Wednesday, August 6, 2008


It was about 11:00 am. The sun was high and dry. Me and my friend had bunked school.

Now on one such day, my friends dad ran us on an errand to drop off a cheque or something in his office which was in Parry's corner, near the famous Burma Bazaar in Chennai. We successfully dropped of the cheque and were window shopping in the Bazaar when suddenly a middle aged man walked up to us.

Man: 'Ennapa, enna venum ?' {So boys, what do you want ?}
Me: ' Illa, onnum venam.' {No, nothing.}
Man: 'Matter book venuma ?' {Do you want porn magazines ?}
Me: 'Illa venam.' {No.}

[But, being the adolescent kids that were, we were curious nonetheless]

Man: 'Matter CD venuma ?' {Do you want porn CDs ?}
Me: 'Illa venam'.
Friend to me: [Nudging me] 'Dei, CD mattum vangikalama ?' {Shall we buy the CD alone ?}
Me to Friend: 'Dei, summa iru, venam' {Keep quite. No.}
Man: [Who had noticed my friend showing interest] 'Enna venum sollungapa, ellamea inga kedaikum.' {Tell me whatever you want, you get everything here}

[I somehow had the strong feeling that he was trying to rip us off, and hence kept saying no to everything he said]

Me: 'Illa, onnum venma' {No, Nothing.}
Man: 'En kita oru special item iruku, venumna try pannunga, pakareengala ?' {Ok, I have something special, you can try it if you want, want to see ?}
Friend: [Totally curious and before I could say anything]: 'Ennadhu ?' {What is it ?}
Man: 'Special kannadi, pottutu yaraiyachum patheenga..naa dress ea illama theriyum' {Special glasses, if you wear them and look at somebody, you can see them without the clothes}
Friend: [Thoroughly interested by now] 'Enga katunga' {Where ? Show us.}
Man: 'Venum na sollunga, kootitu poi katrean, andha madhiri olagathulaiyea 12 dhan iruku. China la irundhu vandhadhu. Ana romba jakaradhaiya irukanum, inga police prachanaai jaasthi' {If you guys are interested, I'll take you and show you. There are only 12 like it in the whole world. But you have to be very careful, there is too much of police problem here}
Friend: 'Seri, evalo andha kannadi ?' {ok, how much for the glasses ?}

[I was getting all the more tensed by now]

Man: 'ayiram rooba' [1000 rupees.]
Friend to me: [Nudging me again] 'Dei, un kita evalo iruku ?' {How much do you have ?}
Me to Friend: 'Dei, sonna kelu, venam da, en kita oru 100 ruba dhan iruku.' {Listen to me. Don't do this. I only have 100 rupees.}

[He had Rs. 200 with him, but he calculated that we still needed money for the movie and all. He was supposedly clever even then]

Friend to man: 'Enga kita 100 rooba dhan iruku' {We only have 100 rupees}

[The next 2 to 3 minutes was all bargaining, with the man saying that it is imported from China, and is expensive and kept reminding us of all the 'things' we could see, once we had the glasses. Finally much to my resistance, my friend did go ahead and settled down for a bargain of Rs.150]

The man, now asked us to follow him. We both cautiously walked behind him, and all the time, I kept telling my friend that he's trying to cheat us. My friend kept reassuring me that we'll test it before paying him the money. The man constantly kept reminding us about police problems and that we must keep it all hush hush and as quick as possible.

He took us to a dimly lit coffee shop in some corner, which was heavily crowded, found a corner table and seated us. He told us to wait there and left. The next 5 minutes seemed like the longest wait for us. My friend had already started making a list of all the well-endowed girls from our class that we could potentially 'see'.

The man was back with a small white polythene cover in his hand and sat right opposite to us. He gave out instructions that we would all place our hands under the table, and he would place the glasses in my friends hand, while at the same time, I should place the money in his other hand. Then, we all would get up quietly and walk out and on our way.

The transaction happened, the money and the glasses changed hands. My only focus was not to get ripped off, so I insisted that we test it.

We walked out of the coffee shop, and my friend more than hurriedly took the object out of the polythene cover, which was further wrapped in a small brown paper cover and as my friend tried to remove it from the brown paper cover, the man started getting all worked up saying, not here, take it away, it's risky and that we could get all of us into trouble.

While I was stubborn that we made sure that it worked before letting the man go, he make a big ruckus saying, you guys are difficult to convince, here, take your money and go. Saying this he gave the money back to me, and grabbed the glasses back from my friends hand.

My friend was thoroughly disappointed. Any amount of further talking, would get us nowhere. He seemed thoroughly annoyed with us. He however demanded we pay him Rs. 20. When asked why ? He said we had wasted his precious time and that we must pay him.

We had to with the 20 and managed to get away and were finally on a bus on our way to Mount road and my friend seemed a bit upset.

Me: 'Dei, paravala vidu da. {It's ok dude, } Imagine if was a fake, we would've lost 150 bucks'
Friend: 'Poda. Adhu mattum vela senjirundhuna, {Get lost. If only it had worked,} I would have seen all the actresses on TV...'
[After a small pause and in a hushed tone]
Friend: '....naked ! '

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