A few weeks ago, I’d just come out of my gym in RT Nagar when a couple with a child, looking vaguely from somewhere rural approached me. Both of them spoke on how they’d come to Bangalore on train from somewhere in Bihar, called on a job by a contractor had cheated them. Now they were without money and couldn’t go back home. It was late evening and they begged me to give them some money to buy a train ticket for home. They rightly guessed that I spoke Hindi and spoke to me in the same language to emphasis their alieness to this land. At that time, vulnerable and tired, I half fell for it. Deciding not to give money, I took them over to a biryani place nearby and got them some biryani packed for dinner.
AsI bought the biryani, I was pretty sure the Rs 150 I was spending on them was scammed off me, but the polite me didn’t know how to say no. The reason I knew it was a scam was because I vaguely remember the same thing happening in Delhi, when I used to live there more than a decade ago. Also the cashier in that biryani restaurant looked like he’d seen that guy before. There was a flicker of recognition in his eyes. Anyway, I paid up and left, feeling vaguely scammed and hoping I see them again so I could confront them.
The same scam was repeated before me, TWICE at the Trinity Circle today. There were two families I saw. A couple with a child, usually 3-7 years of age trailing behind. One of the families was standing a bit off the other and the other had already stopped a lady who give out Rs 100 to the couple in front of me and my friend. We didn’t stop her at that moment.