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From Ghana with manna

Dear Mr Bannerman, Your e-mail, which landed in my spam folder this morning, was like a Usain Bolt from the blue. I had to tell my wife to bite me twice to be doubly sure that I wasn’t dreaming. She took the task rather seriously (my arm’s hurting like hell), but I’ll carry on because there’s just tooooo much at stake. Vikramdeep Johal writes.

punjab Updated: Sep 22, 2013 11:18 IST
Vikramdeep Johal

Dear Mr Bannerman, Your e-mail, which landed in my spam folder this morning, was like a Usain Bolt from the blue. I had to tell my wife to bite me twice to be doubly sure that I wasn’t dreaming. She took the task rather seriously (my arm’s hurting like hell), but I’ll carry on because there’s just tooooo much at stake.


So, your mail tells me that you represent a group of three top government officials in the African republic of Ghana and want to ‘evacuate’ US$120 million of obviously Black money (pardon the pun). Of all the people in the world, you need my help to stash the sum, for which I’ll retain 25% of it. My calculator says that my share would be $30 million, or roughly ` 2000000000 (is that ` 200 crore???). For somebody who has never won more than ` 10 in a lottery, that’s an astronomical windfall. No wonder my head is spinning the Ambanian way.

I wonder why you chose me, an ordinary, salaried, taxable Indian. You could have picked any corrupt Hindustani politician or bureaucrat, who have ample experience of such shady deals, but I guess you wanted an upright specimen. Well, my honesty has to be seen to be believed. I never take more than 50 printouts daily from the office printer. I duly get my scooter insurance done once every four years. And I pay my taxes the moment I get a notice from the authorities.

My skeptical wife thinks that you are an online conman, not some John Bannerman but a ‘shudh desi’ operating from Delhi, Mumbai or Bengaluru. I tell her, in your own words, that this deal is 100% risk-free, but she doesn’t understand (I also tell her that I don’t have three girlfriends, but she doesn’t believe me). Just don’t bother about her. She’ll surely change her opinion once the dollars start pouring in.

I’m so relieved that you are not a “penniless journalist trapped in a hotel in an African/South American country where a civil war has broken out”. I occasionally get such pseudo-SOS mails, seeking urgent financial aid. Yes, I’m a good Samaritan, but I’m also too smart to fall for such claptrap.

Mr Bannerman, feel free to use my bank account, which usually goes empty after the 10th of every month (middle-class blues, you see). Now that we are business pals, I cordially invite you to India. Ours is a land that loves music and dance. Believe me, right now I can hear drums (we call them dhols) being played outside my house. And I bet you won’t be able to help shaking a leg to the beats.

Yours truly, Aam Aadmi
PS: You are most welcome to invite us to Ghana on a sponsored holiday. We are quite desperate to get out of the KasauliShimla-Chail tourist triangle. ———

Respected Mr Aadmi,
Thanks for your prompt response. We are all set for the deal, but you will have to pay a nominal sum of $1,000 as processing and handling fee. Kindly send the money as soon as possible.

Regards, John Bannerman

Dear Mr Bannerman,
The drums I was telling you about were actually being played by people from the municipal corporation. I’ve consistently defaulted on my house tax and they had come to recover hefty arrears. Frankly speaking, I’m in the soup. How about giving me an advance? After all, it’s not every day that you’ll find a clean Indian, who doesn’t even know the spelling of corrupshun.

Yours most truly
Aam Aadmi