When in Madras aka Chennai

I know it’s a bit too late for the Madras day post but I just couldn’t say no to the friend who said , “Hey I have been waiting for the Madras Day post that you promised. I’m everyday refreshing the blog to check whether I have missed the notification… Please write that post soon”. Ok Ok… Do not raise your eyebrows! Everything about the above statement is true except that the friend mentioned is an imaginary friend and the dialogue…well, I can be a script-writer you see :P
Now that we have established that the post is going to be a Madras day post, what can be told is the next topic to ponder about? I have already talked about growing up in Chennai…It’s the same post that feels like you have landed by mistake in a psychiatric counselling where the doctor gave the lead saying ‘You are now 5 years old… Tell me what do you see’ and thus, this post happened! December rains! Whoa… It was raining posts even after the rain got tired and bid bye.  Appreciations were pouring in from all parts of the world. It felt like a Vikraman movie where all turn out to be good people and you have only happy tears at the end. Oh yeah, add the BGMs!
So today let’s focus on the non-Chennaities for a change. This Madras day post (yeah…it is Madras Day till I post this) is dedicated to the folks who pile up at CMBT/Central/Egmore stations at the start of long weekends. I thought of starting the post saying ‘When in Madras, do as the Machans do’ then it might be misinterpreted as a Namitha centric post. So I immediately crossed that idea off.
So here are few simple tips that can make you blend in with the Chennai makkal (people).
:arrow:Oh Mahaziya! Nakku Mukku Nakka, Oh shakalaka…Oh Randakka!
Yes! Stop doing that! Exactly what you are doing now after reading the heading. Do not ask for subtitles/ translations. That’s the first and foremost tip. The moment you ask for subtitles, you become the white sheep in a herd of black sheep. I accept, we have this habit of quoting dialogues or references from movies…Yeah, trust me! We are movie buffs and everyone can get that spark in a jiffy and can end up telling dialogues applicable to the current situation. So at times, it is good to be Joey! Just nod along. Laugh when they do and go ‘Ooooh’ when they do. You will start playing this game well if you had played ‘Simon says’ game in your school.  After a while you will master the act of reacting correctly and who knows you may even throw one or right words on your own with practice.
:arrow: Anna-tha adararu othikko othikko
Bhaiyyas from the north become the Anna-s at Chennai. Autorickshaw drivers, cab drivers, bus drivers/conductors, shopkeepers, predominantly everyone whom you will refer to as Bhaiyya can be called Anna here. Our people have grown up watching movies like pasamalar ,en thangai kalyani… So they are the pasakara pasanga (affectionate lot) and the word anna can melt them and wipe their eyes… Okay! Enough exaggeration! Let’s be honest! When you use ‘anna’ you can get a polite reply instead of a rude denial. Like the scene below
Sans ‘Anna’
Customer: “Besant Nagar poganum. Auto varuma?” (poganum- should go, varuma- will it come?)
Auto driver: Varadhu Varadhu *without even looking up* (Denies rudely)
Same scene with ‘anna’
Customer: Anna… Besant nagar poganum? Auto varuma ‘na?
Autodriver: Illa ma.. Savari kaga waiting la irukku… Neenga venumna andha vandi la pongalen (instructs his friend’s auto to take up the request)
Additional tip: When you are in auto, act like you know the city. Always ask ‘Anna.. endha route la poga porenga?’ (Which route are you planning to take?) You may have no clue about it, but still keep a straight face and ask ‘One-way illaya ‘na?’ Almost all important routes will have some road marked as one-way…So the auto driver will explain in detail about how he is going to take you to your destination. You may think he is abusing you, but those are just places and road names in Chennai. Don’t panic! Keep calm and open google map!
:arrow: Machi Machi…Too much-u
I know you have this whole idea of getting the lingo right to blend in but too much usage is gonna make you stand out. Rule: You should not start EVERY sentence with Machan and end it with Machan. It’s a big NO…  Just sprinkle the words, Machans and Mamas in your conversation like salt and pepper on soup. Start your conversation with Machan but make sure that you don’t use at least for the next 15 minutes.
:arrow: Danga maari oodhari Puttukuna Nee Naari
Remember to know few words in the local dialect. If there is a moment when you want to say ‘Superb‘, replace it with ‘Geth-u’. Save this *post- promotion-time*. Read it once before breakfast , once after lunch and once before dinner for 2 weeks. People around you would go ‘Ada’ on hearing it but be careful…wrong usage may change it to ‘Cha’.
:arrow: Kaapi Kaapi mere dil mein
At restaurant,
You: Anna…1 Plate Dosa
Waiter: *brings the roasted dosa and places it in front and waits for you*
You: Anna…Can I have a spoon or a fork for dosa?
Entire hotel: Blasphemy!
Ok Mama…Now Scene change-u… Ready 1…2…3
You: Anna…1 Plate Dosa
Waiter: *brings the roasted dosa and places it in front and waits for you*
You: Anna…
Waiter: *expects the blasphemous act*
You: Anna… Can I get an extra Sambhar?
Entire hotel: Adichanda kadasi ball-ah sixer-u!
You are not actually done till you order a filter kaapi. Ordering filter kaapi, in other words, is like asking them for the bill. It will be declared as ‘The End’ to your meal. When you order the famous kaapi, remember to make a specification like ‘Anna… extra decoction’ or ‘Anna… extra sugar’… ‘Anna…extra milk’. Oh yeah! I almost forgot the ‘fractional concepts’. It is called the ‘Nee paadhi naan paadhi kanne’ (You half, me half…kanne is ignored as literal translation is ridiculous) We love fractions when in restaurants. It’s more like reiterating ‘Teacher solli tharala…Shariiiiiing’. So we always say,  ‘Anna…tomato soup 2 by 3’… ‘Anna… Coffee 1 by 2’. Sometimes an empty glass will be brought. So we’ll have to do the divisions , multiplications, subtractions and additions before drinking it.
:arrow: Madras-a sutthi paaka poren
Once you follow all instructions as above, there are high chances that you may be mistaken as a localite. You may be asked suggestions about places. Revise the names of famous locations in Chennai.
Additional tip: When someone asks you for a suggestion to buy something… It is like a litmus test. If you say ‘Phoenix mall’..Gone! Antthe! Kattham! Poyindhi! Your mask will fall out and you will become a foreigner suddenly. Pondy Bazaar/ T Nagar Ranganathan street is the ultimate shopping solution to any shopping related query. When it is electronic items, direct them to ‘Ritchie Street’. You should confidently say ‘Hey go to T Nagar! You will get it easily!’ You want extra points, then add this suggestion ‘He might quote a higher price initially. Don’t pay immediately. Bargain and get it.’
That’s it! You will hear the song in the background ‘Paccha Yellow Pink Thamizhan Naan… Namma thaaikkulathukku naan thaan chellappilla’ You can turn and make a Baasha-walk with colour bombs bursting behind you.
Ah! You can thank me later or even transfer money to my account as a token of your thanks for the free Madras class :P ;)

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