A man just came to the door. Said he was registering “everybody’s” name for polio. I told him Nisarga’s name. He said he wanted mine. Mine? What for? He handed me a register. It had a list of names of various women from our building with amounts next to them.
So I asked him, what were the amounts. He said they were donations for poor people to get polio. Now polio dose is free in India. They even monitor kids in each locality and physically come and verify if you have given or not and administer “home delivery” for free. So this donation drive for polio raised alarms.
I asked him what he meant by compulsory donations? He said he was taking names of everyone, and the donation amount could be whatever we wanted. But compulsory. WTF?
Pretending that Nisarga needed my attention, I came inside and tried to call cops. Line busy. Tried for quite a while. Line busy. Gave up, came out. Asked him for information about his organization. He gave me some laminated papers, which I promptly took photos of, with my mobile.
Shree Anath Bal Seva Ashram, run by Rashtriya Samajseva Bahu-uddeshya Sanstha in Nagpur – was the name on the laminated handout he showed me, along with a copy of their receipt. Both things anyone can print out and laminate. A Certificate of Registration he showed me was a crumpled piece of paper which looked more like a random printout than any official document, but I don’t know what official documents looked like.
He didn’t like me clicking pics. He asked me why? He will give me a receipt. I pretended to be a big shot social worker with the power to get him a big donation, but first I would have to verify the information. Pretending to call my “social work organization” I called the cops again. Again no go.
So I told him there must be some problem with the lines in my office and to return tomorrow. He said that would be a problem. He could come next month. I said fine, I would figure out if and how much I would donate then.
I immediately tried calling the number on that receipt, line busy.
So here I am, putting it up. Whether this was a genuine fund raising effort, or it was a scam, at least ten names from our building paid a minimum of hundred rupees, and it seems without asking any questions at all.