(Disclaimer: This Post is Strictly for those above 18+ years. It contains Bad Language, Graphic description of Body Parts and oh all the usual stuff I write about…)
I was at a stand up comedy show last night (By Evam at Museum Theatre, Egmore)which was advertised widely as a “no-holds-barred” adults only show and as Chennai’s responsible, first and only xxx blogger, how could I miss something on my area of expertise? So I was there to review the show for its adult content and it didn’t disappoint me (much) for this was after all conservative Chennai, where you don’t speak such things in public, let alone on stage or else you become typecast as “that” guy whose blog you read secretly in the night, when no one is looking, but you cannot give the link (the URL) to anyone else for fear that they might think you read “that” stuff.
Well anyway, leaving the personal stuff aside, to come back to the show, there was a segment by Karthik Kumar where he expounded on the use of the word “Otha” and saying that the use of the word fearlessly aloud signified the place where you felt most comfortable. To illustrate he shouted the word “Otha” a half a dozen times on stage to show he was most at home on-stage. And this is where I felt like interrupting him to correct his pronounciation. Karthik is a great actor, a nice performer as a stand-up artiste and all, but by no stretch of imagination is he a native user of tamil bad language. You can pretend to be all you want on stage, but unless you are an authentic everyday user you are apt to be caught out by the native speakers. It’s as bad as all those heaving bosom Hindi heroines coming to Chennai and saying “Vannakkam Chennai” in what they hope is a correct cheenaye sultry voice and all the guys go wolf-whistling and clapping for the artificial boobs and not for the artificial accent. For the only fake things we guys can tolerate without complaint are boobs.
Anyway, as any native of namma madras would have told Karthik, you don’t use “otha” in the singular. Its not like “madarchod or behenchod” which has all the meanings in one word. Otha on the other hand is always coupled with its pre-fix “Adang”. Properly used it should be proununced as something this way “Adan G otha” although it is written down as “Adang and Otha”. This is the way its spoken from the bylanes of Mylapore to the gullies of George town to the sandhus of Chintadripet. If you fail to pronounce it the right way, then it shows you are using it just for “shocking” effect like children use it sometimes at their parents and not as part of your usual repertoire of spoken language. In that case you either require a crash course in the use of spoken tameel, for which you can apply for my 30 days correspondence course in my institute of abuse or you can learn it by yourself on the streets from any auto driver by making a counter offer to him of 1/8th his asking price for a savari and get a short encapsulated training workshop on the use of tamil bad words starting with the perennial favorite “savugiraki”..
Anyway, the real interesting thing happened after the show got over. I was introduced by my friend Ashwini to a guy, who she described to me as a “Twitter Celebrity” although what exactly the qualifications are for becoming a celebrity on twitter was never mentioned, I looked on the guy with interest- as my first example of the species. And then he did a shocking thing. When I put out my hand to shake his “hand”, he shockingly tried to give me a hug. I am not joking, neither am I lying, for I have witnesses and all. Since when did men start hugging men in madras? Now don’t think that I am homo-phobic and all, for I am not. I always support gay rights and coming out of cupboards and I keep advising my so-and so friends to stop playing for both teams and tell straight off in public who they are supporting; is it sania mirza or suresh raina? And so I was shocked by the way this Local Tea Party guy moved forward to hug me. Me of all people. Do I look huggable? I hadn’t even shaved that day to graze cheeks with or airkiss. The trauma of that event will definitely require at least six months of therapy before I can get within handshaking distance of any other twitter celebrity again.
But the point of this post is, is it allowable in Chennai? What happened to our local madras spirit. Where if two guys meet at a street corner we stand there two feet apart and say “hi machan” “dei mama”..followed by a friendly half an hour of blessed silence, looking with silent appreciation at girls and aunties passing us by and broken by occasional “dei mama” and “dei machi” gestures; until at the end of the half an hour of standing together we say “bye machi” “bye mama” and go away and then send each other text messages saying “that was fun dude, we should probably do it again soon”. That’s the extent we men of Chennai go to in our fraandship with other guys. But a hug and an air kiss? That’s too pretentious for native Chennai folks.
Speaking of pretentious there was this guy who told me recently that he was multi-talented and a multi-tasker and I told him (quite emphatically) that though a multi-tasker is any guy who can jerk off with both hands at once, to be accepted universally as a true muti-talented personality, you need to be able to bend down and give yourself head as well. If you didn’t get the joke, you are probably too young to be reading my blog. So go tell this to your father/mother/brother and ask them to explain this joke to you.
Well coming back to this premise of this post, we Chennai men are pretty conservative when it comes to guy on guy (inter)actions. Despite what they show on tamil filums we never eat from the same plate, sleep on the same mat etc. The most we do, of course only in an acute emergency, like where we are left with one quarter bottle and four water packets and nothing to mix with, is to share the one disposable tumbler (begged/borrowed) all around, but that’s all. That’s the extent of the man-bro thing we do here in Chennai. And we will not be caught dead on the streets of madras city hugging another man. We would rather hug a wall poster of Namitha/Nayanthara (after shooing away the cow trying to eat up the juicy parts) than descend to such depths of depravity.
For aren’t we men of Chennai, the macho men of the south? Bangalore might have its party peeps, Hyderabad its software geeks, Chennai has its own “Nenjula Manja Soru” men who will not tolerate any air-kissing from other men. Or holding hands. Or hugging. Or wearing colour co-ordinated T-shirts. Or saying “otha” in a constipated whisper and patting ourselves on the back for at last being brave enough to speak bad words. And things like that. We are like that only. Sorry boss. As I explained to the Local tea Party Twitter Celebrity guy, or atleast tried to explain, for by then he was off hugging and airkisising others- males/females indiscriminately and I wasn’t sure he heard me off “sorry Boss, in Chennai we don’t hug on the first date”. That is if you are a having curly hair on the chest, true blood madrasi. I rest my case.