Fraud Sparks at Tulsi Pipe Tuesday, 14 April, 2009Posted by ~uh~™ in General Advice Humour.
Tags: alert, alternator, awareness, car, fraud, mechanic, road, sparks, tulsi pipe
Some Quick Gyan before you read:
1. When there is a spark, its always enlightening (even at the cost of something).
2. You may not be a fool, but you are never smart enough.
For those who don’t have time/ patience to read the whole article-
There’s a new gang of fraud operating in Mumbai to replace working electrical parts of a car by using scientific tricks & taking advantage of ignorant owners, driving old cars.
Others, read on for details-
This is a true story.
After a punishing 5 days outstation stay, I returned on Sunday afternoon & I found myself on Mumbai road, again on Monday, longing for the comfort of my bed, which I left without enough sleep.
After having a dark bluish Monday at office, I left for home at around 7:30 pm. My pool-partner have switched job I had to drive alone everyday. Driving or traveling alone is extremely boring & the best option is to sleep or read, if one is not driving. I felt like a sleepy cockroach, while crawling bumper to bumper with the slow moving traffic on the Tulsi-pipe road2 . I wondered whether cockroaches sleep & if not, how do they manage to keep themselves awake? Do they talk to each other? Are there cockroach philosophers too?
Just when I was about to conclude my cockroach theory, I saw someone trying to draw my attention towards my car frontage. I ignored the youngish guy, thinking he would be one of those Monday evening- drunkards. I utter an abuse & keep crawling.
This time one more guy on my left passes & tells me something while pointing at the bonnet. He was quite animated & even thumped my bonnet. This time I get a bit concerned, thinking I might be having a flat tyre or maybe something more dangerous.
Now, people who have traveled in Tulsi pipe road during peak hours may know what it takes to change lanes. I was just near Matunga Station & there was no place to park. Still I put the hazard blinkers on & pull the car aside on the left & stop, ignoring the honking. The guy came running with gesture, which translates “come out & see what happened”. I switch of the engine & come out of the car. I realized my car is actually occupying 1/3rd of the road i.e. the extreme left lane & all vehicles had to dodge my car, creating a bottleneck. Meantime the guy, a young chap may be in his 20s, says that he has noticed “sparks” underneath the bonnet through the front ventilators.
Sparks coming out from a 2 month old Esteem is absurd. Seeing the sparks from outside is further unbelievable. I get pissed off & thought of ignoring the whole thing. But he insisted that he has heard loud noises & I should check out if there’s anything wrong. Clouds of doubts get intensified in my mind.
He is right, may be, I thought. I have to drive 25 more kms, so better check it. I get back in the car & pull the bonnet lever. The guy opened the bonnet & leaned inside. Apparently all the parts looked quire normal, no smoke or burning smell was found. The guy asked me to start the car & pointed to one coil on the left hand side. Hesitant, I start the car & to my horror I see blue & yellow sparks around the same coil!
I immediately turn the engine off. The guy asks me if he can get an electrician, he claimed to know one nearby. I looked at him. Mumbai is infamous for its rude & indifferent attitude. People don’t even bother if someone dies on the road, & this guy is so helpful? There must be something black in the lentil soup1 . I get very cautious & check my wallet, keep the car key in pocket etc. Within seconds the first guy brings another young chap, 20 something who he declared as the “mechanic” who was “just leaving after closing his shop”. A car mechanic, in my view should be lean & thin, would wear a khaki army like fatigue, full of grease & his hands should resemble spanner & pliers.
Now, that second guy looked far from being a mechanic. He was lean alright, but he was wearing clean clothes. By that time I was sure that it’s some kind of prank/ fraud though I was still trying to solve the unexplainable sparks, which I saw myself.
The ‘mechanic’ gave his verdict after inspection ‘the alternator is short’. ‘Achha?’ I exclaimed, though I was confident by then that neither it was the alternator, nor he was mechanic. On my asking for solution he prescribed ‘Change of Alternator coil at the cost of 3500-4000’. Clearly I am not going to believe this pseudo, I thought. But I needed to get out of the situation to drive back home safely. My car is new & under warranty, I said, next day, I would show it to Maruti Service center. I offered him a recompense for his diagnosis. To my surprise he asked for a fifty. Normally in such cases in Mumbai mechanics don’t charge anything. He was still fiddling with wires in the bonnet. Fearing he might do some serious damage I gave the money to him. As a parting advice he told me not to turn on the SC or stereo, as the ‘short alternator’ may not take the load.
After the guys left, I restarted the car & could not see any spark. Still, to be on the safe side I drove w/o running the AC & stereo.
It was then I discovered it’s extremely lethargic to drive w/o AC & music on polluted Mumbai roads. By the time I reached near Airport I was feeling drowsy & intoxicated. I was actually struggling to keep my eyes open. I did not have the option to smoke, no water to sprinkle. The slower I was getting the drowsier I went. In Andheri flyover my eyes actually got closed for a fraction of a second, as I realized I am swerving leftwards & the cars behind honking to wake me up. Gosh! That was a close save.
I don’t remember the rest of my journey back home but I reached alive.
Next day I went to the Service center & asked them to check the electrical wiring & explained the spark. What I understand from them is as follows-
1. This is a fraud by an organized gang & draws the attention of the driver by repeated attempts.
2. They use some kind of chemical’ jelly which creates such sparks.
3. So far my service center alone has received 150-200 such cases & many fell prey by changing the alternator coils.
4. Cases have been reported from Chembur, Ghatkopar, Thane, Lower Parel etc. Other cities may have similar cases too.
I could have forgotten that I was almost fooled & the 50 bucks I donated.
Alternatively, I can write this to let people know. I hope people read it, share it with friends & spread the word as fast as possible. Next time the gang tries to fraud; hopefully they will get a kick in the butt.
So, spread the word please.
1. Daal mein kaala, I meant.
2. Official name- Senapati Bapat Marg