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It’s a Fake Love Letter – Varalotti’s Primer In Calling Someone’s Bluff

Discussion in 'Wednesdays with Varalotti' started by varalotti, May 1, 2007.

  1. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    It’s a Fake Love Letter – Varalotti’s Primer In Calling Someone’s Bluff

    While ‘calling someone’s bluff’ is an activity I love to ingulge in, I am not heartless to hurt people who dole out white lies by the dozen with the sole motive of impressing us. A plain looking woman was telling me the other day, that as she took out the money from where she usually kept it to buy her bus tickets, some college boy standing nearby made a ‘nasty’ comment praising her beauty.

    To recite that here or to even mention about that ‘place’ would be to incur the wrath of my dear moderators. It was clear that it was one huge white lie. But I just let it go. One has to, if one wants to be humane.

    Likewise an elderly friend was talking of his ‘conquests’. Of course you know what I mean. To let that kind of a statement fly by you is social grace. Another friend was boasting about the investment he had made in gold that day.

    And to impress me he reeled out the figures – the quantity of gold purchased and the money invested. By a flash calculation carried on the back of my mind, I knew he was bluffing. Had I asked one question, “What’s today’s price of 22 carat gold, per gram?”, he would have been trapped. But I let it go. After all his lies did not hurt anybody. To let go such lies with an indulgent smile is good manners, to say the least.

    Now that was the caveat. Now let us go into the lesson.

    The year was 1978. A group of us, all in our early 20s were standing near the Railway Station waiting to be picked up by a client’s vehicle. We were all apprenticing in the same CA firm. One of the boys in our group was very handsome. (No, No, I swear it was not me.) And naturally a ladies’ man.

    A good looking woman who was working at a nearby bank branch used to cross us every day. She exchanged ‘very meaningful’ looks with our Mr.Handsome when she went by. This became the hottest gossip in our office.

    Mr.Handsome was very close to me. He told me that he wanted to meet that lady and talk to her. One day Mr.Handsome came dressed in a new dark brown shirt which enhanced his looks.

    A day later H received a letter from that lady. The lady had praised his great looks, especially while wearing that new shirt. The letter ran into two pages. H became nervous. It is a defining moment for a man to know that a girl had fallen for his looks.

    H took me aside and showed me the letter. He sought my advice (of all the people in the world!) as to the next step he should take.

    I wanted to make sure whether the letter was real. I asked him how the hell that bank lady knew our office address. He gave some kind of explanation, about our office being very popular blah blah blah. I read the letter for the 13<sup>th</sup> time and told him in the tone of Sherlock Holmes:

    “H, this letter is a fake. It is not written by that lady.”

    “But how did you find out?”

    “Elementary my dear Watson, elementary. Only you and I and a couple of boys here know that your shirt was new. There is no way she knows that. So if she wanted to praise your shirt, she ought to have written, “You look terrific in that brown shirt.” Not your new shirt. She can never know that the shirt is new unless she knows your entire wardrobe.”

    H was aghast. I continued.

    “Apart from you and me only S and R know that your shirt is new. Now S is too dull to carry out a trick like that. Get hold of R and we will know the truth.”

    When H lifted R by his collar he confessed his crime. The letter was a fake written by him. H was disappointed to say the least. But a greater tragedy was averted.

    So that is the very first lesson: you do not require anything more than an alert state of mind to call someone’s bluff.
     
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  2. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    Let’s see another rule which has stood me in good stead all these years. And has saved me from many a charlatan. When someone tells you that by subscribing to his scheme you will gain millions, the first question you need to ask is, ‘If that’s so, why this man is telling that to me? If I were in his place I will make my millions silently. So what does he gain from this?”

    About ten years back, one of my clients, a leading surgeon of Madurai came to me for counsel. He was building a large nursing home. He had borrowed to the brim. And still wanted more money to buy medical equipments.

    Meanwhile a representative from a charitable organisation approached him with a deal. An international agency had gifted medical equipment worth Rs. 5 lakhs to that organisation. They did not know how to use the equipment. So if the Surgeon was kind enough to spare 10% of the cost, he could have the equipment free. It was a mouth-watering moment for the Surgeon. He wanted me to approve the deal.

    I am allergic to all these ‘non-profit’ organisations. May be it is subjective because of the bitter experiences I had in auditing the accounts of some of them. Many times the accounts are in a worse state than profit-making companies.

    I applied my long standing rule.

    “Doctor, is that guy your brother-in-law?”

    “No. But why do you ask that?”

    “If he is not related to you, why should he give an equipment worth Rs.5 lakhs to you for a mere 50,000?”

    “Well, may be, he likes my service mentality.. may be he has taken an affinity for my project.”

    “Then he could have gifted that equipment to you. Doctor, I honestly do not buy this ********.”

    “So what do you suggest?”

    “Keep a mile away from that crook.”

    “But suppose I pay him Rs.50,000 and get an equipment for Rs. 5,00, 000?”

    “Best of luck.”

    The greedy Doctor paid Rs. 50,000/- and the man walked away with the money. Ten years have gone and the Doctor is still waiting for his equipment.

    When a teak-tree company (you might remember Anubhav, Sterling Tree Magnum) made a presentation at our Rotary Club, I asked a question, “If teak farming is so profitable, why should you wait for our money? You can invest your own money and make that 1000% return you are promising us.”

    The bottom line is that teak-farming is not profitable. But duping people on the pretext of teak farming is. In spite of my open question many business leaders in our club invested money in that company and lost it in no time.

    And there we get the next lesson when you want to call someone’s bluff, you should be indifferent to the gains promised by him. In short Bhagavad Gita’s non-attachment to the promised gains is the right attitude.

    If you are lured by the words of the crook, then no amount of caution can save you. The Nigerian Scandal, the double-money scandal, the high interest scandal – we will see them all, but of course only if you are interested.

    Varalotti
     
  3. chitrajan

    chitrajan Bronze IL'ite

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    Calling Someone’s Bluff

    Dear Sri,

    Thanks for the posting.

    Normally I too show my humane side to white lies. But when it gets unbearable, I tend to get irritated and want to show them their place. Hints are bypassed and I dont want a showdown because these are neighbours or colleagues we meet everyday.

    One important point I should like to impress is that while I am able to stand such affectations from subordinates, it is unbearable from people of my cadre or higher. I wonder what my attitude reflects - a show of indulgence to one set of people and intolerance to another - what does that make me?

    Waiting for the replies from all ILites and of course, senior Sri!
     
  4. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri
    I felt nice being called by Chitra as Senior Sri!
    Sridhar , you have yet again proved your prowess as a skilled writer! What I like in you is your ability to keep your promises.

    Coming to your latest, I fully agree with you about the conmen. They cheat us because we want to get cheated! In my banking days, we always cautioned our customers not to get their attention diverted while dealing with their cash transactions. The conman would just throw a ten rupee note on the ground and tell the cutomer that he had dropped some cash. While the customer bent down to pick it up , the conman would walk away with the customer's cash! Just as simple as that!

    I remember an old Laurel and Hardy movie. I dont remember the name but can never forget one of the scenes of that movie. It goes like this:
    Laurel owes Hardy some money and one day he decides to repay. He goes and sits in front of Hardy with a wad of greenbacks.
    Hardy starts counting it and suddenly Laurel butts in with a comment when Hardy finishishes counting the first ten notes
    "Hi buddy, for 46, I should say you look quite young."
    Hardy draws himself to his full height and says, "Hey I am not 46. I am just 36" and resumes counting the 11th note as 37, 38..!
    A few seconds later, Laurel tells him that he never knew that his door number got changed to 64.
    Hardy snaps back saying his door number has always been 64 and resumes his counting from 65!
    By the time Hardy counts 20 odd notes, he reaches the figure of 100 with these diversionary tactics, shakes hands with Laurel and calls it quits!

    With regard to your first case of your young colleague, I should say that my heart goes to him. Will tell you why.
    I got into SBI as a Probationary Officer at a very young age of 22+ and I was an eligible bachelor too! I always had this obssession that I had as much effect on girls as the Pied Piper on rats! I never stopped imagining that I was setting every heart on fire! Those days there were no computers, no internet, no chatting nothing. But we had an avenue called Penfriendship that endeavoured to bring boys and girls together acoss the country! I was a member in few of such clubs and used to get lots of letters. Every letter that I wrote and received was an epitome of fantasy!
    One day, while I was working in Bangalore Branch, I received a beautiful mail from a local girl called Sumathi. At the beginning itself, she had made it very clear that it had to be strictly a penfriendship and no meetings! I agreed and we started. Hers was a beautiful handwritng that sets me thinking how beautiful its owner must be. It grew stronger and stronger and one day I became bold enough to suggest a meeting. It was agreed that we would meet at the Airline Hotel near St.Marks Road at 5 p.m. on a Saturday.
    Accordingly, on the appointed day, I put on my best dress and practised smiling in front of the mirror from the morning.I was getting feverish with excitement. I prayed to my favourite Ganesha to bless our friendship with longivity and broke two coconuts outside the Temple near the United Breweries! I walked from there to Airline Hotel and got myself a seat in the garden outside the main building . She was taking her time to arrive and I was already blessed twice by the crows perched on the treetop.
    Minutes ticked by but there was no sight of anyone. I had not seen her or her picture before but she had my picture taken specially for her. There was no way she could miss me.

    Suddenly a bunch of colleages turned in and I cursed my fate. My privacy got ruined by these nuts and it made me insane with anger. Just then two of them saw me and came to my table with a big grin. One of them put out his hand and introduced himself as "I am Sumathi!' I could hear the deafening noise of the whole world crumbling around me and of course the guffaws of my colleagues!

    Now you know why my heart goes to your friend. Because I was myself a victim of a prank! Thanks sri for that wonderful post which took me back by 40 years!
    sri (sr)
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2007
  5. chitrajan

    chitrajan Bronze IL'ite

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    Hi Senior Sri,

    I was in Bangalore branch from 1984 to 1992.

    Have we met?

    You have disabled PMs so I am taking the liberty of asking you in the forum itself.

    Sorry!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  6. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Chitra
    We may not have met. I was in charge of Anna Salai Branch (next to LIC) Chennai in 1984. It is a prestigious Branch of SBI with a great potential for ogling!:mrgreen:
    Sri
     
  7. Vandhana

    Vandhana Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Sridhar,


    A very enlightening post for sure. What people will do in the name of entertainment at others expense!!:bangcomp: Sure glad that your friend had you to help him out. I just wish people had more sense , playing pranks on others is okay, as long as it is not hurtful or embarassing to the person involved.
    As for the other incident, here is my experience. In the US, everyday, we get some or the other phone call saying "you have been selected to receive a new benz, or a holiday in hawaii" or some such nonsense.( the good thing about these calls these days is that it is automated, so we can just hang up. previously we used to have live person on the other end who just would not take no for an answer. So it gave me great pleasure to just hang up on them) We even get calls asking for donation to some renowned charitable organisations. It is so difficult to just ward them off. Now a days, it is becoming increasingly difficult to trust people, even if they are genuine.

    Nothing in life comes for free is my policy!!. So am pretty wary of such schemes.

    Vandhana
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    As usual, your article on calling bluff comes with a lot of advice...only too late for me and hubby! Age does that! You have made your mistakes and learnt???:))

    Like Vandhana says, one has to be much more vary in US. If one gets excited about a lower price tag, one can also be sure that the quality is also low! Also, the telemarketers eat your head off. The dish antennae folk take the cake. They promise to bring the world to your TV and they also bring a world of difference to your wallet, it is a whole lot lighter...

    Cheeniya's experience was really cruel. Dear young Sri (happy?), that indeed was a mean act. But Airlines brought memories back, it was a nice place those days, had a play area for kids.

    L, Kamla
     
  9. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    I have a way out for you!

    Dear Chitra,

    You are most welcome.

    You are a very humane person. Actually many people can withstand (of course they have to; they do not have a choice) the affectations of their superiors and not their subordinates.

    Now I have a very simple solution for you. When your superior is doling out white lies to impress you then just bear in mind that he is really not your superior. He is your subordinate who wants to impress you with his 'moments of glory.'
    Now that you have recognised him as your subordinate, it is easier to listen to his bragging.

    regards,
    sridhar
     
  10. varalotti

    varalotti IL Hall of Fame

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    I have the honour, Sri!

    Dear Senior Sri,

    I have the unique honour of my post being replied by a full-fledged thread in itself, in no way less interesting and definitely more humorous and more impressive than my leader post. So, thanks.

    I am very happy that my minus 30 post (that is my talking of something that happened 30 years ago) has prompted you to come with a minus 40 post. Great.

    And whoever it may be, Kamla or Varalotti, Airlines hotel never fails to bring back some sweet memories. The hotel, for me, is a kind of, "Bodhi Tree" . Some four years back while having my breakfast there I saw a beautiful girl smoking. Looked like she was an experienced smoker. The way in which she lit her cigarette, inhaled and then exhaled in style a la our super star - I could not help looking at her without blinking. My friend who has been living in Bangalore for generations had to alert me, "Sridhar, for heavan's sake don't behave like a Mofussil Accountant. Smoking women are as common a sight here as a city bus in your town."

    Even then it took time for me to recover from that shock. As I write these lines the picture of that woman is still fresh in my mind. (My sincere hope, wish and prayer is that Indhu does not read this thread ha ha)

    And Sri, you have talked about your disappointment in love. Let's hear about some success stories as well.

    regars,
    Sri Jr.
     

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