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Tag: experience

Oxford scammer (?)

I have previously shared my encounters with scammers and con-men on the street, trying to get money or other stuffs, but mainly money. These posts are filled under the tag scam.

In general I would skip and ignore such things. Though I would seldom give such people asking for money a chance. This time it was in Oxford, England.

Within my brief stay at Oxford of around a week, random people asked me for small changes, 25p , 50p etc. I do not know how the city works, and if it is normal (I don’t think so), therefore I see this as a tapping method to see where is your wallet. Later, an accomplice of will carry out the main task.

I met a guy in Oxford who was originally from my city. It was our last day and we went to a good place to have dinner. After dinner we walked towards Balliol College where we were staying. It was around 9pm. Suddenly a frail young British woman (assuming from the strong accent) approached me and asked for some money. She looked helpless. Her story was she has to take a bus to meet her mother, and she doesn’t have money. I did what I do in my city, kept on walking without even slowing down. I had no intension to give any money to this woman.

Suddenly this guy, who was with me, stopped and told me “hey what do you say, should we help her?”, I told “ofcourse not!”. We talked within ourselves in a different language than English.

As the guy stopped, I also had to stop. Now the woman stood in front of me with her hands together, and she was crying. She told even if I don’t want to give her money, I can buy her a bus ticket. I told my man “let’s go!”. I think he just felt really bad for the woman. It’s not his fault, he is a kind person, I felt bad as well. As I have explained in my previous posts, not everytime we could go with the benefit of doubt.

He reached for his wallet and I stopped him immediately. I handed the woman whatever coins I had in my pocket, should be around 2 to 3 Pounds. Then she asked for some more from my man, as this is not enough for the bus fare. I just asked this guy to walk away from her. He was like, “maybe it is not enough …” and took out his wallet and got her a few more pounds, while a staggering amount of cash peeking out of his wallet.

I tried to get him out of this as quickly as possible. Finally we were out. She went somewhere.

Now, it’s not a big deal, as always, to give a few Pounds or Euros or tens or a hundred Rupees, but as far as I know this is one of the basic scams. Maybe she’ll get a drink or something else, or maybe she’ll buy food, or maybe she’ll really take a bus and meet her mother.

As I have mentioned before in the previous posts, most of these, in fact, almost all of these are scams, but there is always a chance of a genuine case.

It is important to keep an eye open for people in genuine need.

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Strong Winds

Last day I needed to go for an appointment early in the morning, but, I would have been happier if I didn’t have to go, as I did not sleep well a few days. Also, when I woke up, the predictions were the winds might go upto 60 Kilometers per hour. I had to get up.

Last night the predictions were not that severe, so I left the windproof jacket hanging on my desk’s chair. Therefore I went out with whatever I had to reach my desk to to get the outer shell from the chair. Also, I left with just my sandals last night, so I got my shoes as well, which was under my desk.

It was truly very windy. I am not a very heavy person, possibly the lightest person within my age-group. Still, people were performing Michael Jackson moves due to the wind, and sometimes being pushed backwards as the wind was too strong to beat and go forward. At a point, I couldn’t just proceed and had to hide behind a wall for a minute, before pushing through the wind again.

There was another problem, the wind was so strong the rain was hitting the people almost horizontally. The estimated feel was around -2 degree Celsius at that time, so it was not that enjoyable. I needed to get to the bus stop and then get a bus. My trousers were all wet till that time. Fortunately I had a track pant kind of stuff underneath  which was still dry.

After that, the cloud cover started to move and such a surreal scene was revealed. Therefore the picture, while still struggling to stand due to the wind.

Afterwards, the weather fluctuated like crazy. For example, it was raining when I got into the bathroom, when I came out it was bright sun without any trace of rain. That’s not surprising, given the country.

Here is another picture when the cloud cover removed and while I was waiting for the bus.

Helium balloons

Someone retired today, so there was a farewell gathering. After everything happened the helium balloons were still there at the break out area.

There were quite a few balloons tied to a weight. I was thinking if I could attach something light enough, so that the balloons float, and do not move up or down, it would be fun.

Someone else had this idea too. As he was doing exactly the same thing. I joined him. After quite some time, we were able to get a decent weight with a spoon and a few pieces of paper, that it floated, well, kind of. There were a lot of air flow through the vents, but the balance looked cool and it was real fun. We reattached the heavier weight and left it as it was before.

Sometime later, we thought why not inhale the Helium and have fun? The fun is, if you inhale Helium, and then speak, your voice will change and will have a higher pitch. It will sound like Donald duck.

Another guy was passing by, he joined us. So we took one balloon and started taking rounds inhaling the Helium and speaking. It sounded hilarious. Although the voice will change only while the Helium is inside the lung.

It was real fun to try these stuffs. Also, all these just from a Helium balloon.

Memory lost

I previously posted that I accidentally vacuumed up a microSD card. Then I put it in a safe location. I thought it was safe until last week, when I inserted the card in my mobile phone.

After a day, I found that the taxi hailing application is not working as it is installed in the microSD card. It can happen in case the filesystem of the card was corrupt, or sometimes it might need a manual registration (mount) from the settings. When I tried to do it, the option was disabled, as if there is no microSD card installed. Then I restarted the phone. No use.

Now to see what exactly is happening. Therefore I now checked how many disks are present in the system at hardware level (kind of). For the technical people, I used fdisk. There was only two disks showing, the SSD and the HDD of my laptop. This is when I became concerned. This was a hardware fault, or the data channel of the cable is severed somehow.

I checked some internal details from the operating system (Linux), and came to know that the mobile phone was detected and initialized. That is when I was sure there was something really wrong with either the card or the slot, physically.  Trouble.  So I investigated further. Read the rest of this entry »

The trusted (?) taxi

This happened a long time ago, more than a year ago. I reached Bengaluru airport at around 12:00 am or around such time. I wanted to immediately reach my room and try getting some sleep before the next working day starts.

Although at that time there would be no traffic, but I did not want to push through the airport bus crowd. Therefore I took a taxi. These airport taxis are very good and you pay whatever it is on the meter, along with a receipt.

I got into the taxi and told the destination. It is around 40 kilometers from the airport, therefore it is time to relax for around an hour. Nothing to do except occasionally check if we are taking the correct turns, although these guys follows google maps, and always follows the direction which was discussed before boarding the taxi, or whatever you tell.

After I got down, I gave him two 500 Rupees note. The fare is generally on the range of 800 ~ 900 Rupees. At that day too, the bill was around 800 Rupees, as far as I remember.

He told me that he does not have enough notes to give me the balance change. This kind of situation is very common to trick the passenger to not give the money back. Many people won’t spend the time and effort to make change and just let the driver keep the money. Or, it can also be the case that the driver really has no change, a pretty viable situation.

I did not have change either. I called a person in my apartment and asked him to keep some 100 Rupees note ready. Then I told the taxi person to wait here or come with me and I will give him the exact fare. He replied that he cannot leave the car as there was no parking, and he will not let me go without paying. Fair enough. Read the rest of this entry »

Vacuuming up memory

Yesterday I was cleaning the house as normal. I didn’t get much sleep last night, so I was not fully awake while I was cleaning the house before going for work. I finished the kitchen, the hall, the living room,, and at last at my room.

There is a red coloured rag in my room which can collect some real good dirt. But, a SanDisk micro SD card also has a red and black colour!

I was cleaning my room, and there was a piece of paper on the rag. I moved the vacuum brush on it. But! As I started to move the brush on it, inside my mind,, my reaction was:   “Shit!!!” . I knew that it was my un-backedup microSD card! Muscle memory moved my arm and sucked in the card. *Clicketly clickety clik clickety clieck”.

Shit!! I powered off the Hoover. Opened the device, took off the bag.  Damn! It was  fortunate that I noticed that my microSD card, which fell out of my wallet was sucked into the vacuum cleaner device, but there is a difficult task ahead.

I was completely exhausted and very sleepy, therefore I searched for new bags in the store. There was none. That means, I cannot cut the bag with a pair or scissors, but have to dig every bit out. Therefore I started to dig every bit out. This was a painful 45 minutes task, which involved pulling whatever was in the vacuum cleaner bag and check it in detail if there was a microSD card somewhere.

I emptied the bag. No sign  of the microSD card. I went through the trash manually (which was mostly carpet fiber and dog hair), still no sign.

When the bag was empty, for the last chance, i shook the bag violently (as I couldn’t cut the bag), and ….. miracle. The microSD card appeared !!!

Relief !

It’s now in a more secure place 😀

 

Mixer taps

Mixer tap temperature control is a version of tuning a radio for an AM radio station, and trying to get the best audio quality. The only difference is that where you get penalised if you do a mistake if you make a mistake with the taps. I am sure everyone knows about this fact and sometimes it can be a little bit annoying when planning to take a really long shower.

There are essentially four types of such devices to mix hot and cold water I have encountered, which are as follows.

  • Two different taps, one for hot and one for cold, commonly found in old houses in the UK.
  • Two separate taps,one controlling the hot water flow another the cold but has one tap nozzle.
  • Those taps where the vertical position of the tap head extension is neutral, and right is for cold and left is for right (or the opposite).
  • The electronic ones which has a constant temperature water, which is often good enough, along with the electrically heated showers with electronic temperature controller.

My issue is for the showers only, because the water is pouring all over you. If it is cold, it feels like a shock, if it hot, it feels like fire. I have mostly used the ones with the two separate taps to tune the proper temperature of the water while taking a shower. This is a science to keep the temperature at a constant value. Also if you make a setup the fist day, it may not work the next day, as the temperature of the hot water may not be the same as the last day.

The process goes something like this, first make sure the water is heated for enough time so it really hot. Next, open the hot water tap and let the cold water in the pipe drain out. Next try to find the comfortable temperature by adjusting the tap for cold water. It sounds easy, and it is easy, but there are some challenges.

Once you are in the shower for some time, the temperature of the water may change. It can start to become colder, or warmer, depending on the temperature of the hot water, or a breeze from somewhere (a slightly open window). Then you reach for one of the taps, and this is tricky. The setting is delicate. You have to rotate the tap knob, but the rotation should be so minuscule that you should not feel that it has rotated. If you have rotated a bit too much, it can end up freezing you or burning you. When I tell burn, it is literal. Therefore, at that time, it requires focus, and a very delicate series of very minuscule rotations of the taps to get the right temperature. Read the rest of this entry »

Bank scam call

Here is yet another scam, I experienced a couple of months ago.

I arrived at Bangalore a couple of months ago and unblocked my phone number which I blocked before leaving. I was trying to take some good amount of rest, as I was really tired, as this time cabin baggage weighed more than the check in luggage, half a kilo more, (I was expecting a fine, but it was okay for them), and it was a long flight. I was sleeping like dead. The mobile phone rang. I just unblocked the phone and it is strange to get calls, maybe some friend who knew I have arrived, just trying out the number? The screen showed an unknown strange number, which is not those recognisable support center, sales or call center phone number patterns. I received the call.

“Hello sir, we are calling in regard to your bank debit card.”, the woman said something like that. I replied “hm.”, as that was the most I could speak at that moment. “Sir, your bank account will be soon blocked as there is no sufficient funds in your account … do you want to keep debit card or cancel it?”.  It took a few seconds to fully open my eyes, and actually wake up to function. I sat on the bed, put on my spectacles and asked her, “I didn’t get you, can you repeat that for me please?” . She repeated the previous statement with in a more elaborate fashion. I told,”I don’t want it to be blocked.”. Next, she asked something like this, “Sir you need to give the card number to us to do the processing and update your card to stop it being disabled.”. Read the rest of this entry »

Blown in the wind

I was going home at a very cold and windy night. Technically it was morning though. The temperature plummeted below zero, the strong wind and the very light drizzle made it unimaginably cold for me. Therefore before leaving my desk, I put enough layers on me. It’s a three and a half kilometer walk.

That day I also wore a pair of gloves. While on the way I took a few pictures of a nearby landmark, which I do almost every night. Though the gloves came with metal mesh on the finger tips of the index finger and the thumb, but as everyone knows, operating anything with the gloves on is clumsy. Therefore I took off the glove from my right hand and kept in the left pocket of the jacket, as the right one already had a music player in it.

After taking a couple of picture, and started walking while flicking through the album and put the phone in my pocket, and then continued to walk. Instead of putting on the glove, I proceeded to walk. After quite some time, when my hand start to become cold, I reached for the glove on the right pocket, but it seemed to be not there! Read the rest of this entry »

Benefit of doubt

I was waiting for the underground train, around a year ago at my home city. While waiting for the train to arrive, I was thinking something. Suddenly a man approached me.

He was short, dark, and much elder than me. He was wearing old  trousers and an unstuckd shirt, both of which looked very old and faded too. He had a certain type of necklace made out of a certain type of beads, and a red Tilak on his forehead, which indicated he possibly is some kind of a devotee to a specific goddess.

He told me that he was in a trouble, and he was new in the city and lives far from here in a rural area in our state. His accent also indicated he was from that region of the state. Then he asked me if I can help him somehow. He was very polite and gentle.

I would most of the time just absolutely ignore such things, given the number of scams going on (both outside and inside). Sometimes I offer them to help my taking them to the nearest police assistance center. Although, a very few times I do go with the situation and actually believe that the other person is true. For example here Frauds in the city.

This time I decided, okay he may be new here and wanted directions or whatever, because I have seen people from different places coming first time in this city and getting lost (they will typically have no smart phones, so no GPS and stuff). Sometimes some people will one piece of paper with an address written on it. Next the man asked me if I could give 7.50 Rupees for the bus ride from where he will get down, as he lost his purse. Read the rest of this entry »