Chandoo Khopramal, a day-jobber, and a regular customer of the Ghaseeta Idli Shop, makes it at dinner to meet with his fellow-worker, Pisoo Ghantaram.
They make home in Dharavi, one of Asia’s largest slums, in Mumbai, where his 100 sq. ft. shanty costs $5 a month in rent.
Ghaseeta Idli is also their opportunity to watch television.
It was only yesterday that he saw the report that Karl Lagerfeld, who was described as a famous clothes designer, had died in Paris leaving his $200 million fortune in the name of his cat, Choupette.
Khopramal saw an opportunity, and although, he could have worked another couple of extra hours, he made it to Ghaseeta so he could discuss his grand plan with Ghantaram.
As soon as they set their idli-laden banana leaves on the rickety table, whose original red linoleum had gone to pink and now seemed some shade of brown, that Khopramal began to unfurl his grand plan. He was sure that if he could find a right call center, the $200 million was his… indeed his birthright.
Even before, Pisoo could take his first bite of the hot sambar-soaked idli, Khopramal stopped him in his tracks, to unfold his genius project, asking, “Pisoo, do you remember what we saw on this television yesterday? Do you remember the report that man in Paris has left his 200 million dollars to his cat?
“I know all this belongs to me because my mother always told me that my grandmother… her mother, will be reincarnated as a cat. My mother used to tell me that her mother always used a perfume called ‘Evening in Paris’. This is why grandmother has been reincarnated as a French cat.”
Ghantaram interrupts him here, “Chandoo, even before you think about this you will need to go to Paris, where you will need to hire a lawyer to press your claim. Where will you find all this money?”
Khopramal has it all mapped out, “Pisso, tomorrow, I am going to Chor Bazaar [Mumbai’s used things market located in Bendi Bazaar] to find an empty bottle or two of ‘Evening in Paris’. It was discontinued in 1969. But this is Mumbai. Better still, if I can find a bottle of its French version labeled ‘Soir de Paris’.
“Pisso, remember what I told you just now? My grandmother, who was a user of this Soir de Paris, has now been reincarnated as the cat that has been left with 200 million dollars by Mr. Karl.
“You know, Chandoo, once you throw those mythical terms, all these western people develop a strange respect for you.
“No. Chandoo, I don’t need a lawyer. I am contacting a few call centers…”
An astounded Ghantaram interrupts, “Pisso, what do call centers have to do with your claim on this cat’s funds?”
An excited Khopramal, shares, “Yes, you heard it right. I am going to use call centers. Don’t you remember that till last year, our Indian call centers made millions of dollars posing as agents of IRS… the American tax department?
“Chandoo you agree that the American and European people will believe anything that even has a splash of Hindu mythology.
“The way it will go is that my selected call center will call all the people connected to Mr. Karl and tell them that the cat… I mean, they will mention her name, Choupette, is really the reincarnation of an Indian lady, whose rightful heir is her only grandchild, Chandoo Khopramal of Dharvi, Mumbai, India, so this $200 million should be deposited in his account forthwith!
“Pisso, you may recall that the television news reader was mentioning some man called Mr. Brad [Kroenig, a male model] who will take charge of this rich lady cat.
“You will see, my hired call centers will drive Mr. Brad against the wall and I will have they money in my bank.
“If a call center based in Thane [on the outskirts of Mumbai] can make more than 15,000 Americans pay them hundreds of millions of dollars, then what is this Mr. Brad before my call center!
My dear Pisso, we will win. Pisso, be ready for your share of the pot of gold. Long live India. Our India is the land of scammers.”