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Monday, January 12, 2009

The Art of Conning & Wisening up

Off late the Arbitmind has developed a grudging respect for the consters in Pune. 
Some of them are so perfect that it inspires awe & some..well.. not so good at their jobs.
Like any sector the con industry too has its share of great & not so great performers.

A couple of personal experiences would elucidate this.
Let Arbitmind start off with the most recent one. This happened a week back.

7:30 pm. Aundh. Near Ozone.(a week back)

Arbitmind was walking toward the 'Burger Hut' to catch a bite of his favourite Fish Fillet Burger. 
Someone calls out to him in chaste English.

"Excuse me beta" !!!
(Ahha!! I recognised him)(A middle aged Uncle)

Arbitmind: "Yes"

Uncle: "Someone has broken the lock of the petrol tank of my bike & taken out all the petrol" , pointing to the broken lock on the tank of a maroon Hero Honda CD100SS.

Arbitmind:  "Ohh ! I am so sorry !!"

Uncle:  "Can you please help me ? I don't have the money to fill the petrol"(Uncle almost moved to tears)

Arbitmind:  "Err...Uncle, you asked me the same question, with the same bike a couple weeks ago in front of Monginis. You Still didn't get the petrol?"
  (Arbitmind had refused help then on the pretext of not carrying enough money on him)

Uncle: "{Befuddled Expression}"

Arbitmind's opportunity to do a chance pe dance.

Arbitmind: "Ek kaam karte hain Uncle. Saamne chowk me Policewallah hain. Usse baat karte hain. Woh  zaroor madad karega"

Uncle: "{Incomprehensible mumble coupled with the same befuddled expression}"

Arbitmind: "Kya Uncle. Shakal to yaad rakha karo. Aise to aapka dhanda paani bhandh ho jayega. He He"

Uncle walks off without casting a second glance. The bike in tow. :-) leaving a grinning Arbitmind under the street light.

Clearly, Uncle is not as good at his job as he would like himself to be.

The same cannot be said of an Auntie whom I met in early 2005(My initial days in Pune)

Don't remember the exact time or the exact conversation as it happened a good 4 years back. Trying to reconstruct it from memory.

Sometime in the late evening. After 10 pm. Arbitmind coming back after having dinner at 'Radhika', enjoying the last puff of the day. Place : Aundh.  Early 2005

"Beta, ek minute sunoge?" A visibly shaken Auntie with an infant on the lap.

"Kya hua ?" 
Auntie : ""-> 

Summary :
 The lady's husband is a labourer in Pune. He came from a village. For the last 3 months there had been no news of the guy. Worried, the lady, along with the child,lands up in Pune at the contractor's place to find out about her husband. The contractor said that her husband quit the  job a couple of months back. So no one knows where he is at this   moment & the lady knows no one in Pune. In addition, she came to  Pune with very little money which she has used up in feeding the child  throughout the day & now she wants to return to her village. Since she  has no money to buy the train ticket, it would be great if Arbitmind could help her out. She insisted on Arbitmind's address as she would  positively send the money back to his address by a Money Order &  400 Rupees would just do fine. She was a woman in distress & was  asking help from her Bhaiyya.

Arbitmind felt a lump near his throat. Wasn't this he had read about in so many newspapers & novels ? You never know what
harm would befall this innocent lady from a village. The cities are full of sharks..& what is a man's worth if he cannot
help out an young mother in distress? It was Arbitmind's humane duty..if not anything else.

Arbitmind asks the lady to wait right there. Gets into the IDBI ATM nearby & comes out with 800 Rupees. 

Arbitmind: "Please take an auto to the Station. You won't get Buses at this time & the extra money is for food. No need for returning the money. Take it as a help from one of your brothers" 

The lady thanks Arbitmind profusely & reiterates that all that is good is not over in this world. People like Arbitmind are God's Gift to mankind.
Arbitmind comes back feeling extremely good about himself. As if a little part of the guilt for being on the side of the 'Haves' in a world divided into "Haves & the Have nots" has been washed away...praying that the lady reaches her village safe & sound.

Sometime later: (around 3-4 months roughly)

Arbitmind is standing near Westend Mall, Opposite to Dorabjee's in MG Road, waiting for a friend to turn up.

Just by his side a lady with a kid on her lap is talking to an elderly couple. From whatever he could overhear, Arbitmind guessed that the poor lady is in distress & is asking for some sort of help from the elderly couple. The couple walks off,
shaking their heads & the lady starts walking towards Arbitmind. 
She stutters...stops...a moment's pause...turns around One hundred & eighty degrees & hurriedly walks off.
Very Odd !! Arbitmind thinks....add to it that the lady looked somewhat familiar.

Hello !!! The one who came form the village....800 rupees. Goodness Me !!!!

Arbitmind is aghast. Still he couldnot but admire the lady's memory. She recognised Arbitmind in an instant & fled the scene.

She is good at her job.

PS: The later incident wisened up Arbitmind considerably & that was the reason why he had refused to help out the Uncle in
front of Monginis sometime back...when he had first met the guy with the bike. 

Arbitmind wonders whether he would someday turn his back on a person who is in genuine need of help just because he has had a few bad experiences. Belief in fellow human beings ...once hard to retrieve. 

Arbitmind wishes he had not wisened up. The loss of innocence is painful. 

Arbitmind still wishes that somewhere,someday a lady doesnot land up in bigger trouble as someone in a position to  help doesnot help her out of a fear of being conned. 

Nor should an elderly Uncle have to walk home because a young man refuses to help.

Amen !!  


Anonymous said...

Great Going!! Enjoyed every bit of it...
Never thought u were so very wise to get fooled so easily!! :).. Sayantan

Anonymous said...


Shovan said...

Moral of the story-
It is easy to fool kosomda, if you are an auntie.

pradeeps said...

Good post and your signoff lines are too good. Just because we think that all ppl are not same..we keep helping ppl and later realize that we are fooled..this time i thought that if they need food, I am going to buy them food and if they need money for tickets, I am going to buy them tickets taking those ppl along.I know it is not always possible to take some time off to help these ppl personally but i feel this is the best way and it worked for those who needed food.

Ryan Jadhav said...

I have come across such people , in pune as well as bangalore, and it does make one wonder if he is gonna turn his back on someone that really needs help.