Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Pick pocket

The monsoon rains made a surprise comeback for the last couple of days. Yesterday I was waiting for the rain to stop near NARI's but it didn't stop. A local cafe, which had stopped serving food was kind enough to cook me a meal especially (they usually come out of a big pot). He still only wanted 40p for it but I gave him 70. I tried to chat with the locals while waiting, which was entertaining, but not much was understood. They wanted to see some pictures of London on my laptop. Eventually the cafe was shutting so I was forced to go home in the rain. One of the locals lent me his umbrella to hold above my head while I cycled home. I accepted because I wanted to keep my laptop dry. There were a few wobbly moments as I failed to see some pot  holes in the dark and the umbrella turned inside out. But I got home all right and surprisingly dry. I might start taking an umbrella with me on bike rides in England. Sorry, those of you with facebook will have already heard so far. But not this:

This evening the rain stopped and I cycled to Phaltan to investigate why my usb modem had stopped working. I felt real bling riding with my expensive bright flashing bike lights from the UK. I haven't seen one cycle here with lights. In town I had difficulty finding the place that could help me. A customer of one of the shops was kind enough to help and took me from one place to another. No payment was asked for all his help, but he did want to become my friend and we exchanged phone numbers. Eventually we found someone who knew of a shop that could help me so I hopped on that man's motorbike and he took me there. The whole precess must have taken most of an hour. First they confirmed that I needed more credit. Then they topped it up. Then I plugged it into my eee and confirmed that it still did not work. Then we had to spend ages calling different customer care numbers because, apparently, when my credit runs down to zero they deactivate the card. During this time I remember that my wallet is in my back pocket and being in a crowded shop I need to position my leg that it is snug against me that I can feel if someone tries to take it out.

When eventually I come to pay I reach into my pocket and bingo - I don't have just my wallet in my hand, I have two! Yes two wallets. You can imagine my surprise and embarrassment when I try and pay with two wallets. I look around and ask if someone is missing a wallet. I feel like a thief. Why has someone put another wallet in my pocket?

When they understand my confusion they help me find out who's wallet it is and go through its contents. There is no money in it. Eventually we figure out that it belongs to the first helpful guy I met with whom I exchanged numbers. I give someone else my phone because I can't understand most Indian people on the phone and Anand (his name) does not not speak a lot of English. They explain that I have his wallet and tell me he is coming. So I nervously wait, expecting to be accused of a thief or be begged for some money when he sees that it is all gone. Instead, when he arrived he was full of smiles and was grateful that I was honest enough to return it. He explains that he does not keep money in his wallet.

Well you tell me what to think of this one. Can I trust him? He seems quite well off so I don't think he is after my money. Since I approached him and most Indian people are actually honest (one gets a slanted image of Indian people if one only talks to people who approach oneself - i.e touts) he is probably a decent chap. Anyway, he would like to meet with me on my next day off, which will be Sunday.

The photo: A picture of the resident geko. I have not seen it since I blinded it with my flash. I hope it is ok :S


  1. hmm...seems suspect. but not sure what the motive would be! was there anything in the wallet? could it be that it was intended to be a switch? curious...

    or in the shop where you met him, did you buy anything? could you have mistakenly picked up his wallet after paying?

    i guess try not to be too suspicious of him in case he's perfectly nice, but also take care...

    is it quite normal for people to want to exchange numbers and be friends with strangers there? a bloke asked for my number the other day and i told him to look me up facebook instead!

    first frog-chucking and now blinding poor geckos? you sadist! :Px

  2. I just remembered that he may have taken out his wallet to get out a bit of paper for me to write down my name and email address. I don't know if he could have handed me the bit of paper to write on with the wallet underneath for support and than I only returned the bit of paper...

    Yes it is very common for Indian people to ask for my name and number. I don't know how I'll keep track of all the Indian names appearing in my phone. Particularly if I walk down a country road people stop and shake my hand and say, "name please?". I'm not a celeb and it is a little embarrassing considering how T was treated in India!