Trust is a sad word. How many people have fallen into a trap after trusting even someone close, let alone strangers? There have been many incidents of people being cheated by near and dear ones. But then people never learn from their own experience or from that of the others. Given this situation often it is the strangers, who have come forward to help people in certain other situations.
Young people try to get too much too early and land up in a mess. Let’s take the example of Tarun Rekhi from Mutual PR, Delhi. He wanted to have an I Phone and that too during his PR internship period! His female friend’s boyfriend got him a new Apple I Phone at cheaper price (if Rs. 22, 000 can be called that) from someone, “who had come from abroad”. The friend brushed off the scratches on it as having appeared since his friend had brought it open in his baggage. Tarun complained, “Soon I realized that the phone was a defective piece. Its lock button and one of the speakers were not working properly. Besides, there are no charger, no sim tray, no sim pin and no headphones in the phone box. I called that guy and told him to take the phone back and return the money. He point blank told me that it was not possible and started giving me excuses. I went to Gaffar Market to get it repaired. There I came to know that it was an old phone purchased in December 2010 and it had been repaired once! That came as a real shock to me. Then I called that guy once again. We had a heated argument. With no support coming from his side, I spent 8 grand more on it just to get it fixed.”
Let’s take another example. A Rishabh Bharuka was the boyfriend of Nasreen Khan (name changed), another PR this time from Mumbai. They were together in college. After college, they had lost touch and then met again in March 2011. After what he did to her in July 2011, she now hesitates to speak to new matrimonial alliances, even though she has broken up with him. Such was the betrayal of her trust. She recalls with sadness and disgust, “He was very keen on marrying me. Then he took a personal loan of 7 lakhs, with me as a guarantor, with the pretext of helping me invest. He later claimed to have invested the loan he took in my name but I haven’t signed any investment papers as yet. When the money had been transferred to his account, he decided that we go to Macau, China, together. There without my knowing he took my credit cards and swiped them a couple of times. Then he actually gambled away my hard earned money. I realized it after 10 days and I blocked my cards. After that he started behaving badly and abusing me. Thus I broke off with him. He had the audacity to tell me that since I had broken off with him, he was breaking off the financial ties, too! It’s my mistake that I did not take things in writing.”
She had not realized that he was a liar from the beginning. She says, “I thought that the black Accord, in which he had taken me around was his. He had also lied that he was staying in Andheri. We found out that he lives in Malad, that too on rent. The ridiculous part is that he doesn’t even own a flat and I was born with 2 cars in our family. Who would not believe these basic things, given that we knew each other since college? When the cops had gone to his place, he was told to come to the police station. There he said that he had contacts at high places and these things did not affect him. He also adamantly said that I gave him the money on my own accord. When he left, the cops closed the case saying that it was not a criminal case, just a case of breach of mutual trust! Then they told us to chase him as much as we could to recover the money. Rest would be bad debts! They even told me to go to Macau to file the case. How ridiculous! We argued that we are Indians and why should we go to another country to file a case. Now we keep begging for the money. Now I am not in talking terms with him. But my Mom chases him often. He keeps paying a little on and off. Look at my plight. I lost my hard-earned money. Now I have lost my mother’s trust. Money can be earned but not someone’s trust. For the last one year our relationship has been strained. I am the only earning member of the family. At the same time I am not in a job, right now. I have been paying back the loan and I have to till 2014. Since I am not in a job right now, I have only one EMI saved in my account. I don’t know what I am going to do after that, unless I get another job.”
Tarun says that there was no question of not trusting the person since he was a college friend’s boyfriend. They had lunched often together. I wonder how does, just hanging out together with friends of friends, qualify them to be trusted to this extent! He also says that his friend was going to give him the receipt the next day, but since there was trouble with it and the friend did not take the responsibility, he just stopped talking to him. Tarun does not also want to go to the police since the laws are not victim-friendly.
These are not the only cases, where there has been a breach of trust. There have been many such cases, where people have been cheated by a supposed friend. The person ends up paying the debt or lives with the defective item, since the friend absconds with the money! There appears to be no laws to catch these friends. Such is our system and such friends take advantage of it. Isn’t it about time that something is done about it?
Another incident and others, make us believe in the presence of good people around. In 2010, Rinku Gala a PR was returning home from office. When the cab, in which she was travelling, reached her building, she was talking on the phone. While paying the cabbie, she placed the phone aside and left. She realized that she had left the phone somewhere after she had reached her floor. It was a Nokia E72 and was priced Rs. 20000. She recollects, “Once inside home, I called my phone from my Mom’s phone. The cabbie picked it up and said that he would return it in a while. We kept following it up. He brought the phone after 4 hours. I gave him 1000 bucks as reward, because it was a new cell. Besides, all my contacts were saved in the cell. For a PR her contacts are everything.”
That’s from an absent-minded PR! In 2005, Paromita Kundu, who now handles internal communications at Siemens, was about to give her Second Year College final exams in Wilson College, Mumbai. On the exam day, she was late to college after a session of last moment studies. She was carrying many books in her hands, her bag, her wallet and cell phone. She with her friends decided to take a cab to college from Charni Road station. They were packed inside it and as they reached their destination, they hurriedly paid and ran into their examination centre. She remembered, “It was only after I settled in my seat that I realized that my wallet was missing. It was just a few minutes before the exam started and I panicked! My friends pointed out that probably it might have fallen off in the cab, while paying the cabbie. I wasn’t carrying much cash, but had my credit cards, driving license, college cards, etc. I immediately informed home to block my credit cards. After the exam, when I came out of the hall, I saw that our college security guard had my library card and was looking for me. When I approached him, I saw that he had my wallet, too! Apparently after dropping us at our college, the cabbie had noticed my wallet inside his cab. My library card helped him identify and locate me. All my belongings were intact! I profusely thanked the guard but sadly couldn’t thank the cabbie, since he had left. Neither do I remember the cab number nor do I recollect the driver’s face. Such anonymous people often reinforce and re-instill the belief in us that genuinely good people still exist. The world still has people, who value honesty.”
Let’s now talk about the experiences of another set of absent-minded PRs! In May 2012, Delhi-based Sweta Singh and Rituparna Dutta went for a dinner date with each other since Ritu was leaving for her hometown in Assam the next day. They left their laptop bag in an auto rickshaw before going into the restaurant. Sweta says, “When we realized that our laptop bag was missing, we searched in the restaurant, but it was not there. The CCTV footage helped us realize that it was not with us, when we entered the restaurant. We were so disturbed and totally clueless about what should be done next. The laptop was a brand new one and Ritu’s flight tickets were in the bag. Eventually it was decided that we would go to the police the next day as it was getting quite late in the night. Since I was holding the bag, I blamed myself that because of my carelessness the misfortune had happened and so I prayed all night for a miracle. Next morning, out of the blue, I received a call from the auto rickshaw driver, who was actually annoyed at me for leaving behind our bag in his auto! Apparently he had been going about looking for us so that he could return the laptop bag to us. I couldn’t really believe my luck. But then again I keep wondering how he got hold of my number when it was definitely not in the bag! Ever since that incident I have firmly started believing in the existence of God and good people.”
Update: After this article was published and was floating in the internet (since I always share my articles on my Facebook page). It reached the then girlfriend of Rishabh Bharuka, who found Nasreen again via internet to confirm the story. When that was done, the other girl broke up with the swindler.
Previously published in Eve’s Times magazine. Reproduced here with permission from the editor, Swati Amar.