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Current Affairs

Sunday afternoon and Vidya was at the parlour. I was watching something nondescript on TV and trying hard to keep awake. The doorbell rang.

I blearily stumbled to the door and opened it to find a small boy, maybe ten or eleven years old, standing outside. He looked up at me and said, “Current?”

“Uhh…?” was all I could manage in response.

“Is current there?” he asked, a tad impatiently.

Now, this was a puzzling question, especially given that the TV was blaring rather loudly from the opposite flat. Then, I reasoned that the boy was probably from a flat directly below ours – maybe the wires ran in a particular way and he had been sent up to find out whether a fuse had blown or whether there was a power outage. Anyway, I wondered why his parents hadn’t just called the colony electrician or the complex office. My sleep-befuddled brain, though not operating very well lineally, seemed to be on a blisteringly lateral path. For a moment I even thought that I was at the receiving end of a typically Tamil joke where one guy calls up another and asks if there is power at his place. When he answers in the affirmative, he is asked to bring along a couple of kilos as there is an outage in the other chap’s house. I know – it sounds better and makes a lot more sense in Tamil. There was no telling what deviltry the little brat was up to. read more

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Return of the Kadi

When we were in school, and later when we were in college, a genre of humour, heavily dependent on puns, homophones, and lateral thinking, flourished. These were the ‘kadi’ (tamil for bite) jokes. A few of us were accomplished masters, while everyone took a stab at it. At its peak, all popular magazines ran ‘kadi’ jokes, with Ananda Vikatan’s Mr. X jokes leading the way. Then slowly, the popularity of kadi jokes waned, and it went into a decline. Of course, die-hard afficionados kept the genre alive, punning away in like-minded company. Today, it seems to be making a comeback, taking the form of ‘Thathuvams,’ forwarded by email and text messages.

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