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Small print victims

Are you a small print victim? I am. Yesterday, I received a letter saying 'Congratulations' emblazoned across the envelope. Inside was this beautifully printed statement telling me I had won $100,000 (Dhs367,000) and now could afford to make my dreams turn into reality. It then went on to tell me how my lucky number had come up and what I must do to collect the winnings and how proud everyone was in the world that I had won. It also gave me the phone number where I could reconfirm my success and said that everyone at their end was delirious about my win. What nice people. My heart began to beat a little faster. There was no catch. No form to fill, even my name and address were correct. They had got my name from some database and the system had thrown it up as a lucky winner.

This looked like the real thing and my dreams sort of began to get a more tangible act together. Ha, I could now look at all our truly rich friends in the eye, change the sofa set and redeem my image so far as my wife was concerned. We would be well off and could say things like let's do the Serengeti safari run this vacation. Only poor people say holiday for vacation.

But the mental photoplay ran out of tape. Because, at the very end of the letter was this single line confession from the signatory that it was one of his dreams to be able to send me such a letter one day and if I was to take part in the global mega lottery by sending $100 without any binding clause or whatever I might one day get such a letter because the odds were only a laughable 1 million to one.

My heart fell back in speed and the dreams dissolved their cement. What a gyp. My life is full of such displays of fond faith and I am forever being taken for a ride. Not so long ago I was told that if I were to write to the top name in the attached list and stick $5 worth of money in the envelope the chain reaction would make for some sort of mathematical rotation which would trigger a cascade of $5 notes in the mail for me and no one ever got anything less than $40,000 dollars.

To back the claim there was this impressive list of historians, scientists, men of letters and celebrities who endorsed the cyclic windfall and explained the algebraic theory behind it and how the pi factor made it all work. Who am I to argue with the pi factor? The only catch was that I should do it now, like don't wait, he who hesitates is lost. Far be it for Vohra to hesitate so I went into my daughters' room where I know the girls keep their 'saved money' for studying abroad and swiped a $5 note promising to give back 18.50 dirhams when they discovered it missing. Then I posted it to the first name on the top and smugly sat back and waited for the avalanche to begin.

A week later not one letter had found its way to my PO Box. Three months later I am still waiting and what is worse, my daughter discovered the missing money and told my wife and my wife said what sort of father chisels money out of his daughter's bag and that was a cheap thing to do and I should be ashamed of myself, imagine. I was imagining. Castles in Capri, a yacht, first class by air, staying at the George Cinq, come on, in my defence, it was worth the risk for $5, it could have worked, what if the cycle had sparked, what if things had started whirring, no one would have bothered about the borrowed money, they would have said what enterprise, what foresight, what vision Vohra showed, what a man, and other wives would have turned to their husbands and said, why can't you be like him? Yes, indeed.

Article by Bikram Vohra
Courtesy: Gulf Today

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