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?

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8 Comments

  1. maami said,

    April 24, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    I think you need to scrub the floor again. And again.

    You bet!!

  2. Pradeep said,

    April 26, 2008 at 4:43 am

    I have a potion which would lengthen your life by 15 years. One dose is a bottle. I have only 3 bottles left with me now – ideal for a family of 3.
    Price – USD 3000 per bottle. But if you take 3, I’d give you all of them for USD 7500. Deal? 😛
    Give them for USD 5000 and you have a deal!!!😉

  3. April 27, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    You are in good company. I will tell you the story of Sadhu A*****ji Bapu. Bapu, as he is fondly known to his devotees, is a major draw on the Aastha channel and Sanskaar channel and what not and his devotees flock to him everyday for spiritual guidance, dropping something into the offering plate – sometimes a few rupees, sometimes a couple of hundred.

    One day a well dressed man came in and after prostrating himself, dropped in 25000. Bapu’s bushy eyebrows rose a bit, but he said nothing.

    A couple of days later, the same gent walked in and dropped a big wad of currency notes. This time it was 50000. Bapu’s eyebrows went as far north as his hairline but he still refrained from comment.

    When the man appeared next, a couple of days later, he dropped in a cool 100000. Bapu could contain his amazement no longer. Signaling his minions to invite this fine devotee to his inner chamber, Bapu went in.

    “Son”, asked Bapu, “How is it that you make such generous contributions?”

    “Oh what is there to say, Bapu? ” said the faithful devotee. “All this is by your grace. I used to invest in the stock market and with your blessings I have exceeded all expectations. I am able to double the money under my control within 6 months. I have many serious investors who trust me and my judgment implicitly, and with your blessings, I have made them extremely rich within a very short time. I charge ten percent of the profit as my fee, and this is enough for me.”

    Bapu was moved. Such humility! Such sincerity! Such honesty! “Son”, he said “will you invest some of our funds?”

    “Of course, Bapu, what is there to ask? I am but your humble devotee. I must mention though that one crore is the minimum”.

    “I will give you two”. He signaled to the accounts swami and told him to get two crores of the crispest.

    “I hope cash is acceptable” said Bapu. “We don’t believe in bank accounts too much.” Bapu smiled. “Or Tax audits”.

    “For you, Bapu”, said the devotee, “I will do anything. Cash will be fine”

    Tears came to Bapu’s eyes as he gazed at the departing devotee.

    Well, Bapu is still looking for the guy.

    Fabulous story!! LOL!! Did it really happen?!! Very much possible.. Glad to know I’m not alone in this!!

  4. Vijay said,

    April 28, 2008 at 10:13 am

    Came here from Narendra’s blog… happens to everyone (including yours truly)… some learn (like me) and some are too nice to learn 🙂

    Thanx for putting it nicely!!

  5. maxdavinci said,

    April 28, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    so many times? total wow moment….

    You bet!

  6. Suresh said,

    April 30, 2008 at 9:34 am

    And I thought only Blondies……..were like this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Rada said,

    April 30, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Happens to the best of us, I guess!

    Once while travelling by train from Mumbai to Chennai, during the brief 10 minutes stop at Pune station, I got conned by a personable young man (with one leg encased in plaster) to the tune of Rs.650/-! Funny thing, even while parting with the money, I had a sinking feeling that I was getting duped!

    But then I asked myself: But what if his story is true? Surely, I should give him the benefit of doubt?

    Looking back, I have no regrets. I wonder whether he has any!

    Yes, I think these con-men use the momentary confusion to get their way. A similar thing happened to a friend of men while traveling from Bangalore to Chennai. Like you said, it happens to the best of us!!

  8. anush said,

    May 5, 2008 at 11:08 am

    You should have bought the cloth he used to scrub.

    heeheee… good one 😉


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