How I get duped

I’m generally a sitting duck for con-men. I’ve fallen for so many stories all my life, but I still never ever learn.

Here are a few samples…

When I’d just moved in to a new house, I was home alone, trying to organise all the stuff from various cartons to the respective cupboards. The doorbell rang. A young man wanted to know if I had a milk card. If I didn’t have one, he could organise one for me. I was so thrilled because, I had been worrying about whom to contact to get one and how tedious it’d be to stand in a queue for that, etc.

So I jumped at the chance to get someone else to do my dirty work. He wanted 400 rupees. He said that the office was closing in half an hour and he had to leave immediately. I quickly rummaged my purse and could come up only with 350. He said he’ll manage and take the rest from me later and charged off.

I never saw that boy again.

Another time I was traveling to Mumbai alone for the first time. The last few times a senior colleague who’d lived in the city for years had accompanied me & she took care of everything. I had strict instructions from my boss to join the queue for taxis just outside the airport. The taxi number is duly noted down by the airport authorities and you can never go wrong. ‘Just wait for your turn, tell the driver the address and you’ll reach there safely’, was the advice my boss had given me.

However, when I walked out of the airport, there was no queue for taxis. A huge man dressed in white came towards me and asked “Taxi?” and grabbed my suitcase without waiting for my reply. Flabberghasted, I broke into a run to keep up with him. “How much?” I asked him in my broken Hindi. “500 rupees, ” he replied.

“No”, I told him. “I was told it was well below 200 rupees”

“No Ma’m, those are the taxis outside the airport. You’ll have to walk another kilometer for them.”

He put me in a taxi and sat in the front seat with the driver. He asked for the money and I gave him.

We rounded a corner after driving away from the airport and the taxi stopped. Both of them got out and fiddled with the bonnet as I watched nervously from inside.

The guy in white appeared near my window. ‘Taxi repair, Madam. I’ll get you another one”, he announced. Stopped another taxi, transferred my suitcase and waited for me to get in. “Don’t pay him Madam”, he told me. “Everything has been taken care of.”

I sat at the backseat feeling rather stupid as we sped towards the city.

After a while I asked the driver how much he had been paid. “Nothing”, was the reply. “You pay me according to the meter once we reach your hotel”, he said.

“And how much will that take?”

“Around 150 rupees, Madam”.

I never lived it down in office for years to come…

You think Imust have learnt my lesson by now.

No.

Recently two men rang my doorbell. They were selling some homogeneous detergent made by their starving family in Punjab. He offered me a bottle. My first reaction was to shut the door on his face. But he bent forward suddeny and cleaned the floor at my feet. (He had a cloth soaked in his detergent ready with him)

The floor where he wiped was really sparkling. The rest of the surface was so off-colour. I was shocked. He demonstrated an entire tile. It really stood out bright and clean and the rest of the floor looked so murky. I wavered.

He suddenly put some of it in his finger and licked it.

“Totally made of herbs, madam”, he said. Very safe to have around children.

“How much?”

“150. But please buy a pack of six. My family in Punjab will be eternally grateful to you”.

“No way”, I was firm.

After a lot of pleading I took 3 bottles.

Excitedly I called my maid. I gave her the bottles and asked her to clean the kitchen floor. That was the dirtiest.

She called me after scrubbing. There was a marginal difference, but the floor did not sparkle like that guy had demonstrated.

Puzzled, I tried with the cloth. Same result. I tried with my normal detergent. It was better.

Still not giving up, I went to my front door. Squatting I tried it on the tile near the one he’d scrubbed. Nothing happened.

I was sure my maid was silently hiding a smirk.

“Never mind”, I told her airily. “We can try this again tomorrow. I have lots of work to finish”.

I strode to my desk purposefully and typed somethimg randomly.

God! Do I ever ever learn from my mistakes?

God is in Giraffe…

Now that my son is going to be four and is proving to be too much of a brat, I’ve started bed-time stories with morals.

After a nerve-racking and nerve-wrecking tantrum session, I stumbled upon a story. Never planned anything, but made up the story as we went along.

It started with a naughty boy who was rude to his mom, mean to his dad and troubled his parents whenever he had to eat a meal or drink his milk.

A monkey watched him for a long time and when he’d had enough, he carried the boy to his tree, locked him up in a cage at the top.

The boy was frightened and started crying for his mom.

“Ha!”, jeered the monkey. “You never respected your mom. Why do you need her now?” asked the monkey.

“I want my Dad!” cried the boy. “Ha!” jeered the monkey again. “You’re mean to your dad. I shall not take you to him”, said the monkey.

“I want food! I’m hungry.” cried the boy.

The monkey burst out laughing. “You never let your mom feed you all these days. Now you want food! Out here we animals eat only leaves. I’ll get you some”, said the monkey.

The boy was so sad, he started praying to God. God came to his aid, argued with the monkey to return the boy to his parents.

After making the boy promise that he’ll behave better at home, the monkey let him go.

God asks him to close his eyes, and says the magic words, “Abracadarbra!”

When he opens his eyes, the boy finds himself back home. He’s so happy to see his parents again, eats his dinner with them and all three of them go to sleep.

At the end of the story, I was very proud of myself. It just kind of evolved into a story which corrected all his vices at one go. Or so I thought.

My son loved it too. He kept asking for it everyday.

After a while, he started adding to it.

Yesterday, I narrated it again. When I came to the part where the monkey says that animals eat leaves, he piped in, “Amma, Giraffe eats leaves.”

“Yes, baby,” I said and continued with the story.

When I reached the part where the boy prays to God, he quickly interjected.

“Not God ma, the boy prayed to the giraffe!” he said.

“No,” I said. No one prays to Giraffes. We only pray to God,” I explained.

“NO! I DON’T LIKE GOD! I WANT ONLY GIRAFFE!” He screamed.

When I started to laugh, he was so mad that he threatened me with dire consequences. (I’ll become a lion and eat you! Don’t laugh!”

Just to make peace, I had to change the story a bit and make the boy pray to the Giraffe and the Giraffe saves him and takes him back to his parents.

And after umpteen sessions, he’s still rude to me, drives me up the wall during nap times and mealtimes and throws tantrums at the drop of a hat.

I guess the moral is for me and not him…

Scriptures say we should see God in all creatures.

Maybe my son sees him in a Giraffe!

crazy colleagues – III

There was this security guard in my office (not the one in Valentine’s Day story, but same office though) who looked like a caricature.

A tall wiry chap with a big mustache twirling upwards, he made us laugh by just being there. But he had some fantastic logics in life. If at all an award was being handed out to the most innovative thinking in interpreting things you didn’t understand, he’ll win hands down.

Just a sample. We officially closed office at 6 pm. And once the receptionist was off, the security guard took over her desk and answered the phone.

Most of us worked well past 6 and invariably got a little peckish. We usually ordered short-eats from a restaurant opposite or sent out the office boy to get us something like spicy molaga bajjis or bondas from a cart-wala down the road.

Once a colleague who didn’t know a word of Tamil, sent the boy to get her some peanuts. After waiting for half an hour, she called the reception to check if the boy had left to buy the groundnuts at all. The Security answered the phone. Another colleague was sitting at the reception, talking to a friend who’d come to visit him. The following conversation was narrated by him.

Phone rings.

Security: “Hello., Gooood eeevning madam’

……..

“Yes madam, he’s here”

……….

“Ok madam, I’ll send him right away”

Hangs up. Urges the boy who’d been gossiping with him all the while to go to the shops.

Turns around and tells another chap who cleans the office.

” She wanted some internet oil urgently”

What’s that?” Asked the cleaning chap.

“Its for the computers. If you grease it using the internet oil, the computers will run fast & smooth”

My colleague fell backwards laughing….