A conversation between Two Chennai auto drivers while attending the
Gandhi Jayanthi celebrations of their auto drivers association.
Here enter Peter and Gopal, knowledgeable as typical of auto chaps.
Peter: Enna Gopal, did you hear about Walltax Road ?
Gopal: No. Enna aachu? Accidentaa? Which auto was involved?
Peter: No, no, nothing like that. Walltax road crashed last week.
Gopal: Appadiyaa? I did not have a savaari near that road last 10
days. Which building? Was it that building being built by that
doobaakoor company? Or did the road break in the middle?
Peter: Nothing like that. This Walltax Road is in America .
Gopal: No, Peter. I have regular savaari of foreigners. In America you
have one Salem , one Madras but no Walltax Road . There is only a Wall
Street in America .
Peter: Yes, I am talking about Wall Street only. The latest news is it
is re-named as Walltax Road . President Bush renamed it because it is
built by taxing the Americans.
Gopal: Oh. Like that aa? How did it crash? One more Bin Laden plane?
Peter: No, that was in 2001. This time, banks collapsed.
Gopal: Oh! Like our Madras finance companies 10-15 years back?
Peter: No. no. Much bigger. The banks took money from people and gave
it as loan to other people for buying land and houses but the
borrowers did not return the money.
Gopal: Oh, like Anubhav Plantation. So did the Bank manager get arrested?
Peter: Illaypaa. (No, boss). When the borrowers did not repay, the
bank took the loan papers and sold it to someone else.
Gopal: Aahaa. Ippo namma route-ikku nee vandhutae. (Now you are coming
to my route). Madras Motor Finance and various companies take over by
P.Rajarathinam maathri. Must be Political party benami money.
Peter: Noo daa. The bank sold the papers to some one foreign company.
Gopal: Seri, seri. (OK, OK). Like our Sivasankaran. Like TN Mercantile
Bank shares or Aircell-Maxis?
Peter: Dei Gopal. Ippaddi interfere senjaa (if you interfere like
this), how can I tell you the complete story?
Gopal: OK paa. I will keep quiet. You tell your story. Anyway we have
to stand till Chief Guest comes.
Peter: See, these banks first took money from people and then lend the
money to others to buy houses. Then they read a report that house
prices willo go up. So, these banks first accumulated the loan pepers
and sold them to another for a profit. With this extra money, they
borrowed some more money and gave it to others to buy more houses.
Only problem, since all wealthy people already owned houses, the banks
started lending money to unemployed people to own houses even though
their income was not sufficient to repay the loan.
Gopal: Sorry, baa. You mean like the olden days Loan Mela of Minister
Poojary? You know, my uncles got themselves pachai kutthufied
(tatooed) with 2 leaves and got Rs.1,000 loan during MGR time? They
were able to drink for one whole month from Government Kallu (toddy)
Peter: Yes, yes, like that only. The difference is instead of giving
money for drinking, they gave much more money enough to buy houses.
These people who took this easy money then went and bought houses at
very high prices without negotiating and then used further top up
loans to buy electronic gadgets and costly cars. All this, when they
were not getting any income to repay.
Gopal: Oh ho. Like how we get flats allotted under Kudisai Maatru
Vaarium (Housing Scheme for lower Income people) and then give it to
other people on lease.
Peter: You could say something like that. Only, this was at much
higher amounts. It is like you and me (auto drivers) getting a loan to
buy 3-bed room flats in Poes Garden which we cannot repay even for
Gopal: Yebbaa. Super Star second ponnai, balcony-le irundhu site
adikalaam innu solu. (You can ogle at the 2nd daughter of Super Star -
English translation for Super Star is not necessary since he is very
Peter: Yes, yes. At least for 3-4 months. Anyway, after that, the only
people who can afford those houses are Indramma (Indra Nooyi) or
Kalaignar's children or Sashikala. So, the bank which gave you the
money in the first place can only ask you to get out of the house but
cannot find new buyers to recover the loan. This type of loans were
sold by the banks like how they sell "sundal" in Marina beach.
Gopal: Namma Readymoney type innu sollu. kadan vaangittu thiruppi
thara mudiyallai. (After taking loan, not able to repay). Then you
must be ready to put Dindigul Lock and Escaping. Aennna (why because),
they will send rowdies to beat you up and you have to do self-suicide
like poor GV (film producer and elder brother of Director Mani
Peter: That is the case in India . But in America , No. American
government is arranging Anticipatory Bail for these banks for $700
billions. Using this money, the government will buy all these vethuu
loan (loans worth nothing) and save the banks.
Gopal: Namma Indian Bank case ! What is there, afterall government
owns Indian Bank and so put money from left pocket to right pocket.
Peter: No. no, Gopal. These American Banks are privately owned.
American Government is not the owner. Their owners are very wealthy
Gopal: Adda Kabali (Holy Kabali, an important temple and theatre in
neighbouring Mylapore and Mandaveli respectively) . The American
Government arranges Bail even for this? The American Government will
buy loans which are as worthless as Sundal packing paper in the beach?
That too for private banks? Tell me, will they buy my old, damaged
Auto? I want to become an auto owner and not be just a driver for
autos owned by policemen (In Chennai, it is common practice for police
constables to buy autos using their 2nd income and give it to drivers
like Peter and Gopal for everyday use). But where is the American
government getting the money for this?
Peter: From common citizens who did not take loans to buy houses they
cannot afford. That is why it is now called Walltax Road in America .
Gopal: They are idiots or what? If our government asks our citizens to
pay for banks' mistakes, they will say "Aasai, Dosai, Appalam, Vadai"
(Desire, fried flat rice crepes, papad, fried rice and lentil fritters
- translation for an international audience) and go for a massive oor
valam (procession) and strike led by Prakash Karat and Mamatha
Banerjee. In turns Kalaignar and Amma will go on relay fast in Anna
Samadhi. Plus, Anbhumani will ban Vetrilai Seeval (betal leaves used
in lieu of chewing gum in South India ) and protest separately. Peter,
tell me, will it not make sense to let these banks go bankrupt? After
all, the people who make mistakes must pay for them, right? If I do
the same in my house, my Appan (father) will drive me out of the house
and I have to "escape" to avoid seruppu adi (being beaten with
Peter: Adhudaan illai (that's what is not happening). In America , it
is election year for President and also their Parliament. So they
quickly extended their Parliament session and passed the legislation
after some mid-night drama. Taking houses away from millions of people
is not a good idea if you want their votes.
Gopal: Oh, like that aa?
Peter: That's not the only thing. These banks did some interesting
transactions like our brothers in Burma Bazaar - like selling shares
which they did not have and then buying them when the price varied,
hoping to make a profit but ending with massive losses.
Gopal: Ada Mupaathama (an important female deity in West Mamballam ,
frequented by auto drivers!). You know Peter, what this sounds like?
Peter: What does it sound like?
Gopal: Gandhi kannakku (Gandhi accounting - cannot be translated
further). Chief Guest has come. Let us put flowers on Gandhi statue
and have breakfast.
வாத்தியார் ஐயா இப்படியெல்லாம் மின்னஞ்சலில் வருபவற்றை மொழிபெயர்த்து இடுவார். எனக்கு அந்த அளவிற்குப் பொறுமை இல்லாமல் போய்விட்டது. அதனால் கூடலில் முதன்முதலாக ஒரு ஆங்கில இடுகை. :-)