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I Took Revenge On The Guy Who Duped Me Out Of a Holiday in the Andaman Islands

I turned detective, until the penultimate moment when a teary-eyed mother asked me to forgive her son. I didn't.
Image: Piyusha Gupta

In September last year, my family planned a trip to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. After research on available deals on the internet, I booked a package deal through a travel website: Trip and Talks. It looked legit enough, a portal with umpteen national and international packages, reviews from satisfied customers, a helpline, and dedicated agents to assist us. The promise of ‘world class service’, ‘hand-picked hotels’ and ‘best price guarantee’ sealed the deal.


We had picked the package ‘Amazing Andaman Special’, which cost Rs 60,000 and included everything except flight tickets–namely accommodation in Port Blair and Havelock for seven days, breakfast, sightseeing in a private car, a day at the Baratang Island, and even a complimentary snorkelling session.

As per the instructions of our agent Noor Nisha, I paid an advance of Rs 35,000 through a combination of Paytm and my credit card. Our spirits were high, because we were finally embarking on a long-planned trip.

On the morning of September 23, we landed at Port Blair. There was no promised airport pick-up. When we called Noor Nisha, she requested we get a taxi ourselves, assuring us everything will be fine from then on. The promises turned out to be a lie. At the hotel, there was no booking in our name. After repeated calls, another agent, Rohit, simply told us: “Humse kuch nahi ho paa raha hai, aap apna dekh lo (We are unable to help you. Please do it on your own)."

'Amazing Andaman' didn't go according to the plans. Image: Piyusha Gupta

All of a sudden, we were stranded. My father fought with them on the phone, and eventually we all had to plan out our hotel and stay ourselves. Meanwhile the agent promised a refund within a few weeks. After the initial setback, we proceeded to have a lovely trip. My sister and I were able to customise it, and we ended up visiting more places than our original itinerary.

Of course, there was no refund. Even three months on. Noor Nisha and Rohit stopped taking our calls. They both had pictures of Hanuman as their WhatsApp profile images, so we didn’t know what they looked like.


We considered going to the consumer court, but my father dissuaded us thinking about the lengthy process. So I decided to do my own investigatIon. First I visited their office in Ghaziabad with a friend. We posed as clients. It was small homely place with no partitions, a few tables and chairs, but no posters or files. It didn’t look like the office of a travel agent. Two blank faced boys didn’t even bother to feign any interest in our queries about a trip to Goa. When we insisted to meet the manager, they asked us to call the helpline, and leave the premises immediately. “I am damn sure it’s a fake company,” my friend remarked.

After the initial setback, we proceeded to have a lovely trip. Image: Facebook

We then asked the neighbours, surrounding offices and their landlords about Trips and Talks. “Rent toh time pe dete hai, baaki pata nahi (They give their rent on time. That’s all I know)," the person in charge told us. That’s also when I found out that their real names were different from what they told us. My father asked us to file a FIR at the local police station. At the Kirti Nagar Police station at 3PM , the station guard informed us that we would have to wait as the ‘sahab’ woke up late in winter. So we waited till 7 PM, when a friendly subordinate advised we go to the nearby police chowki, where ‘sahab’ was in a meeting with a few neighbourhood men.

When we reached, the cop was in the middle of a story about a professor, the wife of a senior lawyer. She had filed a FIR against a young gym instructor with whom she had had an affair. He eventually heard us out, and helped us file the complaint. We finally left at 10 PM, with the cop assuring us, “We will pick up the accused whenever we have a vehicle.”


After a week of calls, reminders, and sending screenshot evidence to him on WhatsApp, the policeman called me at 9.30 PM on December 30. “ Ladkon ko pakad rakha hai. Aap aa jao. (The guys are in a lock-up. You need to come here). We can’t keep them in the lock-up for more than 24 hours.”

Trips and Talks made a number of false promises. Image: Piyusha Gupta.

It was an emotional moment. I hadn’t imagined that I would reach a stage where someone would be in a police lock-up because of me. I thanked the cop and requested him to keep them till the next morning.

The next morning, as we waited for the ‘sahab’ outside the police station, we chatted and joked with some locals. I even clicked a few selfies. As soon as he arrived, the cop advised us to be stern and to insist we get refunded the full amount. “They will try to negotiate, but you should act determined at all cost,” he advised.

He then called in the relatives of the locked up men in his room, one at a time. As they sat us, I realised something. One of them was a guy we were chatting with outside! Along with him was a young boy (who claimed to be a helper) and an old woman with tears in her eyes. Her son was among the boys imprisoned for nearly 20 hours. “Please, forgive my boy. I don’t know how we got mixed up in this. Main to achhi maa hi thi. Achhe sanskar diye usse (I'm a good mother. I taught them good morals)."

"I chose to celebrate my New Year’s eve with the thought that I had exacted my revenge on the frauds."

I asked her to return my money, and if they did, I wouldn’t press charges. “I have Rs 25,000 right now and I’ll give the rest later,” she said. “If you don’t understand the sorrow of a mother, who would?” she added. To be honest, it felt more like a forced melodrama than a heartfelt request. I gave her a couple of hours to arrange for the full amount. She talked with the men and the cops. I think I even saw her laughing at one point.

On New Year’s eve, amid people waiting to renew their gun licences and arrange alcohol permits for parties, the cops first gave us Rs 25,000 and then the remaining 10,000. I refused to give the cops ‘their cut’. As we moved out of the station, the ‘sahab’ asked me if I wanted to meet the boys who had been locked up now for nearly a day. I refused. I chose to celebrate my New Year’s eve with the thought that I had exacted my revenge on the frauds who had tried to spoil my much anticipated family holiday.

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