I watched this show on PBS; it’s about a pickpocket and whether he’ll go straight or keep on picking pockets, but really about whether he’ll become a police informer and to what degree.  “Completely, arbitrarily, out of nowhere, stop stealing anything from anyone” is never an option.  And “become a major, evil criminal” is probably not either; he keeps mailing people’s wallets back to them.  In their set, or guild, this is the expected thing to do.  They only take the big bills, they don’t bother with cigarette money.  I had to look up the exchange rate, because I have to admit, I didn’t even know what ballpark they were in.  If people are carrying tens of thousands of rupees on them, that’s still some major cash.  The pickpocket said it was like a bucket out of the sea, but if that were true people wouldn’t have started carrying ATM cards.  That was becoming a new frustration for them.

The pickpocket guild offered lots of training.  Things like touching a spot on a wall blindfolded; taking a coin out of water without causing a ripple; slicing open a cloth pocket placed on a piece of fruit without cutting the fruit’s skin.

All the pickpockets talked about doing with the money was seeing movies.  Fifty thousand rupees (that is a lot of cash to be carrying around on you) just meant so many more movies.

Did he really believe the police would pay him more for information than he could make by stealing?  Forever?  How would that work?  Granted he was only 22 but did he really believe that or just want to, pretend to?

What would be some legal jobs you might be good at, if you were a very skilled pickpocket?  More than a pickpocket:  a pretty good teacher of pocket-picking.

Fly tying?

Bomb defusing?

Bobbin lace?