Bikaner - A Word Of Caution!

#1 Dec 12th, 2009, 03:34
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  • rahul_delhi is offline
#1
Dear All

I have been contemplating over posting this experience of mine, firstly due to the fact that it is a bit embarassing and secondly I wasn't sure if this will help me in any way. But I'm pretty sure now that it may help others and also that I need to get this out of my system.

So this happened during the 4th week of November when I along with my friend went on a road trip to Rajashtan and stopped at Bikaner for a night. We visited the Junagarh fort in the afternoon and that's when it began. We were waiting outside the main entrance for the official guide with who we were supposed to get in. We noticed this perfectly decent looking couple, well dressed et al, waiting outside along with their teenaged son. A few minutes later, the gentleman came to us and asked us if we were from Mumbai or with some touring group from Mumbai. We told him we were not and just got into a casual conversation in which he told us that they were waiting for this particular touring group from Mumbai for the last 1-2 hours. The conversation ended like that and we went into the fort when our guide came in.

We came out after a couple of hours marvelling at the beauty of the fort and headed to the museum which is in the same compound a little further away from the main fort. When we came out, we noticed them again and asked them if they had met that group to which they said they hadn't. We noticed the lady was on her mobile talking with some in frustration. We wished them luck and moved on.

We went to the museum and came out after 30 mins or so and saw this gentleman standing outside the museum near the canteen. We saw the lady with her teenaged son at the counter of the canteen. We asked him again if he had any luck to which he dejectedly said "no" and thats when it began. Mind you, I'm narrating this from hindsight so it looks shady and planned - otherwise it was just a normal bumping into fellow tourists at any touristy destination around the world.

So now this gentleman having met us more than once, started narrating a story that how he had come from Mumbai via Delhi (where his inlaws stay) and how their "pouch" with most of their monies and credit cards had been mistakenly put in the luggage of his in-laws who had gone towards Himachal Pradesh or some such destination at the same time they left for Bikaner. The lady then joined and looked exasperated and frustrated at being stuck in the Bikaner for last 2 days and waiting in the fort for that group from Mumbai so that they can ask for some help (read: money). We were quite taken in and offered to help them and asked them how much money they needed. The lady mentioned about the fare for a sleeper class to Mumbai and the fact that there was no train until the next morning so they will have to spend the night at a hotel in Bikaner. Also, that they only had 500 rupees left and they were relucant to even buy food for their son due to the crunch.

All this made us cringe and we offered them 2000 rupees (yes I know its hard to believe!!). They exchanged their home address and mobile number, saying that they will get in touch with us and wire the monies as soon as they returned to Mumbai. They thanked us profusely and looked genuinely relieved.

Your reaction to all this will most probably be "You fool. You should've known better". And you may be right. But honestly, somehow it just seemed to be the right thing to do at that time. I also know that there are elements which we utterly ignored at the time (advising them to ask their relatives to book the rail tickets online and providing them with PNR number etc.) but its only with the benefit of hindsight and I guess it just had to happen that way.

It's no wonder that that they haven't called or wired the monies till date and their mobile also seems to be switched off, for the last few days (I did not even try it until yesterday). The mobile number did seem genuine as made them save our number by calling on their mobile at that very moment.

Now I have posted this, besides the fact that everyone should be aware of such scams on the streets of our country and hopefully avoid them.


Regards
Rahul
Last edited by Kingstonian; Dec 14th, 2009 at 01:38..
#2 Dec 13th, 2009, 13:23
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  • aserbaidschan is offline
#2
i am sorry for what has happened to you.

but just a quick question: are you indian or foreign tourist?
#3 Dec 13th, 2009, 17:09
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  • rahul_delhi is offline
#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by aserbaidschan View Post i am sorry for what has happened to you.

but just a quick question: are you indian or foreign tourist?

Indian actually - which makes it even more eerie...
#4 Dec 13th, 2009, 17:45
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#4
Hey
Some times what matters is whats done than not done. I guess you tried to help them in that situation.So believe in karma,you will get your reward sooner or later and for them just pray hope they learn the lesson the better way.Thanks for sharing .
#5 Dec 13th, 2009, 22:34
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#5
Seems a bit strange indeed, yet I don't see anything to be extra cautious about in Bikaner (specifically) though ...... other than normal common sense that is. In these days of extraordinary communications, a few bucks for somebody to get to or organize an internet cafe session or phone will usually suffice.
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~
T. S. Eliot

http://www.derekgrantdigital.com
#6 Dec 13th, 2009, 22:48
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  • capt_mahajan is offline
#6
This scam is quite common, although I have never been hit at tourist places and I haven't gone far enough with any of these guys to find out how elaborate the story is.

But I have been approached with similar stories by decently dressed people speaking a variety of languages, -including English -with similar stories in more than a couple of times in Hyderabad, Bombay and Delhi.
Have even felt like a heel once for walking away from the folk- what if they were genuine?
.
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#7 Dec 13th, 2009, 23:08
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It happens in Canada too. About a year ago I ran into a fellow in the back of a mall parking lot. It was pouring rain, one of those cold november icewater rains & he asked me for some change. I felt a bit sorry for him & gave him a couple of bucks to catch a bus or something. Fine. Didn't I see a picture of the same guy a couple of weeks later in the newpsaper, apparently he was approaching everybody & if they didn't have enough change for his liking & .... 'crack' habit - he was pulling a knife & threatening them for wallet, watch etc.


... tough call sometimes that.
#8 Dec 13th, 2009, 23:24
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#8
sorry to hear that Rahul. Please do not feel bad - you helped and leave it there. They will sure get punished for their action. It happens in NYC also. An Indian guy at Penn Station or Grand Central, formally dressed with a cooked up story, asking other Indian people for help.
#9 Dec 14th, 2009, 00:00
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  • Aupmanyav is offline
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Of course, I sympathize with your loss. In 25 years, the money could have grown to 100,000 rupees. I also gave a loan of 1,500 to a person 40 years ago who has not returned either the principal or the interest.
Last edited by Kingstonian; Dec 14th, 2009 at 01:44..
#10 Dec 14th, 2009, 00:09
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#10
Had a man asked me to buy him a ticket from Trivandrum to Palghat, he said he'd been robbed, he also asked me for some rupees for the Internet as his mobile had also been stolen.

He was well dressed and I believed him, so I bought him a 2nd unreserved ticket then took him for breakfast, I then took him to the current reservations window and tried to upgrade his ticket to Sleeper class, as they wouldn't, I bought him the Sleeper Class ticket and told him to get the money back from the unreserved ticket to get some food & drink for the train.

I then give him the money for the Internet.

He give me his name and address (in Palghat) and said he'd return the money and asked me to come visit him and his family.

I'll never know if he was genuine, but I really beleive he was, and the small cost made me feel great about myself, and also, I've been stuck in places without money in the past, so I know how it feels.
#11 Dec 14th, 2009, 01:01
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  • rahul_delhi is offline
#11
Quote:
Originally Posted by robingeorge View Post Hey
Some times what matters is whats done than not done. I guess you tried to help them in that situation.So believe in karma,you will get your reward sooner or later and for them just pray hope they learn the lesson the better way.Thanks for sharing .
Thanks robingeorge, honestly speaking thats what I'm trying to tell myself as well but it hurts to see such incidents happening in our country. I do believe in Karma and guess it all evens out in the end

Quote:
Originally Posted by capt_mahajan View Post This scam is quite common, although I have never been hit at tourist places and I haven't gone far enough with any of these guys to find out how elaborate the story is.

But I have been approached with similar stories by decently dressed people speaking a variety of languages, -including English -with similar stories in more than a couple of times in Hyderabad, Bombay and Delhi.
Have even felt like a heel once for walking away from the folk- what if they were genuine?
Agree Captain! I would have felt bad had I walked away as well. Sometimes one just gives in to one's instincts. Well, we're all humans afterall

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeakXV View Post It happens in Canada too. About a year ago I ran into a fellow in the back of a mall parking lot. It was pouring rain, one of those cold november icewater rains & he asked me for some change. I felt a bit sorry for him & gave him a couple of bucks to catch a bus or something. Fine. Didn't I see a picture of the same guy a couple of weeks later in the newpsaper, apparently he was approaching everybody & if they didn't have enough change for his liking & .... 'crack' habit - he was pulling a knife & threatening them for wallet, watch etc.


... tough call sometimes that.
It was not such a tough call in this case coz the couple with their kid who was apparently famished, did look the part. Well

Quote:
Originally Posted by sb_amd_us View Post sorry to hear that Rahul. Please do not feel bad - you helped and leave it there. They will sure get punished for their action. It happens in NYC also. An Indian guy at Penn Station or Grand Central, formally dressed with a cooked up story, asking other Indian people for help.
I wanted to share my experience to feel a little light and I do feel better now


Quote:
Originally Posted by steven_ber View Post Had a man asked me to buy him a ticket from Trivandrum to Palghat, he said he'd been robbed, he also asked me for some rupees for the Internet as his mobile had also been stolen.

He was well dressed and I believed him, so I bought him a 2nd unreserved ticket then took him for breakfast, I then took him to the current reservations window and tried to upgrade his ticket to Sleeper class, as they wouldn't, I bought him the Sleeper Class ticket and told him to get the money back from the unreserved ticket to get some food & drink for the train.

I then give him the money for the Internet.

He give me his name and address (in Palghat) and said he'd return the money and asked me to come visit him and his family.

I'll never know if he was genuine, but I really beleive he was, and the small cost made me feel great about myself, and also, I've been stuck in places without money in the past, so I know how it feels.
Steven_ber - I must tell you that you're one of the members whose comments and threads I follow quite a bit on Indiamike, alongwith Captain's witty remarks ofcourse It does feel better to know that small acts of kindness are performed by a number of us
#12 Dec 14th, 2009, 01:14
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#12
Aupmanyav Sire, I don't think that the money is bothering our man, Rahul. It is an apparently good deed turning out to be a fraud which may be a big irritant! I second his emotions!

Also, you might have known the guy who took the loan from you and never returned it
#13 Dec 14th, 2009, 01:24
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#13
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeakXV View Post Seems a bit strange indeed, yet I don't see anything to be extra cautious about in Bikaner (specifically) though ...... other than normal common sense that is. In these days of extraordinary communications, a few bucks for somebody to get to or organize an internet cafe session or phone will usually suffice.
Agree with PeakXV - the subject for this thread is not justifiable. This can happen anywhere!
#14 Dec 14th, 2009, 11:52
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  • Aupmanyav is offline
#14
That is why in our culture they ask to give 'daana' (charity) to a 'supatra' (good candidate, one who really needs the help. Otherwise, the 'daana' does not bring you any merit). As for loans to friends and relatives, they said 'do not expect them to return it, give only that much that does not hurt you'. As a general principle, they said 'Neither give nor take a loan'. But, it seems, times have changed.
#15 Dec 14th, 2009, 12:11
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#15
Rahul,
A similar thing happened to us in Benaulim a couple of years ago. Early morning, tidy, plausible and well spoken young Indian guy, bad luck story about having had his money stolen on an overnight bus from Hampi. Yes, we were aware of the scam stories and so on but what if the guy was genuine? So we gave him the money and expected never to hear from him again. And guess what? We never heard from him again!
I guess the thing is that the guy may have been in genuine need and I still think we did the right thing by our concience as did you so all that was lost was a bit of money. I would hope that if I had a family member in need far away from home somebody would help out.
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