Aapko Hindi aati hai?

There is this group of scamsters in Chennai that try to trick North Indians and Central Indians. These conmen, conwomen and con-children roam the streets of Chennai looking for Hindi speaking people. If they spot you talking in hindi, they’ll stop you and tell you that they are a family from Maharashtra and were traveling to Tirupati when their luggage was stolen and now they don’t have any money to return to their hometown. These guys, they hunt in packs of three – Man, woman and child. They’ll then do some major emotional blackmail on how ‘ek hindi bolne wala hi hindi bolne wale ki madad kar sakta hai’. They’ll tell you how people here don’t understand hindi and are not helping.

I ran into this group on two occasions.

I was walking to work one afternoon when one such group caught me off-guard on the way to Tidel Park(their usual route I think).  I was talking to mom on the phone when this guy stopped me and narrated his story. Being #foreverpoor that I am, I didn’t have any cash with me. Not even a coin. All I had were some Sodexo coupons. I offered this guy the coupons and told him that I can take him to a police station if he wants. The family wanted money and I had neither money nor the time so I dismissed the negotiations and walked away. After barely two minutes, another such group stopped me. I asked them if they were related and as usual(since I had no money and another person started abusing them in tamil) I fled the scene.

All the way back to office, I kept thinking whether these guys were genuine and whether I should have gone the distance and helped them. Later that day I got to know that this group and this exercise is very common and thanks to my credit card bills, I didn’t lose any money to these scamsters(because I am busy losing money to this bloody bank and its evil credit card).

Today, as I was walking to work, a man from another such group stopped me. He asked me the same question, with the same tinge of desperation in his voice.

‘Bhaiya, aapko hindi aati hai?’


‘Nahi, bhaiya. Bilkul nahi aati’, I replied.

And I walked away.