A translation of Theodore Baskaran's captivating account of the true story of a Tamil brigand in Colonial India.
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.
A couple of days ago, I was walking on Arcot Road, and to avoid the water, had to pass perilously near a transformer. I was reminded of Bijoy telling me very matter-of-factly that it was dangerous to walk under a transformer as suddenly one could be spattered with boiling oil – apparently this is a coolant and is one of the things that go wrong very often with a transformer. I couldn’t help but point out to him that it would be even more dangerous if it had Vijayakanth connected to