Some thoughts after the event - The event in question is my getting pick-pocketed in the Dasara Procession on Monday. It's really funny when I think of it. There I was right next to the Dasara Elephants trying to follow the procession when all of a sudden I get pushed in the direction of the procession and the whole line of people start pushing me in that direction. This goes on for about 5 minutes. When finally this human train stops, I realize that my wallet is missing. So was the entire human train part of the gang? Was this all a conspiracy to get to my wallet. :-) If it was, it was really innovative and so much of effort to get to one wallet or was there multi-tasking going on.
Some other things that come to mind are:
They can't be doing it alone. Maybe if not the entire human train, atleast 5-6 of them involved in pushing the train along and in and around the bakra are part of the gang. And maybe there is inter-gang co-operation and give and take. You help me with this bakra and I'll help you with the next.
They can't be small in number. Like I mentioned in my previous posting, seeing the number of cases reported in that one station on that one single day, my guess is that all pick-pockets from all over India descend on the target destination - whether it is a Kumbh Mela, Dasara Procession, Ganapathi Immersion on the Mumbai Beaches in droves. Maybe they have a Calendar where they work two or three times a month and enjoy for the rest of the month with the loot.
How do they target the bakras? Obviously people who flaunt their expensive belongings are inviting trouble. People who act like they are scared of getting robbed actually end up getting robbed. You keep feeling your back pocket and pretty soon, you won't find anything there one of those times. Some one else has decided to help you out of your pain. :-) One guy who lost 70K on Monday in Mysore was supposed to be carrying it in his Bermuda Shorts and is supposed to have been feeling it constantly (according to the COP at Lashkar Police Station in Mysore).
How do they decide their next destination? During normal times, although pick-pocketing has picked up in and around Bangalore - it is much more risky for them. They need to find secluded spots like dark lanes without streetlights and people walking alone late at night. After all that has been reported in the newspaper every day, people have just become more careful. So the safer bet is to make the month's loot in a day during Melas and Processions.
Here's a list of Do's and Don'ts:
* Do not carry more than is necessary on you. If you are not driving, leave your DL behind. This is not like in the US, where you are supposed to have an ID on you at all times.
* Do not put all your valuables in one pocket if you are going to go into the procession or any sort of crowd.
* Do not move valuables from one pocket to another in public. All this should be done in your room before you head out. I made the mistake of moving my purse from my back pocket to my front pocket because I'd felt someone feel my back pocket earlier in the day.
* Don't flaunt your valuables - Gold, Fat Wallet, Cameras, Cellphone, etc thus inviting trouble.
* Try as far as possible not to walk out alone whether it is late at night on dark alleys or in crowds / processions / melas. You better suspect trouble if people start pushing you around.
* Do not carry wallets in Back Pockets in a crowd. I know in my case, the guys were too skilled and I had way too many things in my front pocket, the top most thing being my wallet. :(
Enough of my sob story, eh? Come to think of it, I don't feel so bad after having come out with my learnings from the loss. Now, let's spread this message across to all friends and family so that they are more careful the next time they go into a procession or a Mela. Here ends my good deed for the day. :)