If there's one thing we're very creative about, it's conning people. Recently, at least three people I know of, all of them elderly women who live alone and whose children live abroad, have been visited by a young woman, tall, slim and well-dressed. Whether the same or different women, at least in these three cases, she called herself 'Lipi' and in two cases, she was wearing hijab. Claiming to be a friend of their children's who live in the US and after sharing much family news and gossip, the woman asked for money, whether as a loan or, more often, in exchange for foreign currency. As soon as she had the money, or if she sensed that the people were making calls to cross-check her identity, she left the house with at least Tk. 10,000-15,000 which she extracted from her semi-convinced and overall helpless hosts. The police have been called in some cases but the visits continue. People need to be beware of letting unknown people into their houses because there is more to be lost than money if there is a dangerous stranger in your home. The police should also be on the lookout for members of what is obviously a very organised and effective racket.
Quite a while ago, my friend and I were going home on a rickshaw. The rickshaw puller was groaning in pain while cycling. So we asked him what happened. He told us that he had an operation just the day before and was trying to collect enough money for an expensive injection, which he had to take. When we reached our destination, we gave him as much as we could, since we are students. A few days later, my mother came home relating the exact same story! She also had an encounter with a rickshaw puller who said that he just had an operation done a day before and needed money for an expensive injection. I wonder when this fake method of swindling money from passengers will stop.
Sense of Humour
The other day I went to the Agrani Bank of the Chittagong University branch to open a bank account. The officer there gave me a form to fill up, which I did carefully. As I gave the form back to him, he asked which department I was from. English, I replied pointing to a black space, he asked me to take a signature from the then Chairperson of the department, Mohitul Alam and return early next year. I took the form and left, feeling angry inside. Why would it take a year for a student to open an account at the bank? It was very unfair. However, after a while, I understood the humour. It was in fact December 31st, the last day of the year, which was why the officer was jesting around a bit!
Rifat Munir Eti
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