Arre O Sambar: Time to Celebrate the Living-room Housefly (a.k.a. Hall-Ee-Day)

Posted on November 17, 2005


Picture courtesy:


NOV 17, 2005 – CHENNAI HAS BECOME THE new favourite place of travel agencies. People from our city are reportedly packing off in droves to exotic holiday destinations, especially in Europe. At first, I found this a bit hard to believe. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that when someone said “Geneva,” it was assumed he was asking his Anglo-Indian secretary to make an entrance, and references to bullfighting countries were only heard in the context of head-lice. (Q: What is Mediker? A: It’s Spain marundhu.) Besides, we’ve always been more connected to our Asian neighbours, right from the time this lady from Bangkok settled down here, and our forefathers refused to eat tandoori dishes unless she was around. (A famous MGR song beautifully captured this situation: “THAI illaamal NAAN illai…”)

But now, apparently, things are different. People are talking about “Italy” even when there’s no sambar in sight. Consequently, a cottage industry of travel-related books has been created, and booksellers cannot stock enough copies of “Veni Vada Vici: Rome-ba Nalla Irukku” and “Freeze-dried Sambar Saadham: You’ll Never Be Hungary Again.” There are sub-categories too. Thanks to Tam-Brahms, “Yaenna… Come to Vienna” is already in its third reprint, and TAMBRAS is supposedly investigating the legend that the number of Shaivites alighting from Dublin-bound flights is why Iyer-land is called so.

Things have gotten so out of hand, some countries have actually given themselves inhospitable names, hoping to keep us Tamils out – but even Po-land hasn’t deterred our indomitable spirit. Director Shankar, though, is very upset about this development. He has vowed that his next production – a sequel to his recent hit, detailing the travails of Vikram’s elder brother’s wife – will be shot in Japan instead. He’s calling it Anni-yen. Other filmmakers are following suit; they’re taking their units to Africa, which, it is claimed, is the perfect location for picturising a Ghana paattu.

In the middle of all this, a Chennai-based billionaire has gotten into trouble with the South American authorities, trying to illegally buy lands under their jurisdiction. They asked him why, and he replied that his mother had instructed him: “Magane, Peru pugazh vaangi vaa.” But when it comes to North American holidays, there are reportedly no more takers. The explanation given by travel agencies is that we Chennai-ites are too lazy to bother with the extremely tough entry regulations – all those visits to the embassy, all that paperwork, all for one tiny stamp… But I think the real reason is that we’ve heard so many stories about the US from our friends, relatives, neighbours that we feel we’ve already done it all. We came. Visa. We conquered.

Copyright ©2005 The Economic Times – Madras Plus. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

Posted in: Humour