Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Double Bill

Money is trouble. Two back to back incidents just re-affirmed my faith in this age old saying.

Money for Nothing

I might be working now, and reached an age where the kids in the neighbourhood have started calling me 'uncle', but yesterday I found myself in a situation best suited for pre-teen sitcoms.

We were having our daily afternoon post lunch walk downstairs, laughing our way along as we always do. A pretty female came next to me, pausing to say something. In my universe this is an event with probability almost zero, whatever be the circumstance. So it did surprise me more than it should have. I literally froze.

"Excuse me", she politely said.

I looked around, she might very well have had the wrong person. I felt like enacting the "You talking to me?" routine in front of her. Words failed me, as they often do in such situations (they do, don't they?). The least I could manage was a surprised smile.

"Yes", still smiling. Plastic smile.

"I think you have dropped some money back there", she said.

There. She put a full stop on the purpose. I looked back and saw a 10 rupee note lying there. It wasn't mine, but the expression I made was like I'm not the kind of person who drops 10 rupee notes. On the contrary, maybe the expression went something like I'm the kind of person who drops 500 rupee notes and doesn't care to look back. It failed me that there were other people with me and they could be the concerned people. First words failed me, now my mind.

"ME ????" , I asked with all the surprise I could garner.

It came out sounding like I was excited that she had selected me, out of the 5 people, to give that information. Something of the "swayamwar" type thingie of the ancient ages. Or the ancient ages as depicted by Ramanand Sagar and co.

It was her turn to be surprised. Very surprised.

She said, "No, any one of you?". The tone of that sentence was much like Priyanka Chopra's iconic "Your silly village girl" in the Scooty ad. In fact the sentence came back to haunt me, much long after the incident, with emphasis on a different word each time.

No, any one of you?
No, any one of you?
No, any one of you?
No, any one of you?

Those weren't pleasing thoughts I tell you. I just tried to figure out which one of the versions would have been the mildest. I gave up.

My friend, I don't care much which one, saved the situation by claiming the money to be his. But somehow, the habit of getting the last word did not fail me here too.

As she walked away trying to figure out what creeps they have in office these days, I had to shout out "Thank you", like she had just saved a million lives.

She turned back, smiled and went away nodding. The kind of smile and nod that says "You'll never, ever improve, will you?"

I try madame. I try.

My unforgiving friends did not spare me after this.

"What did you think? This was some new generation improvisation of 'Excuse me, kya ye aapka rumaal hai?' type of pickup line?".

You got me :)

Meet the Fakers

If the previous incident was fit for pre-teen sitcoms, this one would have been suitable for a crime thriller. A seemingly harmless trip to the neighbourhood bank took a chilling turn when I got a phone call just after I thought I had wrapped up the whole rent paying business this month for good.

"Is this Mr. XYZ?" XYZ being my landlord.
"Wrong number." I said without even thinking twice.
Then it struck me. I had written his name on the money deposit envelope and my number, so this was no coincidence.

The phone rang again and I explained the scenario. The voice on the other side had a tone that couldn't care less. That is partially because of the bomb that was dropped after that.

"One 500 rupee note that you have deposited just now is fake. Either come to replace it or get 500 less deposited."

My world came crashing down. 500 Note? Fake? I had just take the damn money out of the adjacent ATM and shoved it in the bloody envelope without even looking. This is what you get for trust? They slip one of them phoneys in between? And why is she all cool about the fake note? Aren't they going to like arrest me for this fake racket? Take me to the prison and torture out the name of my imaginary accomplices and the make of the fake printing machine?

"I'll be there in 15 minutes." I told her in a voice just short of breakdown.

On the way, I was telling my roomie of the fate that awaited us. Snipers would waiting on the gates. They already had our images on the CCTV, where we were so cutely trying to figure out just how the heck does the coupon dispensing system work. They would shoot us on sight and get accolades for encountering masterminds of the fake currency racket. Then find our IIT ID-Cards in the wallet and media would be full of 'The Departed-esque' type conspiracy 'rat' theories. Rats planted young. He patiently pointed out that a fake 500 did not deserve this much drama.

After reaching there, I had to tell a billion people embarrassingly about my story, so that they would guide me to the place to get it resolved. The weekend crowd was overflowing in the bank and everyone seemed to look at me penetratingly as if to say "These be the rotten phoneys, what did they think?". Finally one person guided us to the basement.

In such circumstances, the basement is not an ideal place to settle issues. I mean if you visualise bank basements as made immortal by so many movies, the ultra modern security measures and unforgiving treatment they promise to goons, a very reassuring picture does not emerge out. Nevertheless it had to be done.

We were greeted by two very sceptical ladies, who shooed us out of the room. On narrating my problem, again, it did register something in one of their minds and out came a very shiny looking 500 rupee bill from an envelope. It looked perfectly normal otherwise, but maybe too much makeup is out of fashion these days. Sure the note was shiny and the Gandhi insignia had bit too much ink, but fake? Unfortunately I wasn't the one who works in banks.

I did try the melodrama bit here too, which famously had taken me out of a soup at a Mumbai local station. Didn't work out. This time though, I was happy just to come out alive. And kick the bloody ATM on the way back.

Alive and kicking. Ha.


Gee said...

Wow, you are really weird.
And why do ad-windows with questionable content open with your blog now? Is this what you have stooped to? :O

Nikhil said...

Weird situations call for weird behaviour :D

BTW am really concerned by the pop up thing, some strange crawler affliction. Put some hours behind the template code, couldn't figure out :(

Use a good pop-up blocker in the interim...will overhaul the template son enough.

Gee said...

I use Firefox inbuilt pop up blocker thingie - which was doing a perfect job, up until now, that is:-|
Weird behaviour - yes, but more so - weird ideas about pick-up lines! Tch tch. Anyway, all that one needs to know about them lines is - they never work:P

Anonymous said...

hey nothing aflicted the me when i opened the thing.
i can see u are living on the edge nickel my friend.
also no popups here so maybe u have cured ur site.
waise u can have another shot with the chick just shave the moustache and go and she will never recognize u


Nikhil said...

[gee] not my idea as I mentioned, my friends drew that analogy :D

and I'm not brave/enterprising enough to try pickup lines on random girls, work or not is one step ahead :)

*sigh* blame IIT ...

[kp] ha ha, come on, it was not like I was hounding that girl :P

just an incident that happened :)

btw saw your HN me guitar-playing and begging wala adventure on SD's blog!!! most awesome thing I've heard about in ages :)

crazed_mellow said...

hola. ya the begging thing was fun. we went a couple of times after that too.
its quite fun.
we make up instant crazy songs abt nsync ppl and being tongue tied in front of women [:P]..

hope to see u there sometime

Nikhil said...

Cool then, I'll do a part lyrics on your second theme for a song titled "No, any one of you". Superimpose the "Going to California" tune, that's what ringing in my head this time :)

She walked right to me
Talked right to me
Was thinking, could this be truuue
Then she crushed my soul
And she burnt a hole
In my heart, when se said
No. Any one of youuuuuuu.

Painful smile is all I got to show
Man it was hard,hard,hard to know.

Don't expect too much in 5 mins :P
Be there someday man. Someday.

crazed_mellow said...

aah such is the stuff i was looking for, dont worry the next time we go a song shall be sung for our perpetually fallen comrade nickel. may his tongue work itself out of its terrors. and u become one of the haves instead of the have knots.

ranjan said...

hey dude...we in mumbai smehow get the impression that the probability of 'the' event taking place would be far better in Delhi than what it is here:P Your post lets us down:)

neways howz life? an entry at 9am: evs seems to be in safe hands:D

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