Sunday, September 18, 2005

Baba Marathi bolta hai kya?

The above words ought to be familiar to everyone who visits shopping areas in Bangalore. I encountered these twice over the last weekend. The setting was the same, a harried looking man carrying a suitcase with a lady carrying a baby. The picture of a villager travelling with his family. He tries to identify a north indian looking guy and starts his sob story. "baba, paisa nahin hai, pocket chori ho gaya". The wife adds a few comments regarding the baby. I have seen quite a few couples moved by their plight and making their pockets lighter by paying for these guys' ticket fare. As soon as the money is in the pocket these guys start scouting for their next target.

A different trick is employed by some other cheats. They hang around MG Road and nearby areas and ask passerbys the directions for Majestic or Malleswaram, basically any faraway place. Soon the person giving the directions advices the guy to take a rick or a bus since the place is definitely not at a walkable distance. Now the sob story begins, it starts with a request for auto-fare and finally they are willing to settle even for the bus fare!! I met a guy outside my office once, he was asking me the directions for Lalbagh. Now I do sometimes walk from my office all the way to Lalbagh, so I thought maybe another health conscious guy and gave him the entire directions, also suggesting the unpolluted route. Later I realized that I had narrowly missed the sob story part and had managed to foil his plans. No wonder he had a shocked look! Made me very happy:)

So next time you encounter one of these characters I advice you remember Johnny Walker and "keep walking".


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