An Almost Magical Evening

After much convincing (and some mild threatening/fit-throwing) I had dragged my family to the Chennai Sangamam in Venkatanarayana Road on th...

After much convincing (and some mild threatening/fit-throwing) I had dragged my family to the Chennai Sangamam in Venkatanarayana Road on the 13th. To cut a long story short, it was brilliant, something that one doesn't see too often in the city. It was probably the closest that one back home can get to an authentic Village Thiruvizha. The crowd however, was extremely large and my mother immediately began fretting - Kozhandhellaam kaanampona enna aardhu? Yaaravadhu kidnap pannita? (what if one of the kids get lost? or get kidnapped?) to which my father, like always, had a reply - "Yevan kidnap pannaporan unoda pasangala? Apdiye panninaalum avan rendu naalula bondi aayiduvan. In case tholanju pona..." (who's going to kidnap your brats? Even if someone did, he'd become broke in a couple of days. In case they get lost...")
"Tholanju pona?"I interrupted. "Oru kudumba paatu vechukalaama? Na tholanju pona edathulerndhu paadren, vandhu kandupudipeengalaa? Ilena oru dollar-a renda odachu..." (Get lost? Shall we have a family song? If I get lost, I'll sing it from one end, will you find me? Or shall we split a pendant into two....) 
"I was going to say I'd  call you on your cellphones, but andha kudumbapaatu idea pudichirku. Edhavadhu TR paatu set pannikalaam!"

However, before we could actually decide upon a family tune, the sound of drums beating blasted our ears, the evening had begun. The performances were something none of us had seen anywhere, except maybe in Ramaraj's Karagattakaaran movies. What was amazing was the continuity of the performances, how they followed one another in an extremely smooth flow, we just didn't have any time to look away from all the colour. 
There was this one particular performance of Dappankoothu which was noteworthy. Upon further investigation, turned out these gentlemen were from the very prestigious TASMAC school of dance. However, the performance had to be cut short since one of their key dancers (and singer) had the sudden urge to run towards the nearest dustbin and stick his head in. Which was a pity, because they were extremely entertaining. 
At around 9.30 pm, we had to leave since my sister was really really hungry and when she is really really hungry, she tends to snap at people and talk like a rhino with a stomach disease. Hence we had to cut our little field trip short and head towards a restaurant nearby since the queue at the food stalls looked like it'd take next Pongal for us to get anything to eat.
On our way back, there was a line of Jakkamas (Fortune Tellers, usually old women). I had always always wanted to get my hand read by a Jakkama. Even my sick-rhino-sounding sister was intrigued. The Jakkama took my hand and let a deep sigh, in an attempt to sound mysterious and all-knowing and took my right hand. 
"Unoda raasikku..."she began. "Aayisu getti....padippu, velai elaam nalla varum, pannathukku korachalle illa..." She looked at my face for a minute and continued "Amma appa sella ponnu ma nee....Mangalam on vazhila vardhu.....Ameriga-la settle aava ma..amma appa sandooosama irupaanga" she finished with a special flourish on the sandoooooosam. 
(For your sign, long life...education, work will be good, you have always been spoiled by your parents,  auspices are coming your way, you'll get settled in the US, your mom and dad will be verrrrrry happy) 
My father, who was standing next to me hearing the whole thing with a rather amused look on his face,  quietly handed a 20 Rs note to me to give her, which I dutifully did. 
As we walked back to the restaurant, I was still on my good-prediction high. What disturbed me was that my father still had this cheshire cat grin spread on his face, which was quite undutiful-fatherly since he was supposed to be happy in a non cheshire cat way if his daughter had a good prediction.  
"Nalla vishayam dhaan sonna la? Apdi enna sirippu unakku?
(She said nice things right? What's the grin for?) 
"Nee paakala?"
(Didn't you notice?)
"Enna paakala?"
(Notice what?)
"Ava frauddu di. Ponnungalakku left hand dhaan paakanum, ava baatukku thapaana kai-ya paathundu edho olarina, nee vera adha nambitta. Mothathilla 20 Rs donation."    
(She's a fraud. For women, you have to see the left hand. She just said something and you believed it. On the whole 20 bucks donation)
Like I said, an almost magical evening.

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23 comments

  1. LOL :D

    America vandhudu, Chutney! :D same time zone le tweet panla!

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  2. LOL! acho.. now I want my hand to be read too! hehe

    Sounds like a fun time, wish I'd known much earlier, I'd have made a trip :)

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  3. Nalla kaalam porakkudu...Nalla kaalam porakkudu...Jakkamma sollara...

    Ne semma loosu ma....aaana ada vuda periya fraudu ma...CA aayi Satyam maari Infosysayum aaka idea kuduththu jaillukku poga pora...onakku erumai maadu color-la ombadhu maari oruththan jail-le ye kedappan...avanoda sendhu Puzhal jail-la irundu Central jail-lukku poi angaye settle aaga pora....

    Jakkamma sollra...

    :D

    PS: Jakkamma recommends "Naalai namadhe...." as family song.

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  4. ok I can't stop asking this, did you have your backpack with you even then?

    It would be so funny to imagine!

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  5. @max: Did you even have to ask the question?

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  6. LOL!!!!! I also love to get fortune tellers to see my hand .... you shud've gone back and spent 20 more and have her read your left hand :P

    Prashanti

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  7. LOL!!!!! I also love to get fortune tellers to see my hand .... you shud've gone back and spent 20 more and have her read your left hand :P
    and ya Happy Pongal :)

    Prashanti

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  8. aaah now i know where are get your 'humor bone' from! :--)
    Your father also comedian eh. :--D

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  9. hahahaha, PKS madri, onnaku adhe thiruvizha la kalyanam aagi, 40 pasanga porapanga, avan avan, naa america ponun nu azhuvan, nee kanda kanda consulate vasala queue la ninnunde kadapa :p

    Idhu saabam mari therila la? :p

    LOL @ backpack. You are like those nerdy IITians ah? who would be roaming around the rock concert in Saarang with backpacks!!

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  10. ROFL!!! Howwu? Howwu? How do things like this happen to you all the time!

    PS: Once a fortune-teller told me I'd have two wives! Go figure!!

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  11. ahaha. never tried jakamma. but kili josiyam we did. at that malgudi theme in hotel savera.fun it was. does loopt work in India? it'd be easier to locate.. if you get kidnapped.:D

    lol@ Idling jakamma

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  12. Ayayayaiii... hard luck on that! :D

    Love the post. Again.:)

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  13. US aa?
    vaango vaango!

    PS: apparently Ill be murdered by my wife. :-s

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  14. new to ur blog...

    eppadiyum, north side-laa ponnu na, right hand thaan papaarnga... so maybe jakkamma did the right thing? :D

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  15. I was at the same place on the same evening clicking some good photographs.. It was truly fantastic! While there were lot of percussion in the streets, there were some really interesting things happening inside the Natesan Park. There was this troupe that performed in the movie "Paruthiveeran" that performed all the kuthu songs inside the park.. That was fun too...

    And tonight its Sivamani performing with the rest in the elliots beach.. :).. Chennai Sangamam Rocks!

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  16. Delurking for the first time to say..I was there tooo!!!

    And I agree good fun.

    Cheers,

    Dee

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  17. hmm.. interesting.. damn shame such things were not there when i was still at school.. actually, its a damn shame there wasn't anything in chennai but studies and food when i was a student.

    and i feel they are all frauds only. but the one u ended up with was an even bigger fraud. thats all. amean, if she gets 20 bucks for delivering the same dialog to every girl she meets, i would say this is a good business worth getting into.. hire an army of jakkammas and give them sarees with something like "jakkamma express" (for branding purposes) and demand a percentage of profits..

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  18. I feel something fishy in that America matter..Did she really tell ot whether its ur screenplay..???

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  19. I think i laughed the most at Wolfie's comment on the IITians with the backpack at saarang...that image! ROFL!

    And the post...was funny as always :)

    But dayum! i missed the sangamam...! doin absolutely NOTHIN :(

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  20. jakkammas r famous in giving good news as that is the only thing that will get good news for them. in ur case 20 Rs...

    Try 'kudumba Meesik' (music in vadivelu's tongue) for a change..

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  21. I was there on Jan 16th evening, during Kaanum Pongal, to board my Tempo van to Tirupathi. Had dinner at Rathna Cafe. Crowd, Lights and Color made it a fine amazing evening. It looks like the fortune teller has told you a standard dialogue, I mean odds are atleast one of it should click is what she might have thought. and even if it doesn't, you aren't going to hunt her down and kick her :)

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