It is like an icon, a One Rupee Coin. I don’t know what a one rupee coin can buy now in India, but it certainly bought Rajinikanth the most profitable Phone call in the Movie Sivaji and that is perhaps the most stylish way of tossing the coin even if it is all CG (Computer Graphics).
An abode of enlightenment, refreshment, a social gathering where everyone feeds their hungry stomach, The College canteen. Gangs are noticeable in this area of the campus. They come in a bunch, munch and leave as a bunch. It is the most happening place in a college campus because a lot of things happen here, really I mean it!
A bunch of Guys in Khaki uniform walk in to the canteen for a snack just as the sun begins to set. They appear sweaty from all the laborious tasks in the workshop lab. A couple of tall handsome guys among them give it a long stroll and took a lead at joining the queue at the canteen counter. One among them drops a one rupee coin accidentally and immediately jerks out his hand trying to grab the falling coin and then goes bending down to the floor to go grab it as the coin hits floor and rolls a little bit to the side. The legend says that this was how it was all started, and the legend was actually a guy who likes to gossip a lot and one who can create a leading NY Times best seller novel out of a mundane incident (More on that Legend later). The other guys who were standing by him were very creative(or destructive) indeed. Seeing a well positioned, broad looking back of the fully nourished body of the bending guy, they couldn’t resist but go for the “Dharma Adi” (which means Free hit) or “Podhu Mathu” (which means General Beating). It is more comical if you knew Tamil, but if you know the equivalent comical word in your language that could meet that synonym, then feel free to substitute it. Without waiting any further or even thinking for more than 1 second the tall guys opened up the palm and initiated the most fun ritual of all times, beating the hell out of the bent guy. The rest of the gang reciprocated, I mean who can resist some great stress releasing moments. The poor bent guy (who wanted to stay rich with his 1 rupee) slowly straightens himself up as the avalanche of thunder on his back ends and poses a Manirathnam style one word question to the rest of the gang – “Why?”. The khaki wearing, canteen trotting, gang monsters bend back and laugh violently at the now straightened up guy drawing some more attention from the curious onlookers in the queue and folks within a few feet radius, causing them to have a mild to medium and some hysterical laugh.
Now, like all things like these in college, they spread like wildfire, but the fire is selective and picks its people on its path, so not everyone actually knew this immediately. I mean it might takes weeks before the last guy knows exactly what happened, because these were the days when youtube was actually that legend kind of guy who describes the incident in full vigor. This definitely left a lot of room for more demonstration of the beating incident. Folks who knew about it, would just wait for a chance for a guy to bend over for grabbing something. In fact incidents like these spread like wildfire only through demonstration and not through narration. Probability had it that not many actually bent over because mostly the campus floor had nothing valuable to be picked up, India wasn’t shining back then you see! So this is where people get creative at being destructive. What happened next was an ingenious attempt at creating the environment, conducive enough for the ignorant guy to bend down and be at the receiving end. I happened to be in the execution of one such operation. A fake game was created, a big money betting pool with a simple coin tossing game. Each guy gets a chance to bet either on the head or tail and the rest of the group will have to bet the same money on the other side of the coin. So if the guy wins he gets as many times as the number in the group. Sounds very lucrative enough that it did attract one ignorant soul. And then …
(2001 a space odyssey music plays in the background …)
The coin toss begins … The coin is tossed …
(music plays on … and the scene now goes into slow motion)
The ignorant and hopeful guy fixates his eye on the coin and follows its trajectory up and down all in slow motion. The coin falls down and slightly rolls over to his upper right side. The guy bends down in curiosity, all he could see was 10 times his betting money. He bends down completely, with greedy eyes and a wide smile, only he ended up feeling things, that he didn’t see coming. He cried for his mother and God for help, while we worked on him to our heart’s content. That night we slept peacefully but promised the ignorant soul to be on our group to beat up the next one in the list.
Karma can be cruel. Because it get backs at you and in the age of Kaliyuga it gets back at you within a week. To create a hit list is not an easy task, you have to pick the right guy. The guy who doesn’t know about the plan, the guy who is in the hostel for the weekdays and escapes to his home exactly at 4:35PM on Friday, because he is about 2 hours from his home but has to be in the hostel as 2 hours is too long during the weekdays to travel. But there is also another criteria to keep in mind, the size and strength of the guy. We misjudged it this time. The same scene was created one night in the hostel, with this guy. The coin was tossed, we got on him with our arms. What happened next was funnier than a Vadivelu comedy, There were now 11 people crying for Mother and God and it was none other than us. He just simple used his whole body and arms to throw us all away in every direction. No one dared to even get back to him to restart the business, in fact he was humbly offered the job of the opening batsman (one who starts the beatings first) for the next round.
And then of course, the last guy came to know of this ritual and it all ended. But it sure was written in the Urban Legend of College Terrors as there was still some fear left in people. If they dropped the coin they do look around 1 KM radius before bending down to get it and get it quick enough so there was no chance for anyone to pounce upon them.
Next time you drop something while at campus, look around, because Tigers wait and strike.