Life Cycle Of A Scam

…The fiction above is but a microcosm of the play in real world where the curtains stay permanently raised up for a non-stop run of scams and the public looking away helplessly in disgust, disbelief and disinterest.

The wise rishi’s up there in the high mountains meditating on and seeking ‘Truth’ are not back yet. It is quite likely they’re successful in their quest before long while we putter around in the plains?…

Fictional, for a good part, read it here.

End

Move Over, Chennai

Years ago, my uncle had moved from Kolkatta to Chennai, giving up a good job in an MNC to be with his ageing mother.

He had set up a factory in one of those outlying areas (may not be so, now) – Velachery – to make plastic components for the industry. Daily he drove by himself all the way to and fro his residence in Triplicane, a city suburb. Every so often, in his commute, at some point enroute he was involved in one incident or the other. One day it would be an old man or a middle-aged lady (the most aggressive lot), and on another day, it would be a chicken that would meet with his car. Immediately a neighborhood crowd would collect around the vehicle and one among them would take the lead in the cry for justice for the ‘poor victim’.  It took a while for my uncle to realize the victim was, in fact, no victim having flung himself deliberately against the car, ending up no worse than lightly soiling his clothes, so managed by clever choice of the moment and the spot at a braking distance in front of the car. Of course with a chicken thrown expertly, this was not possible – it would end up dead or near dead. But there was no way he could prove it wasn’t his doing to the small mob that would appear instantly out of thin air. It meant buying his way out by parting with a wad of rupee notes, feeling lucky to get away at that price. That done the mob would disappear faster than a magician’s now-here-now-where act. 

We learnt of these incidents only when he let it out much later in some context. And when he did, we would feel sorry for him and at the same time angry at the way of life in this city to earn a quick buck.

Another senior executive from the corporate sector who had similar experiences did a little differently under the circumstances, we learnt: to the dismay/shock of the mob, he always concluded the transaction, by carrying away the chicken with him as-was!

View of Chennai held fast over the years bolstered by other stories one heard or read as a second-to-none petty-scamming place underwent a sea-change when a few days ago on seeing this article/clip dated 2012!

Excerpts from the article translated and edited:

“…

The feigned casualties, a whole business.

These ‘artists of deception’ practicing all the tricks and deceptions to avoid going to work or collect subsidies fall into two profiles: one, “innocent or common picaresque” that seeks to escape one or two days of work to extend a weekend and the other that feigns pathologies that are not demonstrable as a headache or a backache, or something else fraudulent that goes further in the deception and simulates a serious illness even going to medical courts to achieve a low or disability in order to defraud the social security to collect the corresponding subsidies…

In the last years, forums, blogs or websites have proliferated in which Internet users exchange tricks and advice on how to self-harm or invent a credible excuse. There are even tutorials that detail the steps to follow to train you and become a “professional deception,”…

Among the practices carried out by some workers to simulate or contract a disease are some very ingenious, at the same time curious, such as placing a slice of onion under the armpit to suffer an allergy or hives, place for half an hour half orange on the bottom of the feet to suffer fever, heat in the microwave a few varied fruits and eat them hot causing severe stomach pains or even someone who snorts chalk, something really dangerous because among its consequences is pneumonia!!

Browsing the web can ‘help’ discover pages specialized in providing alibis or excuses to workers.Among the products that are offered on these pages are fake medical receipts and false obituaries, infallible proofs to be presented to the boss.

These fraudulent practices have caused companies to seek professional help and put themselves in the hands of specialized private detectives in order to demonstrate the scam they are being subjected to by workers and clients.

…”

Now watch the clip here:

(some parts of it may have been staged)

Chennai, now you lose your spot to be second-only-to-Spain in petty-scamming if things haven’t changed over there in the last seven years!

End

PS: To be fair, maybe there are other cities besides Chennai no different or even worse in this regard. It’s another matter Chennai was/is never in the running for bigger scams, monumental corruption by shamelessly self-aggrandizing politicians and others in authority excepted.  

The Tank That Wasn’t

Part 1

The sweltering summer was mercifully coming to an end and the onset of monsoon only a month away. A welcome augury for the parched fields and the suffering village folks and their livestock’s.

The villagers were alert this year wanting to collect and save rainwater to last through next summer. Their head along with a bunch drawn from families of substance met the officer in-charge of village administration and development at the district head-quarters and voiced their concerns and the solution they had thought of: a tank should be built near their fields to provide water for their fields and homes all year around.

The officer heard them out patiently, checked his records and regretted his inability to undertake the construction as the meager government fund already suffering serious cuts was barely enough to cover sustenance through the year. He would certainly provide for this project in his budget for the next year. With luck it might even be sanctioned.

The villagers went into a huddle. They were loath to wait out another summer like the one they were going through without any mitigation . Something had to be done. What if they raised the fund by themselves?

The officer perked up immediately on hearing the suggestion and became helpful in pursuing the same. Within a few days, he confirmed it was possible for his office to allocate some unused government land for the project and undertake the construction if they could raise 3 lacs of rupees.  This mode of executing a project was without a precedent for his office. The hardship faced by men and animals moved his office to consider this project favorably. And with urgency as the tank would serve the purpose of providing relief only if it was ready before the monsoon arrived.

3 lacs of rupees was not an insignificant amount. A dissenting group felt they were not exactly dropping dead presently without the tank. So why not carry on as is? All considered it was finally decided to go ahead with the tank.

From there events rolled by at a fast clip. The money was collected and handed over to the officer. He was good as his word: within days workmen were sighted near a lowland outside the village.

Part 2

Six months later:

The new incumbent who took over months ago happened to meet the officer- now moved to a new district – in a staff training program. In the evening when everyone was unwinding over drinks: .

‘Many thanks to you I got this break. Let me know how I can return the favor. Anytime…’

‘Not sure I understand you.’

‘Remember the tank project?’

‘Oh, yes. What of it?’

‘You didn’t brief me on it during hand-over.’

‘Oh, I didn’t?’

‘You didn’t.’

‘If you say so…well, I did right with all other files, you must admit. This one thing – don’t know how it slipped my mind.’

‘So did the 3 lacs too.’

‘And what does 3 lacs fetch today, eh? May be a shrub-fence around the site? The true cost of the project would be not a rupee less than 25 lacs even considering only the bare essentials. Didn’t want to scare those jokers away at the first draw, you see. The records were maintained scrupulously for the money paid out.’

‘And there were no shrubs and no fence around the site – I personally visited’. In fact nothing to show for the project save a hole on the ground to stand a pole.

‘What do you think? Everything costs money. I had workmen do a recce of the site, collected soil samples and sent them for analysis.’

‘I know… must have cost you all of the 3 lacs in the kitty. To think you took up the project when you had the transfer order in your hand – ah, you’re one heck of a chap.’

‘’Service is our motto’ – isn’t that written up as our pledge? Am sure you would have picked it up from where I left. Goes to show how our machinery just rolls on regardless of the personalities…amazing isn’t it?’ Time and tide wait…no, time and project wait for none…cute, no? Thought of it just now as we are talking…must get included in our pledge. Frankly we should be thanking the Brits for installing these systems. Come rain or shine we…’

‘Must have been some very pressing situation.’

‘Mmmmm…yes, mate, strictly between us it was bad. If I had not coughed it up…anyway thanks, my friend, for covering my back. In fact I was quite worried for quite some time…really feared they would reach me somehow.’

‘Anything for a colleague.  After all hamam me sab nange hai (all are naked in a public bath). Funny I say this…there was no bath, no tank here- that’s the crux of the matter. But I must give it to you – you weren’t greedy.’

‘Now that we’re buddies, tell me how did it go for you and, yes, for the village? And you talked about some break thanking me for it…what is it?’

‘Wasn’t easy at all to face them, the villagers, and their queries. They demanded to be taken to the site and shown work done till date. Even threatened to take the matter to the Collector.’

’My god, that’s serious.’

‘Didn’t know what to do. At one stage, I seriously considered fingering you and letting myself out.’

‘Thank god you didn’t.’

‘I tell you it was quickly spinning out of control. And that’s when the report landed on my table.’

‘What report?’

‘From some little known cheapie lab you had sent the soil samples for analysis.’

‘And what did it say?’

‘Usual stuff – no surprises there. But a line in there set me thinking – said ‘arsenic content negligible.’

The officer was clueless where this was heading.

His new buddy continued: ‘I told those blokes I had to refill the areas dug up by you, almost overnight at great cost and effort as traces of toxic minerals were reported in the soil analysis – even showed them the ‘report.’ And as a responsible public servant, how could I take even the least risk in matters of their health…In the end they thanked me for what I ‘did’.’

‘Man, you’re a guru. Wish I had known you earlier…You know you should have taken a session for us today on ‘How to handle difficult situations?’ instead of those morons boring us stiff. But I still don’t understand this: while you certainly saved my hide, how was it a break for you?’

‘After my telling them at length, the villagers were more than willing to vouch before any authority why refilling was necessary and urgent. Our office very well understood refilling a large area wasn’t a cheap exercise. If digging up cost 3 lacs, filling up would…well, I don’t have to tell you…Of course the records had to be straightened out with the supporting documents and receipts.  I would be ungrateful if I didn’t thank you for the opportunity you sent my way.’

…The new buddy was not one to forget favors. He picked up the tab for the evening.

End

Source: Adapted from facebook.com/gauthamkrish