Friendly old guy invites me to visit school where he works... Scam or genuine?
lambshandy
India > India Travel Basics > India Travel > Scams and Annoyances in India
#16
| Senior Member
My suggestion is speak over phone to the person to gather some information about the school (Name of the School, Location, i.e., Name of the Village, Post Office). Once you get the name of the Post Office, search for its PINCODE No on the INDIA POST website www.indiapost.gov.in . There you can get the telephone number of the Post Office. Contact the Postmaster and enquire about the School etc.

Any way have some pre knowledge before venturing and as some one has already suggested let some one know before you go there.

Good luck !!

Himadri
#17
| Maha Guru Member

Originally posted by: fsg View Post

He's done this before no doubt. I would be wary, take a friend with you, but no chocolates etc, and if you are concerned about the meal, you have Delhi Belly and cannot eat much food.

Met a well dress old man in Macdonalds in CP, who tried to converse, but I left. Im sure he would have had years of practice picking up foreigners.

Keep in touch


Originally posted by: JOHNLORD View Post

Slightly OT but, why do Indians try and pick up foreigners. I can't imagine anyone I know trying to pick up a foreigner.

Life is busy enough as it is without picking up foreigners. I know the last sentence seems silly as I am here wasting time on a forum.


The current situation can be distinguished by the fact that the old man did not pick up the OP. It was practically vice-versa.

But yes, I agree. I'm an Indian, but I'd never offer to host a stranger at home. At most, a restaurant where I pay, if the conversation is really interesting (or if he/she's from my ancestral village).
#18
| Maha Guru Member
I once had a slightly similar situation.

We were travelling by bus in the early morning from Bilaspur to Amarkantak. At a chai stop we fell into conversation with another passenger who spoke very good English. He told us he ran a project in a village around self-sufficiency for marginal farmers, organic methods, co-operatives etc. This was very interesting for us (more so than, for example, a school or medical charity would have been). He also mentioned that they were funded partly by Oxfam and I had a regular donation to Oxfam at that time.

Anyway, the journey and the conversation continued and he suggested that we get off at his village, visit the project, and then get another bus up to Amarkantak later in the afternoon. There was no reason not to, and we had been to Amarkantak before so we weren't bothered about arriving late.

The visit to the village project with Baiga people was fascinating. They gave us some lunch too, which could have been a bit of a burden as I remember someone was sent out to buy some eggs. We were not asked for any donation, but then we had already established that I was kind of a donor via Oxfam anyway.

Then he took us back to the crossroads to get a bus to Amarkantak and we had to wait a long time. Our friend wasn't as familiar with the bus times as he'd led us to believe. The bus was very full, then it broke down and we started walking (in the jungle) in the dark then hitched a lift in a truck . . . but that's another story :rolleyes: .

Anyway, this is just an example of a genuine chance encounter. Our guy was not seeking to pick up foreigners - we just happened to be fellow passengers on the bus, as the OP and his guy were fellow passengers on the metro.

But two points - as well as your concern about the 'quality' of the food, you might also consider whether it could be a burden for your host. You could tell him in advance that you'd like to visit the school but not the food. Make some excuse like an upset stomach.
Also, think about how you are going to get back. If using public transport, plan it yourself rather than relying on him. And maybe tell him in advance that you need to be back in Delhi at X place to meet Y at Z o'clock so you can't stay beyond a certain time.
#19
| ElderS

Originally posted by: vir View Post

...
When/If you go let someone else know the Name/address/phone of where you are headed. When you are there call someone letting them know, you have reached there in front of your host.

Excellent advice!

Originally posted by: steven_ber View Post

You're right to be nervous... but almost everything you say about meeting this man seems normal to me.

...having this man's telephone number means the police can track him down if need be, so this should be reassuring to you.

...if you want to learn something about a world so very different to your own, then give him a call.

Be warned though, seeing the less advantaged side of India will live with you forever....

Wise remarks as always from steven.
Mind you, one can see the less advantaged side of India on the streets of any city or village if one just opens one's eyes.

@lambshandy
Snap a photo or two of the place before you enter.

If you do visit the school, please let us know how it went.

distaff
Walt Whitman - Song of Myself

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
#20
| Account Closed
oh, johnlord in #15, i don't know. i have done this with both indians and foreigners on the spur of the moment, and have yet to have a thoroughly bad experience or be the cause of one. On the other hand, i have made a few lifelong friends, and consider myself lucky.

At all times, i went forward because i did not feel trapped, and i hope i did not make others feel the same. In fact, my presence has resulted in many touts not approaching the said foreigners or indians.

I have taken a few home, those that were in the city for one purpose, and were already leaving town in the evening, after completing the one thing they came for. They get a bathroom for free, a meal for free, and get dropped off at their in-town destination, and if possible, to their exit point. And i get a friend, perhaps.

Others, i try and help them with what they want. And if they want to meet later for something, fine, else, no problem.

The flip side of this, i have seen, is that someone i know did exactly this, and as soon as he went in to take a bath, the guy he brought in, vanished with all the valuables (the guy who vanished claimed he was from the same place as my friend, and was knowledgeable of the town's geography, though they did not have any common friends or other people based connection). So, i now keep all my valuables in the bathroom :)

I do this, when possible, even when i am visiting some other city, and meet fellow travellers. I do have a few stories there too...

PS : And as to the original question, a few good suggestions have been offered, i think. It is genuine, until it turns out to be scam.

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