Chennai: A group of young boys near my place were glued to their phones last evening. They were busy Googling to find what ‘Chowkidar’ means. As I reached home after a tiring day’s work, my mom gave me a puzzled look and asked me why there is a huge hype over Chowkidar? She wondered if it was a special Chinese dish from a restaurant nearby.
There was my grandfather asking me whether it has got anything to do with Thuglaq magazine.
And when I was about to go to bed, I got a call in my mobile that informed me, ‘You may now make Main Bhi Chowkidar song your caller tune’.
Left with no option, I had to explain to everyone that it is a campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections by Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging everyone, who cares for the country, to come forward to fight corruption, dirt and social evils.
I had a tough time explaining everyone that Modi calls himself Chowkidar that literally means a gatekeeper or watchman. A livid young boy, living next door , immediately said, “Call my dad a Chowkidar, then. After my mom leaves for work in the morning, he sits near the gate unmoved till she is back in the evening.”
Funny enough was my father, who tried a joke at the moment. He said Modi may be a Chowkidar now, but veteran actor Sivakumar was the first. Guess why? He acted in the lead in a movie called Watchman Vadivelu. His comment was followed by an eerie silence at the house. I made the scene more clumsy saying that his ‘son’ is the real ‘watchman’ courtesy his film 24 in which he played a watch mechanic. Like dad, like son.
Interestingly, adding Chowkidar as prefix to their names on Twitter and Facebook seems to be the latest trend. My uncle changed his name on his social media page from Thattai Srivatsan Vasudevan Iyengar to Chowkidar Proud CSKian Thattai Srivatsan Vasudevan Iyengar. You would have guessed why CSK is in it. My uncle must have made a special request to Zuckerberg to grant him adequate space to just write his name. As ever, my aunt was angry with him and picked up a quarrel asking why should he opt for a gatekeeper’s job at this age (post retirement).
Well, I was stuck for words when my friend’s son asked me if Chowkidar means ‘watchman’ why are the BJP women leaders here adding it as prefix to their names?
If one thinks Modi was smart enough to come up with Chowkidar campaign, Rahul Gandhi gave him a surprise. There began his counter-campaign Chowkidar Chor Hai (Watchman is a thief). Little did Rahul realise he would end up on a sticky wicket. The Security Guards Union in Mumbai has submitted a complaint to the local police, claiming that this slogan by Rahul is an insult to the fraternity of security guards.
On a serious note, though Tamilnadu may have seen anti-Hindi protests, people’s animosity towards the language has mellowed down over the years. If you still don’t believe, take a glance at social media, where one out of five has added Chowkidar as prefix to his / her name. And, 10 out of 50 still don’t know what it means.
And there rings your mobile phone now. Pick it up to listen to a voice saying, ‘You may now make Main Bhi Chowkidar song your caller tune’.