The Swindler's List
TerritorialMale Wednesday, January 04, 2006
India is full of them. They come in all shapes and sizes, have winning smiles, a pleasant tone and a friendly attitude. Beware of them for they are chronic swindlers and they are out to get you.
Let me give you a thoughtful insight on their modus operandi. Like I said, they have winning smiles that shield a devious and analyzing mind. They are quick to note your weaknesses and once they are able to assess your pliability, they will make their move to fleece you off your possessions. For most, monetary gain is a priority but I've seen some whose daily objective is to live off others - money or not.
Need toothpaste? Grab someone else's.
Want a shower? Grab someone else's soap and towel.
Have a closet full of dirty laudry (most of which are someone else's)? Snatch someone else's shirt or trousers or whatever. The list is endless.
I don't know about others but I am a crook-magnet. I attract these scoudrels like a lamp attracts flies. As much as I despise these low-life, I must admit my admiration for their dexterity. I've also noticed that such people are intelligent but habitually lazy. So most of them are mediocre performers in study, work or play.
Absolute nobody is immune to such conniving mountebanks. Some, like me, blissfully fall time and again into their traps.
I once went shopping for soccer equipments for the local kids' club. At the sports goods store, I decided to purchase twelve sets of brilliant blue jerseys and matching shorts along with two footballs and few other items. I arranged for the items to be packed. The shop assistant was gazing intently at my trusty old two-wheeler parked outside while he packed. He eventually spoke.
"Is that your bike?"
"Are you going to carry it in that bag?" - pointing to my bag strapped to the side.
"Yes." Then the conversation took a different turn here.
"Let me re-count the items."
"OK." So he began his monotonous activity. Picking an item up and placing it elsewhere. The ordeal was finally over and he proclaimed, "Sir, everything's fine," as he handed the package over.
"Thank You!" I replied, completely oblivious to any malice.
The actual intentions of the seemingly naive investigation dawned on me once I examined the contents of the bag back home. Missing were four sets of jerseys and shorts among other things. I could've gone back to the store to expound on the mistake but I did not. It would've been an exercise in futility because I knew exactly what I would be told.
"Oh sir! You were on a bike. It must have fallen out." Then I'd have to return in utter humiliation.
On another occasion, I went to a watch-maker to have my watch batteries replaced. Having myself replaced it a couple of times before, I proceeded on with just the old battery for sampling.
Having compared the battery with others, the repairman produced a match.
"Hand me your watch. Let me replace it."
"I'll replace it myself. Just give me the battery, please!"
The repairman shrugged his shoulders, as if I couldn't do it. As he was handing over the tiny cell, he dropped it - which at the time seemed completely accidental. After that, it was a quick search to locate the thing with me peering over the counter for clues. When nothing turned up, he handed over another cell, this time from another strip (which was in a drawer while the original strip lay on the counter).
Later on I found to my dismay that the cell was too thin for my watch. Yes the size seemed fine but only thinner.
I also had a roomie last year, a certain Mr. D, whose favourite line in a restaurant was "You pay for me now, I'll pay you later. I need to buy other things and I don't have enough on me."
I avoided him like the plague if I had to eat out but then there were times when you needed company and he was the only one around.
When I recall those incidents, I find myself angered, amused and frustrated at the same time.