This article belongs to Sweet Grace column.


       The world has been always on a ‘trend change' mode for centuries.  Such changes don't come about overnight but in small doses over a period of time.


           Several new trends in the past in  India, my country, have been always positive, such as  film making  techniques or entertainment or railway travels or  our young  Indian women changing over to different types of attires including the western variety. These have taken shape and are operative now.


          Once upon a time, it was difficult to sight a thief on the road or come across a cheat. But these days, it is just the opposite.  So much so, I have started viewing  every stranger who comes to me for selling anything,  as a conman  of the highest order.


         The cheating art has raised its head  on the internet as well.  I see so many Ads, which ask for a small sum like $2.95 for putting you in touch with potential online  employers whereof one can earn 2000  - 3000 dollars every week or buying their package at a concessional rate [$145 reduced to 49.5] for earning  around $25,000 a week .  Having been bitten a couple of times, I have become more cautious now.  I also used to wonder how much these  dishonest advertisers would be earning in a day.  My guess is around $10,000 a day because there are millions of internet browsing  nin-compoops like me these days.  A  good  business, don't you think?  And  for all that, the internet itself is free !!  All you need to know is how to create an attractive website.  The strangest thing is, such internet charlatans  are from the  well to do richest countries of the world.


         Some 3 weeks back, I received an e-mail announcing that I have won $3.01 million in  3 separate  lotteries. Whow !  What a sum?  My head went into a spin and my heart galloped at speed surpassing that of sound.  They wanted me to submit my claim quickly.  It's only some days later it came to light that  all they wanted was a petty  sum of $19.50 as ‘service charges'.  Luckily I didn't have a credit card for foreign transaction .As days rolled by, I became wiser. But thank God, I saved a sum of $19.50


          These days almost every week a message appears on my screen announcing that I am the lucky winner of millions of Euros or dollars or British pounds.  My heart  has stopped dancing at these news items.   Once or twice, I did submit my claim  as per their format.  The lottery runner then referred me to some lawyer who had the control of the funds.  I did approach the benevolent barrister as well.  He gave an authority letter to a bank authorizing payment of the prize amount. When I approached the bank, they confirmed that the money was available for depositing in my account but I have to pay some $3000  to activate that wonderful account.  Imagine 3000 dollars to open an account. In my country I could open an account in any bank for $10. So, why 3000? A warning bell rang inside me. The advertiser wanted just 3000 dollars so that he could go out of sight.  It's not easy to catch an  internet imposter.


       In this case, I took no action whatever.    Then came a reminder from the same barrister.  I asked him in plain English, "What if you vanish out of sight after getting my 3000 dollars as activation charges?  What guarantee do I have?  There was no response. The barrister must have realized that I have found his modus operandi. 


           I am unable to understand what type of pleasure the senders get by sending fake messages?  Had I received these mails on the April Fool's day, I would have appreciated the joke. But, it now appears that for some people any day is  an April Fool's day.


           In conclusion,  may I  caution all my readers not to fall for  gullible talks  and sweet messages on the internet  Read  them for your pleasure and do nothing more.  You would enjoy reading them too because they are written in excellent  and attractive English and you would  perhaps give full marks for their style.  That's all.  Don't take a step farther.  Take anything with a pinch of salt especially if  they ask you for money.  I believe this duping technology is likely to remain in vogue for quite some time.

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                                                               Israel Jayakaran [sweet grace]