Skip to main content

chumma, just like that.

Chumma , a word hitherto heard only in the dark bylanes of Mumbai or delhi, followed by a few cat calls and whistles. A word which makes every girls hair stand on end and is a word firmly associated with the obnoxious road side romeo.

Yet Chumma enjoys an exalted position with the doctors here in Madurai. Chumma in Tamil means ‘just like that’ or ‘ainvayyi ‘ in hindi. If the word ‘ Ainvayyi ‘ has made it to every ones lingo because of the movie ‘Band baaja baarat’ then the word ‘ Chumma’ definitely deserves a place right up there with ‘Kolaveri di’.

Sentences which seem everyday and colloquially common, take on a lascivious and edgy twist with the simple use of one word.

“ Patients come with such chumma complaints .”

“ We are just doing some chumma timepass.”

Chumma is a common enough word amongst Tamilians, but amongst us ‘north Indians residing in Tamil Nadu’ it is all the rage. Especially amongst the doctors, I feel. A race which is upheld for its inherent decency, and social decorum. Doctors are expected to dress decently and have good bed side manners, bury themselves behind thick books and dig through volumes of reading material.

Tamil Nadu is an essentially conservative land with high moral fibre, and to hear a salwar kameez clad doctor, complete with plated hair and bindi and lab coat use the word ‘ Chumma’, is a study in contrast. It is almost like the time I saw Tibetan monks enjoying road side pani puri, or cloistered nuns laughing over a shared joke. In its own way it is like living vicariously through a word.

I wondered , If chumma which means ‘kiss’ in Hindi, then what is the Tamil word for kiss? A quick google search informed that it is ‘muthu’ OR ‘mutham’. I have no way of confirming if that is true, except use it and see the aghast faces of the Tamilian audience, and I don’t want to risk that.

Kiss is known as chumma, chumban or pappi in hindi. The words just make you cringe in disgust ‘ ewww gross!’ The English words like peck, smooch and smack are still bearable. In Italian a kiss is known as ‘bacio’ , in French it is called ‘baiser’ and in latin it is ‘osculum’ sounding more like an instrument such as speculum. :P

A few years back a boy used to send me messages with X’s at the end of the sentence, like, ‘good morning and have a great day XXXX’. For a while I thought it was an exclamation mark and maybe he was typing it wrong, like sometimes the symbols don’t come and it’s just the letters. Totally logical explanation for a techno-ignoramus like me, until my brother explained to me that an X stood for ‘Kiss’ . “ You know the way in cards you have XOXO , which means hugs and kisses ?” I was stumped, and mortified too, hoping that I had not sent any XXXX back to the sender. Now my brother is just a year younger than me, but that day I felt like there was this huge generation gap between us , I felt decidedly ‘out of it’ and old.

A few months after the incident I met a wonderful guy, who was kind and caring. I was studying for my Masters in surgery exam and I needed an alarm call at 4 every morning. The guy used to go to sleep at 1 at night and yet used to give me a wake up call at 4 in the morning. Groggy And disoriented, I used to mumble that I would get up but he used to stay online until he made sure I was sitting on the table to study. This went on for a month. I used to go to sleep at 10 and used to read his good night messages only when I woke in the morning.

Every morning I used to get a ‘good night princess ‘ message with a time of 1 am. I was just thankful for a friend who woke after three hours of going to sleep, just to wake me up.

Then one day I got a message which read ‘ good night princess :-*’ message. I thought that he must have accidentally pressed the asterix button instead of the bracket. After a few days of the same message , I asked him ,” what does the smiley with the asterix mean?”

He answered back – google it.

I did.

Turned out, that a smiley with an asterix means a kiss !

The same site also showed how to make a blushing smiley.

I sent back one with a ‘blushing smiley’.

The rest as they say is History, just like that.


Anonymous said…
:-)* did not return any value in Google. I thibk I became Old, really old. :-(...

Sad with lower dots means "cry".
Wnna , wnna , wnna ...
Unknown said…
I don't know the code, but this is what I use:
*^^* or *^-^* or *^.^* (you can put then in braces to make them look like a face (*^_^*))
>:)< or >:D< or >(^_^)< or _(^_^)_
You get the idea.
Aayushi Mehta said…
Great story, nice find, your blog.
Anonymous said…
Lovely post,Kuheli...I came across your writing through Mansi
Anonymous said…
Very nice post, I must say!! Some times even I am not able to relate the smileys in text, so was able to related... :)
Unknown said…
Highly entertaining and comical!
Unknown said…
Highly entertaining and comical!
Anonymous said…
that was so dumb!!!

Popular posts from this blog

birthday retrospect : Lebensmude and other Midlife things

This year will be the 11 th Birthday retrospect;it is a promise I keep to myself, where I write my thoughts on growing a year older. I started writing a birthday retrospect on my 25th birthday and this year being my 35th birthday post. (read last years post  BR 2018 )
This year went by in a blur –and I was happy about it. Earlier, my reaction used to be, “ Oh my God! This week went by so fast, where did the time go?” , but this year I couldn’t wait for the months to roll by. I was in a WHY IS LIFE TAKING SO MUCH TIME TO PASS BY mode . Ah! I can feel that a lot of people reading this are going to be surprised by this. Because I have always been someone plugging my day with many things to do, I was someone who was a ‘go getter’ kind of person, so much to do in life, so much to see in life, the girl with the biggest FOMO or Fear of missing out. This year I had flipped completely to the opposite spectrum. I didn’t want to do anything new. It wasn’t like I was demeaning the act of disco…

7 things I wish I could tell my medical student self, 15 years ago

Two things happened this morning , one was the NEET (the national entrance exam of medicine) results in the Newspaper, and the second ,a discussion on our college whatsapp group that today was infact 15 years to the day we attended our first lecture as Medical students. The jubiliation of the students and parents of today as they embark on a new journey in medicine, and my own journey of the past 15 years ; the connection was like a resonance that my writing muse could not deny. What would I tell the medical student , that was me, from 15 years back? What secrets of the trade, what insider scoop could I share which would have made my journey a little less daunting, a little more fun, and may be even more satisfying? Here are my thoughts in no particular order, except as they enter my head.
1.You made it! : I think the first thing I would like my younger self to do is to celebrate , and not doubt myself. I had won. I was in. the door had closed (atleast to the medical college of choi…