Murree is a beggars paradise. Most of them have a more hands on approach to begging than the common brand of ’de de na’ people. These people are trained professionals and have evolved various new techniques.
A dangerously retarded baba and cheap bubblegums, after the jump.
They have made a gum, especially for the beggars in murree to sell. I don’t know what it’s called and I don’t care. But its wrapping is brightly colored, which, to me, says: “Eat me and wake up without a liver.” Needless to say, demand is low. So the beggars think of new ways to make it sell. They literally throw the gum in your lap. They’ll say: “Take it. It’s free”. And they’ll leave.
Two minutes later they’ll come back and say: “10 rupees for the gum.” And it works. The bewildered victim, who is by now already onto his second stick of gum has no other choice but to pay up. I could go on about their gum selling techniques, but I won’t.
Tag Team Begging
One new method, which I call tag team begging, involves two seemingly unrelated people working in conjunction to scare people out of their money.
Unfortunately I have first hand experience of this. I was walking on the road and I felt someone grab my arm. It was a small bald man, dressed in a bright green shalwar kameez, and doing a very credible impression of a dangerously retarded person. Credible enough to scare the shit out of me. I tried to get him to let go but I couldn’t. As if things weren’t bad enough, a fat, dirty woman to my right started screaming: “Give baba what he wants. There’s no telling what he’ll do when he’s angry.”
That was enough for me. It didn’t look like baba was after my money. I pushed (sort of punched actually) the green man aside and ran far away. But the event left me deeply traumatized and I kept looking over my shoulder for the entire time I was in Murree.
Basically, if you’re going to Murree, don’t go near the small bald man sitting at the bottom of mall road. And I wouldn’t recommend trying the gum either.