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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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A “Literary” Aside

Jassie Gift (or is it Kay Kay) screaming “IR-ettu pallukkaari” before being drowned out by others shouting “randakka randakka” is definitely not something that you would imagine as continuing a classical Tamil tradition. Yet, strangely, it is.

This is A. K. Ramanujam’s “translation” of Kuruntokai 119, from here.

What He Said

As a little white snake
with lovely stripes on its young body
troubles the jungle elephant
this slip of a girl
her teeth like sprouts of new rice
her wrists stacked with bangles
troubles me. read more

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