Sorry, I cannot buy that!

Opinion May 24, 2014

"Mere bacho ki kasam, mai pehle bahut ameer tha. Mujhe bahut ghumaan tha paiso par. Par aaj mai yaha subah 10 baje se ghoom raha hu aur mujhe 800 rupay aur chahiye. Mere bache ki fees poori ho jayegi. Ye dekho, maine itne(takes out money from his pocket) ka samaan bech diya hai, please belt le lo. Mai bheekh nahi maang sakta. Mere Sai tumhe yaad rakhenge, chaahe mai tumhe bhool jau. Meri shakal pe mat jao."

These were the words said to me by a guy selling belts outside at 12.30 am. On a normal day, about an year ago, I would have bought that belt or maybe just donated money to that fellow trying to sell those belts on the roadside to support his child's education, but not anymore.

Yes, I said it - I did not buy that belt, nor did I buy the reason given by him. As cold heart-ed as you may call me, Delhi has changed my heart in to not believing any of these non-sense excuses that people use to dupe others of money. It is highly possible that the said guy was in the need of the money that he was talking about but there is a lot of concern in my head about the genuineness of the above mentioned cause. How do I believe you, sir? I have been duped of my money so many times by people who only needed that to buy another round of drink or do drugs with the same money, that I cannot take risk on people like you by sparing my hard earned money on such foolish reasons provided by you.

India has a major problem of fraudsters burning a hole into people's pockets by using emotional bull-sh*t like that; be it in the name of God, in the name of their siblings, in the name of their relatives or parents who are dieing in a hospital or, like in the above case, in the name of their children's educational requirements. I will not stereotype people by saying that everyone out there is a liar, but after more than half a century of encounters with fraudsters who made me believe in the foolish reasons they gave, I refuse to help anyone who walks up to me with the above mentioned statements.

This problem is not centered along the city of Delhi, where this incident with me occurred, but is existent in every single corner of the world famous state for its cultural assets, called India. I have more than a certain number of incidents to support my reasoning. What pisses me off further is the fact that many tourists coming to the country fall for this trap and pay huge sum of money to "help" these kind of people and are seldom aware of this scam happening across the whole country. How do you expect us to justify it to them that India is not a fraud country when we ourselves cannot believe in our own people? Even as literate(used non-interchangeably with educated) Indians, many fall for such traps set up by scamsters spread all across this country - North, South, East or West.

The problem lies in the cultural setup itself. In a country where castes, races, religion and sentiments drive every aspect of this state and even a slight mismatch in the ideology upsets the emotions of people to a level where communal riots break out, it is extremely easy to exploit this society's weakness to earn money, power, affiliation and total control over the minds of people for any kind of benefits one could want. Our most priced asset that is etched in our souls from the time we are born has become our curse in disguise.

Me, being aware of it to some extent, will not change the society altogether. It will only harm the society more because it makes it hard for me to differentiate between the truth and the lies and it makes me more paranoid to spend my money or time on such people. I may not speak ill of them to others, but not everybody would be like me in this case. Spending some time and effort to check for the truthfulness of the statements is an option but honestly, it is not viable since my time is as equally priced as everyone else. How else do you expect me to be more empathetic to this society when the lies spoken by a couple of fraudsters make me lose trust in the society?

I may be a good guy but I am not a God. Therefore, to the guy who tried to sell me the belt with the above mentioned statements - "Sorry, I cannot buy that!"