi Daredevils) or PW (Pune Warriors) in the team’s colours and he was smart enough to double the rate of these tattoos with every hour nearing the match.

A few steps ahead, near Gate no 6, Mohammad Nawaz (also from Bangalore) sported an ‘IPL T-shirt’ while carrying many more of the same kind. His attempt to lure the young and old to buy these T-shirts was often successful as fans didn’t mind shelling out a few extra bucks to display their dedication. A bunch of youngsters stopped by. “Kitne ki hai?” and Nawaz says, “200 ki ek.” The youngsters think a little and quickly take out their wallets, buy five T-shirts and rush in. Later Nawaz chuckles, “I buy each T-shirt for 150 and sell it for 200. 50 mera!”

Next to him is Rajan Singh from Mumbai. Sporting a Red Indian kind of headgear (popularly referred amongst the boys as ‘Murga-wig’) the young boy was actually selling blue coloured flags. How much? “100 rupay, lekin bargain ke baad kam ho jaata hai…” But he is not worried about the cost per piece because he is making his moolah from sheer volumes. Rajan sells not less than a whopping “7,000 flags per match!” Looking at his brisk sales, one is almost convinced that he is not exaggerating. 

Under the shade of a tree Aushim Kapuria also from Mumbai, sells almost everything that an IPL fan is looking for. From inflated wickets to flags, wigs and t-shirts to last season’s favourite IPL vuvuzela! 

“We travel wherever the IPL matches take place. One night before the match we arrive in the city and stay at a friend’s place. Next day we sell all these and then move on to the next city.” Ask him the price and he replies in his typical Bambaiya style, “Flag 100 ka hai to 70-60-50 mil jata hai par wig ke 200 rupay mangta hai.” He manages to sell atleast 70 pieces of each of these and as the match nears, packs all his stuff to go to a nearby TV set to follow the match proceedings.

Though Munna is a fan of “Ganguly Dada”, Aushim swears by Mumbai Indians. Likewise, all have their own favourites but none tops IPL itself which provides them with a decent livelihood. “Agale match pe milte hai,” they smile, moving on to the next potential victim.

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