I believe that I can spot a con but in this case I dropped my guard! I was in Malleswaram when suddenly an auto driver stopped and greeted me heartily, as if he found a long lost friend!
'Have you forgotten me, I am Bhat from ****Bank' he said! While I had no dealing with this Bank, I knew a Bhat from an other Bank! I was politely trying to tell him that he was mistaken, he took my hand and shook it with a lot of friendly vigor. Reminded me of a dog wagging its tail! He looked so friendly and happy!
He continued talking, (The whole conversation was in educated Kannada!), told me that he had taken voluntary retirement six months ago, he was diabetic and his left foot was amputated due to gangrene! He was now making a living driving this auto! I felt sorry for him and hesitated to brush him off.
He then went on to tell me that his mother was being operated in Vellore for a heart condition and it would cost him Rs.60000! He said a Swamiji of his mutt and another well known personality had helped but he was falling short. He again shook my hands and said he was short of Rs.10,000, but floated a figure of Rs.3000, a smaller amount, that was really needed to save his mother's life!
I could guess by then that he was either a con or a very confused person! I believe that the counselling classes I am attending has something do with it. I wanted to believe him! I guessed that he desperately needed money and was using this ploy to collect! Still, I said I will think about it and started to move back, when he pulled up his pant to show me his bandaged amputated foot! That was a clincher! I gave him some money but not what he indicated.
I watched his face as he pocketed the money and realsied that it was a well practiced con. I bet there is no mother to be operated, but the other part of his story about working in a bank may be true!
I am reminded of my walks in Bangkok with Rikhi when he invariably would drop coins into the bowls of beggars on the street! (I do not see any in our area!). I would tell him that these beggars were part of a mafia, planted each morning! I had actually seen the operation! His reply was 'It is OK. They still need the money!'