I’d love to write about Robbie Williams, but then ‘Robbie Williams, the entertainer’ in no way compares to the person, I am going to acquaint you with now.
Welcome to Kodaikanal, the hill station where they are so few things to do that poking holes in numbers on a piece of paper, is as awaited as the nabbing of Osama by Uncle Bush.. And all the Holidayers, with little to do, gather around a happy bonfire, all tiffin carriers and all waiting for their version of ‘Robbie’ to show them the path to enlightenment..
‘Selvam’, otherwise referred to as ‘Super Selvam’ (but then how important is a name) shows up all smiles, hustling and bustling his way through the crowd. If you haven’t guessed by now, the game in question is a game called housie, or lotto or bingo or whatever depending on which part of the world you are from The game is actually quite simple, there is a simple 3 step procedure.
Step 1 : Understanding what Super selvam says.
Step 2 : Punching toothpick in number
Step 3: Shouting “boogey”, “boogey” till Super Selvam informs you otherwise.
Out of all these, Step 1 is by far and away the toughest.
Now, Housie callers or announcers or whatever it is they call themselves, really are a queer breed of people. You either get these old retired army officer’s, who seemingly get a great sardonic pleasure, when they announce “Two fat ladies, 8 and 8, 88” , or you get these old bandicoot housewives who say “Men get naughty at the age of 40” so scathingly that you begin to wonder what’s happened to their husbands since.
But then, Our Selvam is not one to follow anyone else’s footsteps, Is he? He charts his own course. Selvam is a profound sophisticated fella which reflects almost instantaneously in his number calling.
“The dirty and one, Three and one, No. 31"
“Luck for some, oneluckyy far most, No.13”
“Top of the digits, Something wrong No.9”
Hang on a moment, What on earth is “Something wrong”, being the curiosity driven cat, that I am , I had to find out.
So, there I went.
Me: Sir, Sir, What is this “Something wrong”?
Super Selvam : What men, Summa joking ha ? No.9 men...Don't you know?
Me: No No, Sir I really want to know
Super Selvam : (beckoned me to his ear) No.9, men…. AMBOOD!
I was a satisfied man...
One year passed, and rather regrettably we ventured back to that happy bonfire only to see “Super Selvam”, at the helm of affairs again. With renewed confidence and a swagger in his walk, something told me that he had some new tricks up his sleeve.
“Kiss and run, if you have the lucky number vone, Vonly no.1”
“What the little babies do, Vonly no. 2”
Hang on what about the rest of the working world.I thought.
Every performer has one “Magnum opus”, like they call it. For Sinatra , it was “My Way”, for Belafonte “Havanageela”. Well what about our Selvam then?
“Feel free , after number 3, Vonly number 3”
Alright, let me be honest, I knew very well what “Something wrong” meant when I went up asked him the last time, But honestly what the hell is “Feel free after number 3”
I mustered courage and ventured out towards Super Selvam again, This time, I knew I would have to do a little more cajoling, or as we say in these parts, apply a little more “Amul”.
Me : Hello Sir, You really do a fantastic job! I am a big fan!
S.S : Yes yes ( trying to recollect where he had met me last)
Me: Sir, Are you a professional housie caller?
S.S: What Man? I am a DJ, I am an dancer, I am a compere ,I come up with slogans, Actually I am a full time entertainer!
The Amul was obviously working….So I went for the kill.
Me: Sir, I have understood everything. But what is this “feel free after number three” all about?
S.S: Summa making fun eh? Seriously seriously, u don’t know?
Me: Seriously, I don’t know sir.
S.S: You don’t know?
Me: No sir, Please tell me.
S.S: I think yr making fun men, See when you are in a hurry, when you are in a rush, you go and then you feel relasked!!
Me: Go where sir ?
S.S: U go men, and u feel relaasked (Puts hands up)
Me: Sir, I seriously don’t understand.
S.S: See men , you are in a hurry you go to the toilet.
Me: Yes yes (Awaiting anxiously the clincher)
S.S: See men, Very Simple You go to the toilet. Then, it’s “ One front,(puts hands in front of him), Two Back! (puts hands behind) One plus two equals three!"
And we thought life was complicated…
On a parting note he then said to me, “What men,I think you are summa jokin..Do nat tell this to anyone ha, Pleezz,”
And then I reassured him, “Sir, seriously,Who can I possibly tell all this too?”.