Games Chennaiites play

Chennai is a very sport-loving city. It is a city that has given Wasim Akram and his band of talented criketers in the 90s a standing ovation when the rest of India was busy choosing which brand of mineral water bottle to hurl at fieldsmen stationed in the deep and inventing new, choicy synonyms for Solanum Tuberosum

It’s produced its fair (and brown) share of talented cricketers, some of whom were lucky enough to have donned national colours. Others like Sridharan Sharath, were victims of BCCI’s “Show-middle-finger-at-Domestic-Cricket” policy. And let’s not forget Viswanathan Anand and Narain Karthikeyan.

But this post is not about that kind of sport. This is about the “games” Chennaiites play everyday. All the time. With each other. We take great pride in our ability to concoct games out of day to day mundane activities. Such as,

Game #1 : Autopingpong

The formula is

Passenger: (destination)

Auto: (ridiculously high fare)

Passenger: (walks off)

Auto: Hello. How much will you give?

Passenger: (Ridiculously low fare)

Auto: (Argument #1 – Spiralling price of Petrol)

Passenger: So why has the government installed a meter?

Auto: (Argument #1.1 – Why meters are cruel symbols of the capitalistic bourgeosie out to squeeze every drop of blood from poor Auto drivers)

Passenger: (Ridiculously low fare + 10 Rs)

Auto: (Argument #2 – The “You are rich and you can afford Rs 20 more” plea)

Passenger: (walks off)

Auto: (Argument #3 – The horrible traffic situation) minus Rs 10 from his price

Passenger: (quotes final tolerable price, very close to x+y/2)

Auto: (One final attempt to squeeze Rs 5 more)

Passenger: (walks off)

Auto: Hello. Get in.

If we didn’t play this game, this would have been,

Passenger: Look, I am going to quote a ridiculously low price for the fare (x), and you are going to quote a fare that’s as high as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds(y). So let’s just cut the lengthy discussion out and let’s agree to (x + y)/2

Auto Driver: Ok.

Game #2 : Ponpaarkatennis

This game is played in an arena involving sofas, paais (traditional mats), bajjis and other snacks, and a large number of relatives

The formula is,

Prospective Groom’s relative #1: Can the girl sing?

Girl’s parents: Oh. Yes. She is a double MA in advanced musicology. Sing Alaipayudhe no. She sings it exactly like Shalini in the Mani Ratnam movie.

Prospective Groom’s relative #2: Can the girl dance?

Girl’s parents: Oh. Yes. She is a student of Hema Malini herself. Ennamma, oru bit podu

Girl: (Dances and sings Krishna Nee Begane Baro)

Prospective Groom’s relative #3: Ponnu Enna Padicchirkaa? (Educational qualifications)

Girl’s parents: (rattle off long sequence of alphabets)

Prospective Groom’s relative #4: After marriage, will she leave her job and stay at home? We prefer housewives

Girl’s parents: She is a good, obedient, docile, house-trained girl. She will listen to whatever you say. If you wish her to work, she will do that. If you wish her to stay at home, she will do that. She can cook every cuisine from Mughlai to Thai. She can also solve complex problems in Integral Calculus.

Prospective Groom’s relative #5: We will look at her horoscope and get back to you.

(proceed to finish off all bajjis, pakodas)

If we didn’t play this game, this would have been,

Prospective Groom: Look, let me be very frank. I have an irrational craving for fair-skinned girls, and you are a tad too brown for my taste. I get a huge kick out of everybody I know commenting on how fair and lovely my wife is.

Prospective Bride: Ok. If you think skin colour matters, you dont deserve me in any case. And oh, the bill for the bajjis, pakodas and coffee will be Rs 570 + VAT

Game #3 : Constaball

This game is usually played out on the sides of important roads, preferably under shade, in Chennai.

The formula is

Cop: Hey. stop. Licence show

Person: (shows licence)

Cop: Insurance and papers show

Person: (shows)

Cop: Hmm. Headlight no black paint mark. Fine compulsory

Person: But my headlight is off. It’s daylight

Cop: But tonight coming no? Then you light oning no? Then paint mark needed. 100 rs fine

Person: Saar. just for paintmark?

Cop: No. Where is your helmet?

Person: But helmet not mandatory no?

Cop: Who said? It is, as of today

Person: What? I didnt even know

Cop: Helmet rule changes everytime goverment changes, everytime it rains, everytime the sun rises…

Person: Ok. so how much fine?

Cop: Where do you work?

Person: IT. Software

Cop: So you are well educated no? So how come you not following rules?

Person: Sorry saar.

Cop: See ahead. The sub inspector is there. If he sees you means, Rs 1000 fine.

Person: Oh. Saar. Help me sir

Cop: Sub-inspector very strict. Full Rs 1000 he will extract

Person: Ok. Ok. I got the hint. How much?

Cop: 200 Rs. Careful. Don’t reveal the cash.

If we didn’t play this game, this would have been,

Cop: Saar. I have not met my monthly target saar. If I don’t collect something from you, my boss will anyway take his cut out of my salary. I have 3 daughters saar. All to be married saar. Give whatever you can saar

Violator: (biker forks out Rs 50. Car forks out Rs 200.)

So fellow Chennaiites, Non-Chennaiites and Ex-Chennaiites, you aware of any other interesting games people play?

25 Comments

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  1. Game 2: from hearsay from female coujins who underwent multiple rounds of ponpaarthufying only to be told different versions of “Poil letter podrom” or “we will consult with astrologer” etc. Happens a lot less nowadays, what with “boy-girl meeting in restaurant” etc

  2. my friend got caught talking on her cell phone and driving one time.
    cop: ennamma? rule gottilva?
    friend: sorry saar, nan friend birthday ivatthu. wish maadakke phone maad de.
    cop: oho howda? aa aa fine 500 rupees.
    friend: saar naavu studentu. sorry saar. bitbidi.
    cop: oho student aa? aaythamma, student-discount kodtheeni. 200 rupees kodi
    friend: saar ashtu illa saar.
    cop: 100 rupees last
    friend: i have fifty rupees,
    hands him the money,
    cop waves goodbye.

  3. I don’t proclaim to the whole world (when driving my car) that I can hold a knife legally on a tummy. So, at times, when the cop catches me for some perceived crime, the conversation goes like this:
    Cop: “Let me see your license”
    Me: “Sorry, it got stolen in the Paris Metro last week”.
    Cop: “WHAT? Do you realise what a great crime this is: driving without a license???”
    Me: “Look, Inspector (I know he should be logically addressed as ‘you half-witted dunstable’), I am in a hurry. Let us get over this, shall we?”
    Cop: “Sir, then give me something, as you like, sir!” (saliva slurped back on the way out of the corner of his lips)
    Me: “Look, I told you, my wallet got stolen last week in the Paris Metro, so I am not carrying cash.”
    Cop: “OMIGOD! How can you drive without money? A license I can understand, but no money??”
    Me: “Ok, here is the ten bucks I kept for parking..”
    Cop: “Ten bucks, but saaar, give me something so that I can eat some cheeken at least!”
    Me: “Officer, don’t worry, I will be back next time, and then we will talk!”
    Zoom off…

  4. Another one that can find a mention is between a House Broker and a prospective Bakraaa..

    Broker : Sir, Nice house …excellent view of TIDEL Park, Two bathrooms and 24/7/365/60 water and current.

    Bakraa: Okay where is house??

    Broker: Come , go in auto !

    Bakraa: Boss..u told water would be there..In the house or around the house!

    Broker:Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar.Best house in area.Cheap only 5000 with two months advance.
    Owner living somewhere else.No control..Will make furniture and plumbing for u.

    <contd..

  5. Another one that can find a mention is between a House Broker and a prospective Bakraaa..

    Broker : Sir, Nice house …excellent view of TIDEL Park, Two bathrooms and 24/7/365/60 water and current.

    Bakraa: Okay where is house??

    Broker: Come , go in auto !

    {An auto will be waiting near by. Bargain Process there itself.The house turns out to be one near the train track close to the storm drain.
    Bathrooms exist but dysfunctional and so small that if the guy reaches out to wash his back he would touch the door.Power line is a wire on the 240 KV line}

    Bakraa: Boss..u told water would be there..In the house or around the house!

    Broker:Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar.Best house in area.Cheap only 5000 with two months advance.
    Owner living somewhere else.No control..Will make furniture and plumbing for u.

    <contd..

  6. Intha vishayangaLai patthi ezhuthalaamae. Mannichukkongo, naanae ezhuthuvaen, enna, vaNdi repair, mekkanic-kitte poha veNdiyirukku.

    Pookkaari and thaaikkulam over 2 muzham mallihaippoo.

    katthrikkya vyabari and veshti mama at Mambalam market (near Rly station).

    Nalli Silks salesman and thaaikkulam over pattu pudavai.

    Porter and get downee from Brindavan express.

    uLpaavadai salesfolk and thaaikkulam on Ranganathan theru.

    And so forth..

  7. pon paarthal is more like

    Boy’s parents:We are very modern. ( We don’t
    care if you can’t sing, but 3 months later we will tell the family how our daughter is trained and you are not; how our daughter earns more in youyess and you don’t; how much jewels she took to her husband’s from us and why you don’t prefer imitation jewels that you wear after a fashion ; and how your daughter can cook and wears “jeens” but your daughter in law needs to learn to cook “their family way” and needs to be slimmer to wear “jeens”….

    Boy when alone drinking coffee with Ponnu:Hi, I am a feminist. I am looking for someone who can do what she wants, (is independent to carry out my wishes and take the fire from my mum on her own steam); is simple ( follows my demands and tantrums simply); and is equal ( only in pay and perhaps for the leg over at nights). I can cook too ( The odd coffee I make is meant to make you eternally grateful) and can wear what she pleases ( Only when me and my pals are around for the regular show off routine of I am modern Tam brahm and see how nice I am with her).

    And oh, I insist on paying for the coffee, (rest you and you dad can).

    Boy/His parents: We want simple wedding, waste of money, they can be given money for setting up home/ honeymooning to Pattaya etc ( That is we can proclaim we are modern and don’t want to smell the smoke and question meaningless rituals but don’t expect us to sharing wedding expenses. We told you no, we’ll buy girl sari and pay for the thaali?)

  8. Maami,
    Brilliant ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oemar,Rambodoc
    Thank you

    Satts,
    Nice addition

    Soundar,
    You should let your writing talent loose man, and go for these situations ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Think about this:
    Mr Madras buying jeans and Salesman at Rex

    Peter at Shopper’s Stop and Salesgirl offering to spray wrists bartering over after- shave

    Peter vs Lalitha over presentation to Mr White Boss at Tidel Park boardroom

    Maama and maami over buying flat in Perungudi

    Rouse party and Peter girl at busstop outside Pachaiyyappa college

    Constable and snogging couple on Arundale beachfront

  10. ๐Ÿ™‚ Loved your commentary on game #3 . One line I would expect to hear in the middle of it: “Pant potrikka, (and so) padichchavan maadiri teriyara ? ippadi pannlaama?”

    Some games in the US:
    car salesman and customer
    That $15000 car you saw on the paper? Oh, there was only one in stock, and a guy walked out with it just 30 mins ago. How about this $20000 beauty? What will it take for you to walk out of here with a car? Do you want to walk away from this deal just because of $500? Oh – you are killing me man – I have to talk to my manager!

    auto-mechanic and customer
    While was changing the oil and I noticed that the transmission-belt, brake-pads all need replacing. Can give out anytime – in fact I am surprised you made it this fact. You should’nt be driving this car until this is fixed.

    The well known rumor is that the mechanic plays it differently if customer is a woman. And often they get nailed bad.

    I generally suck at both games – have done well with the first one once out of 3 times. For the second, I don’t even try – I know zilch about cars, and I want to know less. And I have resigned myself to pay the price.

  11. My Cop-game was little different.

    Empty Road
    Accelerates
    Cop in the middle of road
    Stops and hands of keys to cop
    Speed Limit in Chennai decreased to 40 kmph !!! You were going atleast 50 !!!
    Fine .. 400/-
    Take your receipt

  12. Another game I’ve played with extended family and assorted homo mamiens in Chennai:

    Mami: Oh, nee BITSla padichchayaa? Then you should know this guy.

    Me: (Polite disinterest) Who?

    Mami: Reels off a long spiel on how she is related to him. Typically, the common ancestor is either Adam or the ape, depending on which version you believe.

    Me: Who?

    Mami: Begins to reel off an alternative way to link the two, this time involving duck-billed platypi.

    Me: I mean, does this wonderful guy have a name?

    Mami: (Doing the mami equivalent of head-scratching) I know his dad’s name is Krishnamurti. We call him Ambi at home.

    Me: Waiting for this conversation to end

    Mami: Wait I think his school-name was Karthik.

    Me: At any given point in time, there are about 3,567,290 Karthiks in BITS, not counting plants. None of them are know by that name.

    Mami: I don’t know his nickname. Avan adhellam veettula sollaradhu illa.

    Me: Usually, these nicknames aren’t repeatable in mixed company. Such as…

    Mami: Oh, ok. Escaaapes before I elaborate.

    Me: Sigh of relief

    If we didn’t play this game, the exchange would go:

    Mami: Oh, nee BITSla padichchayaa? Then you should know this guy.

    Me: Not a chance. I was a completely anti-social loner when I was in BITS. My hobby used to be setting fire to sleeping dogs’ tails in the middle of the night and running after them shouting various obscenities. I knew nobody there, and didn’t want to. If anyone knew me, they wouldn’t admit to it, even under extreme duress.

    Mami: Not having heard a word of the above, starts reeling off relation.

    Insert the rest of the earlier conversation here.

    I’m looking for a punny name for this game. Ashok, over to you. btw, my vote also goes to “Some orkut, some are bad”.

  13. I have one: the rich Madras maami mock humility game.

    Maami 1: What maami many days not seen?

    M2: yes maami. was a little busy with daughter’s wedding.

    M2: Oh very nice maami. Grandaa?

    M1: Illai maami, we kept it very simple. Just close family in Trident Sheraton followed by a Sanjay Subrahmanian concert by the pool side. You know, people are so bored of the same elaborate ceremonies.

    M2: Aaamam mami, I did the same for my son’s wedding too. Just a couple of sweets catered by a very puuuure traditional cook who has catered for the PM himself. Nothing fancy ma. You know, thats what children want these days

    M1: very true maami. Left to myself I’d only eat thairshaan and wadakkina wendekai, but they forced me to eat all 5 sweets and 17 traditional south Indian main courses at the wedding and Im still getting over it.

    M2: Silvery laughter. I know maami. These kids these days.

  14. Ramsu, Bikerdude
    Brilliant. Maami games are another category altogether. Ill come up with a new post on that and include these masterpieces. Im thinking about “Maamilympics” or “Maaminastics” or “Maamis and Ladders”.

  15. Please don’t forget Mama nomics-

    *Trash anything new except gadgets
    *Trivialise anything young
    *Pious to the point of boredom
    *Decimate any challenge to his notion
    *Denigrate anything female
    *Smug over his qualifications, college, and achievements, monies over the rest of the clan/world (“Avan uzelezz” is the by- word followed by a self-staisfied smirk)

  16. Something similar to Game # 3 happened with me in Pune during my engineering days. But the end was different.

    After asking me to wait for almost an hour, this traffic cop came and explained me the various Charges and Rules ๐Ÿ™‚
    Me: Sir, I have all the documents except NOC. This two wheeler belongs to my sister and she sent it to me just 10 days back.

    Cop: No, NOC is must for other state vehicle in Pune. You must pay 1000Rs fine for that.

    Me: Sir, I am a student. I did nothing wrong. I never ever break any traffic signal. Besides I don’t have 1000Rs.

    Cop: Te kahi mahit nahi (I don’t know anything / I don’t want to listen anything). You pay the fine now or collect your bike from police station tomorrow.

    Me: Sir, I will be late for my mid-term exams. Please let me go.

    Cop: Ok, give me 100rs. This time I will let you go.

    Me: Sir, I got only 20rs. Just now i filled up the petrol for 100rs.

    Cop: forget it. Collect the bike tomorrow.

    Me: Sir, Please sir…

    Cop : Ok, give me 20rs.

    Me: Thanks a lot sir.

    Cop: Hey you, come here. Keep this 10rs. You might need it to eat something in college. Ja abhasya kar (Go, Learn in college)

    Me: I don’t know what to say. Was the COP should be called as Generous ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Friend’s story of Game 3 :

    Constable stops vehicle

    Constable : show license

    Friend : shows license

    constable : where is helmet ? Take the fine 500 rs or so i don rem

    friend : saar.. i don have sir..

    constable: illa illa. i cant agree..

    (Advantage of following news .. )
    friend : saar.. i work at Sathyam.. vellaye inikko nalaikko poga pothu saar.. i have only 20rs..

    constable: sorry thambi.. nee kelambu..

    friend : ESCAPE !

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    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100% positive.
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  20. Not sure if this happens in Chennai,but it does happen a lot in Madurai:
    Scene : >2 riders in a bike
    Police presence detected.
    Riders in excess of 2 alight when police are 10 metres away.
    Said riders walk past police with a tallest-finger-of-the-hand-ish expression on face.
    Those on the bike cross territory under mama’s surveillance.
    Once past hawk eyes of police,co-riders reunite.

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