the prankster from Ambattur

Close readers of my blog (translation: my husband, hi!) will notice that the tagline has changed. The change came about for two reasons. First, it seems I don’t have enough urban musings to fill up a blog (i’m busy!). Second, I read a lot of news in Chennai, and I *love* it.

English journalism here, in addition to being incredibly widely read, is often highly idiomatic, sometimes comically written, and extremely serious in tone even about the silliest topics. My favorites are the tiny articles buried in the back of the city pages, which are great, sometimes poignant windows into life here.

Here’s a perfect article from today’s Hindu, about a pervert from Ambattur that’s been harassing the Chennai Corporation. Emphasis is mine:

“Police help sought to track prankster”

“The Chennai Corporation has sought the help of the police to track down a prankster, who had made hundreds of calls in the last few days to its toll free election helpline.

“The man used filthy language and spoke repeatedly with our personnel, who were manning the 1800 425 2011 helpline,” Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan said on Thursday.

According to officials of the District Election Office, the man was unwilling to stop his pranks even after the personnel warned him. The toll free helpline is for answering calls pertaining to the Corporation elections, which are scheduled for October 17.

“What dress should I wear to the election booth? He would ask. When we answered that he was free to wear any clothing of his choice to cast his ballot, he asked that if he could go wearing his undergarments,” a Corporation employee said.

After disconnecting a call, the man would call within minutes again and ask annoying queries which were in no way pertained to the elections, a Corporation employee said. He also allegedly came up with a marriage proposal on the toll free number.

The man, who called from a mobile phone, has been traced to a locality in Ambattur and police are investigating.

He called several times and made work a nightmare at the election control room for the employees over the last few days, said an official of the civic body.

The optimum use of the toll free number by voters is being hindered by such calls as the officials had to answer his calls most of the time, the official added.”


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