It all began a couple of months ago when to my misfortune; I met Mr. Sondhi at one of his training programs that I was attending. He saw a special spark in me and told me that I had a real promising future as a businessman if I followed his advice. I am a typical middle class man who is always on the lookout for one ‘get rich quick scheme’ or the other, hence saw Mr. Sondhi as a god sent angel to redeem me from my middle class woes. Excited at the prospect of becoming a billionaire, I started pestering him for the advice. He on the other hand, calmly warded off all my attempts to get him to divulge anything. However, after sensing my desperation and dejection, he promised to come to my house that weekend to discuss the plan in detail.
Throughout the week I waited anxiously. Finally my wait got over when I got a call from my dear cherub informing me that I should expect him and a few “like-minded” people over at my place at four in the evening the coming Saturday and that I should ensure that my wife was also available for this meeting. I could not understand the relevance of Seema’s presence for all this but did not question my god-gift lest he got annoyed and cancelled the appointment. Seema works with a BPO and those days was doing the night shifts, returning home only by twelve noon post which she would drop dead like a log and snore away to blissful glory. Nobody could enter her den while she rested unless one would want to be bestowed upon a posthumous gallantry award and become a face in the photo frame with a stale garland on the wall. I knew the rules of the game and under no circumstances was in the mood to cause a loss to my insurers and therefore chose not to inform her at all about the weekend rendezvous.
It seemed like years but finally Saturday arrived. Since the morning I was jumping all over the place excitedly like I used to, on the Christmas Eve when I was young, in anticipation of getting a surprise gift from the Santa. I had made all the preparations for a small get-together without letting Seema get the wind of it. I was dying of anxiety, but the darned clock did not seem to agree with me and appeared to be moving particularly slow on that day, as if jeering at me. After a prolonged wait when finally the clock struck four, I breathed a sigh of relief and anxiously parked myself in the chair which was nearest to the main door as I wanted to open the door before the doorbell’s loud chiming so as to not disturb my sleeping beauty. However, it seemed that my wait was not over yet because nobody came, and it was already half hour past the designated time. On calling up my guest, I got to know that they were further delayed by an hour. “How disgusting is that?” I thought to myself. “Couldn’t they have had the courtesy to inform rather than keeping me wait like this?” I sulked. Since beggars are not choosers, I had no other options but to wait on. They all finally arrived at half past five in the evening but by that time my excitement had already started receding. As I opened the door, I was shocked to see a battery of people queued up outside my door, twenty-four to be precise. They seemed to me like a procession for my funeral as I already felt so dead. Neither had I prepared for so many of them nor did I have enough space to fit them in. Luckily, I had very friendly neighbours who graciously loaned me their furniture, but I felt so embarrassed asking them for the favour, being the introvert that I am. The noise that they all caused created a decibel record in our house. All my requests to maintain silence went unheeded and at last what I dreaded the most happened. The goddess of wrath got disturbed out of her slumber and trickled out of her den in skimpy clothes. Suddenly there was a pin drop silence in the living room with everyone so confused over whether to watch her or turn their eyes away. However, the confusion was more for my tigress I reckoned. The look on her face after seeing all them was worth a million dollars. Initially she had this dazed look on her face, she probably thought that she had slept in the wrong house. Then her expression changed to that of embarrassment when she realized that she would probably become the reason for divorces between the several couples present there because of how the male members were ogling at her. It was the kind of situation where you just want to run away but are too embarrassed to even move a muscle, however she gathered her wits soon and ran back into her den leaving behind a thoroughly stunned and embarrassed audience. It took a while before the silence was rudely broken by the sound of my cell phone. It was dear wifey calling me into her den. As I excused myself from the congregation, I knew how dead I was.
That evening when they all left, I realized that they had consumed four precious hours of my life to explain and convince me of their business model. I felt so disgusted with myself. First, for having not told Seema about the meeting; second, for having been bombarded with so many unexpected people (the least they could have done was to inform me about their numbers to help me prepare better) and third, for having resigned under their pressure and having agreed to join their network business team as a down line to the Sondhi’s. I also found their entire process deceitful. Seema had really given me an earful which I had so much earned. The entire experience was unpleasant. Normally one feels elated with one’s new business but in this case it did not feel right.
Soon the ordeal started. I had thought that I would just sell the products and maybe make some money but ‘The Cult’, my up-line and the team members started building pressure on me to make members under me. They kept pushing me to bring Seema along with me for all our meetings for better success, “I’d rather jump from a skyscraper without a parachute than ask the tigress out for these meetings”, I thought. The pressure was also to organize more meetings with my friends and family members, the kind that they had had at my place. Along with that they wanted me to get hordes of unsuspecting acquaintances for their weekly meetings at the FICCI auditorium so they could be mesmerized into the business but the height of audacity was that the poor folks, my flock had to buy their own tickets to witness this circus…I couldn’t even sponsor them. They would call at least three times a day to check on the progress and reprimand me for the lack of effort being put in, so much so that my boss started looking like a saint in comparison to them. It was getting too much for my self-confidence and nerves. Initially they had said that they don’t push people but help them get prosperous but soon I realized that they were doing exactly the opposite of what they had promised while getting me signed up, simply because it would only work for them if I were to start recruiting people down under me. Very soon it was clear to me that unless I wanted to continue enduring the agony either I could quit or I had to become a part of their cult in the genuine sense; get converted to become a vampire like them, choose my victims carefully, suck their blood dry and then torment them enough to force them to replicate this entire process for their sakes. The more victims I would get, the larger my own cult would become and thereby the lesser would be my agony. This was one business where I would have to focus on reducing my agony more rather than on making money. That seemed to be the only way out. I was so angry with myself for having been so foolishly fallen into their trap and wanted to avenge my entrapment so much that I decided that I would also become brutally ruthless and unashamed like them. My vengeance shall be to spread this disease and make some money out of the entire thing as well. But I couldn’t make money unless I had a team below me, thus began the journey, which had started from getting to know “how to get rich” to learning “how to avoid inconvenience and humiliation”. The hunt had begun, for the befitting candidates. As they say that the first kill is the most difficult but after that it is smooth sailing. However, my situation was not at all that bad because I had the support of all the seasoned hunters. All I had to do was to spot my victim and lure him to them and then let them work upon him to the extent for him to either go crazy or to relent to their plan. After careful evaluation I concluded that to begin with, I had to opt for someone who was a disaster financially but great at concept sales and a people’s person. I would have to convert more of this kind till I had a full-fledged team which would help set me free from the pain.
Rajan was my neighbour who was an apt candidate to begin my devious plan with. He had four children and a wife to take care of in his measly salary of fifty thousand rupees a month. I had also seen credit card recovery agents harassing him which proved that he was really under duress. Whether he was good at selling and with people was something I was not sure of, but those skills were teachable, I thought. I got my opportunity to chat up with him soon as he was getting his car serviced in the same garage that I also happened to be at. I started very carefully lest I scared him off and engaged him in a casual conversation initially before broaching upon the serious pain area. I told him how I was struggling with my finances till I got this great business opportunity which was now yielding results and helping me financially. I also told him how people who were into that business had become multi-millionaires. I was amazed at my newly attained ability, the gift of the gab … how my clan had transformed me in such a small timeframe. Rajan was getting inquisitive; that much I could read on his face but I also had a feeling that if I needed to convert him I had to get him to my clan so that they could grind him a better and then wrap around him like a python, crushing and suffocating the poor victim. I invited him over to my place for a presentation of the business plan. His nod for the same was the first nail in his coffin that he himself had struck in.
Fortunately for me the day Rajan was to come for the meeting my vampires turned up on time, all of them thirsting for his blood. Although, I was nervous as this was my first attempt to kill but I also sensed that I would taste blood that day. It was my confidence in the abilities of my partners in crime, I guess. Should I pity Rajan? Should I save him from the agony? Or should I make him my victim? I had gone through this debate several times, in my head repeatedly during the week but had finally let the demon prevail over me. Hence began the rituals as soon as Rajan arrived. I was getting a sadistic sense of satisfaction as Rajan was going through with process because with this my vengeance program had been launched. After the presentation got over three new recruits immediately and very excitedly agreed to sign up. Later I was told that these guys were planted there to create that psychological effect on Rajan…..there was nothing called ethics for us vampires, I guess. Finally, everyone was looking at my victim for his response. I was also so anxious. Those couple of minutes between the question and the response seemed like hours. Poor Rajan looked absolutely disoriented. Sensing his predicament Mr. Sondhi pounced upon him since it was imperative for all of us to close this deal, more so to boost my confidence and to cement my belief in our cult. Mr. Sondhi suggested him to go to the next room along with him to have a candid discussion as he felt that Rajan may be feeling hesitant speaking his mind out in front of such a lot of people but it was solely his choice to do so. I knew that if he agreed to do so and walked into the room in the next ten seconds he would become one of us suckers and if not then I would lose out on my first victim and would have to restart the entire recruitment cycle again. Rajan was breathing heavily and slowly he started moving. I observed him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath. "Ten, nine, eight, seven ...” Finally seeing him cross over the threshold and enter the other room with Mr. Sondhi following suit was the biggest relief to me. I had full confidence in Mr. sondhi’s ability. They emerged out of the room after about an hour and saw us all waiting with bated breaths for the verdict. As we all saw Mr. Sondhi wrap his arm around Rajan’s shoulders there were celebrations, and everyone welcomed the newest fool into the clan with loud claps and warm handshakes.
This was the beginning of my journey into the world of network marketing where the rules to success are that there are not any rules. Today, two years after this incident I am still struggling, looking for some better “get rich fast” schemes. Rajan, I have no clue of ever since he beat the pulp out of me a year ago for making him a vampire. I guess he wanted his human form back again and also had the courage to fight for it too……something that I only secretly wished but never mustered enough courage to hit Mr. Sondhi maybe because he is physically more stronger than I and hence I never abandoned my vengeance program till date.