public interest

Duplicate cops ?

The real thing about duplicates is that the duplicates are for real. Oh what a profound statement spouting out of the keyboard on to the monitor. Talk of an inflated chest, right now !!

Duplicates get by because they are so close to the real. In the seamless merging of the real and the duplicate, the gullible fall victim and duplicates live on. Or rather thrive.

‘Duplicate’ has very many names and forms. Counterfeit. Fake. Forged. Decoy. The internet has done its bit, by spawning : ‘copy-paste’ in students lingo firmly. A spot that was held by ‘xeroxing’ a while ago.

lets move on. Enough said that there have been cases of ‘versions’ of sweets, stamps, money, certificates, colas, paints, books and every thing that you could think of. Save the Sun, the Moon and such other imponderables.

Let me leave this here : If you are able to point to a few segments where duplicates are not present, well, I will personally write a letter to the prime minister, urging him to make use of such unmatched cerebral prowess. Original letter that is. Please don’t expect to hear from him though. But ofcourse.

If you find yourself cheated, God forbid, if at all that happens, what do you do ? Being preyed on for wearing your vulnerability on your sleeve as though it was an Armani suit, well, sometimes can have other consequences. As someone who sat through those civics lessons in school, you approach the cops. With a complaint. That’s when action starts.

In Powai, Mumbai there is something interesting happening.

Even before you could rush to the cops to complain, the cops are all over street corners letting you know to beware of duplicates. Beware of duplicate versions of cops themselves! Eh!

The first, time this ad met the eye, it was but natural to dismiss this as a work of a piqued smart alec. It didn’t take long, actually not beyond the next street corner, to realise that smart alec was in no way connected to this. For the next street corner had a similar board. A copy of the first one that is.

What does it take to be a cop ? A whole lot I am sure.

But that’s a wrong question. What does it take to LOOK like a cop? Not too much, perhaps. A crew cut and a burly look will perhaps get you close.

If some ingenuous chap with a crew cut, burly look and accompanying personality accosts you and catches you pants down, speaking to your surreptitious girlfriend, pause my friend and ask for ID. Or whatever. Establish he indeed is a real cop.

A few questions that come to the pea sized brain that nestles in a balding head are these mind are these :

Like who is the home minister? Which station do you come from?

Who is the inspector? Who is the commissioner of police?

Quite obviously, many of you would think of this as a rather juvenile list. Well, thats about what you can get for free.

The Amitabh Bachan KBC baritone is hesitatingly not recommended, for it could provoke thoughts of ‘crores’ at the end of it all, with no mention of lifelines.

The bottomline : Keeping a list of probable questions ( and answers) to test out the veracity of a cop is downright important. If nothing else works, then, asking ‘do you know who I am’ could perhaps be tried.

All these would work, as long as the chap who has accosted you is indeed a ‘duplicate’. If he does happens to be ‘real’ / ‘original’ and you end up asking all these questions with a tanker load of impunity, well, that could get you face to face with a discommoding peril of your life !

Whatever you do, people in Powai and elsewhere, do make sure you device your own means of separating the wheat from the chaff. The real from the duplicate.

Good luck. May the force be with you. The real one, that is.

In public interest !

Pirates. Robbers. Thugs. Mafia dons. Hoodlums. For a normal person, these words would get the adrenalin ready to flow. Either in flight or fight. Movies over the years have heaped on us villainy in such abundance that even the nicest guy in town can be the subject of an average mind’s serious investigation, because of a shuffle of feet or a lurking look!

Whats caused this recollections of the criminal kind.

There was a mail from the Income Tax department which let me know that I was eligible to a tax refund of Rs.40,135/-. Now, the amount, a mail coming in from the IT department and all of that, should have relegated the issue to the status of ‘get real and move on in life’!


Rs.40135/- was a mouthwatering amount. The scenario outlined was so plausible. ‘typing in a letter A instead of G makes your incorrect..’ and that seemed tailor made for types like me. Types that perpetually are in a race to outdo themselves in such stuff. The mail harmlessly had a ‘click here’ sweet spot. Before the mind could say t-h-i-n-k , the finger went ‘click click’ as an embodiment of ‘reflex action’ !

Which lead me to this incredible looking website. Having much congruence to the Income Tax season and innocuously asking me the detail of the bank the refund request must be send to. Before you could say j-i-f-f-y, my fingers were on overdrive, I came face to face with the HDFC login page.

The allure of getting what rightfully belonged to me ( a tax refund is about money that belonged to me), saw some ferocious typing ! The keyboard resonating with spirit ! Midway through, reason reappeared. The fingers paused.

“…..” instead of the usual ‘netbanking’ URL caught my eye. Doubt crept in. The fingers went off the key board as though they were fraught with hot oil ! Realisation dawned that another fluttering presses of a few more keys, I could have been swiped clean of whatever small sums that honour the bank account with their muted presence!

In a short while, colleagues confirmed that it was what they called a phishing attack.

There I sat. With relief plastered all over my face. Realising that I was almost mugged. By someone sitting perhaps languidly infront of a computer screen somewhere ! I was almost mugged by someone who didnt resemble the hoodlum with yellow pants, villainous laugh and a Tata Sumo powered battery of thugs like they show on Tamil movies!

This must have been some wise guy who thought I would cough up my customer ID and password, promising the unthinkable. He sure is a wise guy. Atleast half of one. He almost got me!

So, my bank account remains safe. Atleast so far. Life goes on.

On another note, a dear friend asked me what was the closest that I came to blogging in the ‘interest of the general public’. ‘Socially Responsible blogging’ he emphasised. Almost as an afterthought, he added that he had read several of my posts and made particular mention of “ ‘loo contraptions’ & such other posts of eminence’.

Well, sir, this post is inspired by our conversation. ! In public interest.

On that note people. Beware ! There are many that lurk the net !