The earliest memory of conning that I can remember was when a guy approahed me in the train station, asking for help. Still green those days, I lent a concerned ear to his woeful tale. He spun a fantastic tale of how misfortune befell him on his journey and how he ended up without a penny to take him back home. Taking pity at his plight, I gave him a then-princely sum of 400 rupees (studying in college, that would mean no partying for quite some time). I still the fake joy and relief on his face as he repeatedly promised to send me the money as soon as he got home. In one week’s time, I had learnt a very important lesson in life.
Skip one year. Same place. Different time. This time, his story was slightly different. He claimed to be an engineering student. Despite knowing that I was prolly being conned, I wasn’t able to resist the urge to help. This time, my folly cost me a hundred rupees.
Two years later, I was in a different city. Now, I was earning. The daily travel from work to office brought me into contact with many people, among which was the next con-man. This time, however, it was a complete set of father, mother and 2 children. They claimed to have lost all their money and needed help. They offered to speak to me in the language of my choice which set off alarms in my head. Politely excusing myself, I walked away.
Fastforward to last week. A guy in (extremely) dusty clothes approaches me and, much to my suprise, speaks to me in almost flawless English. He narrates another fancy tale of how he was going to his friend’s place and lost all his money. He wanted 15 rupees to take a bus to there. One look at him and I apologized and walked away.
Last night, yet another guy approached to me with pretty much the same story, different clothes, slightly faulty English. I did not even give him the courtesy of an apology. I just said I am in a hurry and hurried off.
Looking back, I think college and working alone, has opened my eyes, to the people around us. Not all of them are as nice as they look (or in the latter cases, sound). These incidents have taught me a valuable lesson, though they did charge me 400 rupees for it.