I had wanted to give the girl the benefit of the doubt that she was just young, naive and misguided by her mother but it now seems that the whole family is corrupt to the core.
There is one man here who runs a local internet cafe/travel centre and he gave me a couple of heads up about this situation while I was still in the investigation stage. He himself has a good business and helps to sponsor some local kids. Today we went together to the girls home.
The girl is continually asking me for the statement back and I was slightly concerned that there may be some kind of local gang involved who might come looking for me if I didn't. I had initially been intending to keep it as protection against any extortion attempts.
The internet guy, Murugan, assured me that there is no local mafia or anything like that and there is nothing to worry about. We went there together, at a time arranged with the girl, and I was glad to see there were no hench men just the family and a couple of cows.
To cut a long story short Murugan won their confidence and got them talking. There is absolutely no genuine remorse, just more bullshit stories trying to cover their tracks and acting all innocent. They even tried to explain it all as a misunderstanding and asked if I can still give them money.
Talking in their local language, as Murugan informed me later, their contempt for what they perceive as rich stupid foreigners is thinly veiled and in their annoyance that I wasn't handing over the statement like they wanted, and in their pride and arrogance that I might think they are mere beggars, the old woman (who I had assumed was grannie but they called auntie) let slip that they actually own the land they are living on, and therefore are not the impoverished serfs they made themselves out to be.
Just continuous lies, deceit, attempted manipulations, feigned helplessness and story telling. Murugan also reckoned that they owned the plush a/c taxi that had been sitting there for a couple of weeks and that the mother (who he thought might actually be the girls older sister) is a small scale prostitute to a handful of local men. I'm not quite sure how he figured that last one out but he certainly seems to be pretty clued into how things work around here.
The latest thing is the girl sent me a text saying how very sorry she is, that I am her best friend and she needs my friendship. Friends like that I can do without. It's difficult to fathom how they can live like this and somehow think it is normal and okay. I have no doubt that they have been laughing at me and pouring their derision upon me all along and I've half a mind to turn the girl in to the college complete with the forged document.
However I probably won't because I can't think what kind of a monster it would help to create if she were thrown out of college and prosecuted. At least if she finishes her education she has a chance of getting a reasonable job and of going straight. On the other hand, India is full of corrupt people in all kinds of high places. Corruption seems endemic to India in this day and age and so these people are far from being unique even in this small place. The other reason for not doing it is that this is a place I am likely to return to many times and so I don't want to bring down a vendetta upon myself.
So what to say? What an eye opener. This place is full of human cockroaches, vermin and mosquitos. I am shocked and stunned. At the same time there are many dignified and good people here. It would be handy to be able to see aura's or something sometimes so one could more easily tell the difference. The 'mother' I found a bit manipulative from early on but the girl had me fooled good and proper.