I have won the lottery, he said. The amount wasn’t a very big one unlike the millions lying in my email inbox, which I’ve won from companies who hire people with very poor English.

This time I had won just 50000 rupees. But every penny has a value, so I wasn’t dejected. He spoke to me with his impeccable persuasive skills, and I completely believed him owing to his good English.

The congratulatory part was followed by the procedure to claim the amount. It was simple. He just told me to give him the details of my bank account. Being skeptical, I asked him if a virtual payment address (VPA, UPI id) would suffice.

After some euphemic reluctance, he agreed to it. The next step was to make an online payment of 2000 rupees to his company’s account. This was the Lottery Claimant Registration Amount (LCRA) which would also validate my VPA for the transfer, he said. Even then, I was really happy to win 48000 rupees.

Then came the time for registration. He texted me his VPA. Everything was fine until my normally-defunct mind came up with a stupid idea. I asked him if he could keep aside 2000 rupees as LCRA and transfer me the remaining 48000 rupees I’ve won. I quickly typed my VPA and was about to touch the send button when he said “No”.

I persuaded, requested, pleaded – in vain. I went to the point of offering him an additional 2000 rupees from the winner’s share. My heart convinced my mind to settle for 46000. But he was a stubborn guy; he wouldn’t agree.

Only after he disconnected the call, I realised – twenty five minutes of my not-so-precious life were wasted on that persuasion. I tried calling him back. I called him seven times. He wasn’t picking up my phone. Now I feared if he would pocket my entire 50000 – a thought which drove me crazy.

I’ve been calling him. My calls aren’t being attended. Meanwhile, I have already had two sleepless nights.

© Barnadhya Rwitam

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