Sunday, September 28, 2008


IN my youth I used to think that money was the most important thing in life; now that I have grown older and wiser, I am convinced of it, more so because I couldn't make my pile. Let me hasten to add that, by no stretch of imagination could I be, considered a poor man; yet, I was never 'stinking' (rich) or 'rolling' (in cash) except, probably when I ate garlic and had an insomniac spell (when I was both stinking and rolling).
And being one who believed that the safest way to double one's money is to fold it over once and put it in one's pocket, I might not make a mint either, barring a windfall, for which I hankered.
It is this itch to be filthy rich that made me dream about some long lost (imaginary) uncle of mine (who might have fled in his teens to Honolulu and prospered by selling, maybe, Chyawanprash) kicking the proverbial bucket, bequeathing me his millions. So, often in the past when the phone rang in the middle of night, I woke up, still groggy from sleep, to pick up the receiver hoping against hope that the call might be from my uncle's solicitors trying to inform me of the legacy.
But the call would turn out to be, say, from a hypochondriac patient of mine wishing to know if he should take the red pill before the green or vice versa. But, no tidings so far either from Honolulu or Timbuktu.
Then, quite frequently I stole into some out-of-the-town lottery shop to buy tickets that promised '10 crores and 5 kg of gold' marketed by M/s Champak Bhumia of Hissar or Rae Bareily. And over the years I have blown a small fortune, having drawn a blank at each draw. And finally, I took up dowsing with the hope that I would be able (literally) to unearth some hidden treasure trove of the Chalukyan era. And all I could gather was a bunch of street urchins hard on my heels booing and jeering, each time I set out with my divining rod.
Recently I saw this ad inserted by some bloke from Jhumri Tilaiya claiming to have invented an electronic device that could detect deeply buried treasures. I shot off a trade enquiry for the gadget.
The response to my enquiry was suspiciously expeditious. "Please send a damned (sic) draft for Rs.5000", wrote the inventor, “allowing for three months' delivery period.” But I held my purse-strings. For, intuitively, I knew that he was a con artist.
At least he taught me a clever scheme through which I could be laughing all the way to the bank. Or roughing it out in the clink.

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