Tuesday, January 06, 2009

'Surangani' outbreak on passenger flights baffles Airlines, Aviation Ministry.

by Anand Ramachandran, who is shocked by the fact that Surangani is no longer sung on school and college excursions.

A strange epidemic which has whole groups of people travelling on airlines breaking out into spontaneous group renditions of 'Surangani', in true excursion style, has perplexed cabin crews of airlines all over the country.

“We've never seen anything like this. After we've been flying for a few minutes, they all just start clapping rhythmically and sing 'Surangani'. It's amazing!”, said a stewardess from Kingfisher, softly muttering “maalu maalu maalu, suranganika maalu” under her breath.

People on a Kingfisher airlines flight joyfully break into a rendition of Surangani, ad-libbing lyrics inspired by the pretty girl dancing in the aisles.

“It's quite strange. The scene is exactly the same, regardless of the flight, passengers, or route. Apart from the clapping and discordant singing, there are other staples – different people trying to 'lead' with their own favourite verse, some passengers who don't know the lyrics 'winging it' by singing the 'maalu maalu maalu' part really loud, and a couple of others who are too posh to sing along , but who just clap.”, explained Naresh Goyal, chairman of Jet Airways, making his debut on Son of Bosey. “It could also be due to the startling similarity between the layout of a passenger aircraft cabin and a tourist bus.”, he added thoughtfully, retsraining himself from scratching his non-existent beard, or anyone else's, for that matter.

Scientists have immediately linked this behaviour to a similar phenomenon that will be familiar to anyone who has been on any bus or van excursion in Tamil Nadu – where otherwise diverse groups of people (students, IT professionals, families, it doesn't matter) inexplicably begin clapping and singing Surangani after about twenty minutes on the road, ignoring the many thousands of other available songs that can be sung badly off-key.

“We're not sure why it always comes down to Surangani. Perhaps it's the catchy tune? Perhaps the fact that an imaginative (and dirty) mind can easily make up verses on the fly? Perhaps 'Nessun Dorma' is not quite within the vocal range of most excursion-goers?”, pondered a scientist, speaking on behalf of the Group for Advanced Analysis of Nonsense and Absurdity (GAANA).

A typical Surangani attack experienced by a group of youngsters travelling by bus to Tiger Cave (or possibly Buhari Blue Lagoon, it's impossible to tell for sure.)

“Perhaps it is because thousands of people who otherwise travel by bus and van are now taking to the skies, thanks to my dynamic initiatives in lowering the costs of flying.”, said Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, taking the opportunity to gain some mileage for himself. “And you must admit, I have one of the cooler names among politicians. Much better than dweebs like P.Chidambaram, P.R. Das Munshi and the late Ghani Khan Chaudhary.”, added Mr.Patel with a debonair wink, before trotting off to play Gears of War 2 with Minister of Shipping and Road Transport T.R.Baalu.

“Heh, gotta love Surangani. I remember one bit about 'Kiss kudutha kaas kuduppa Queen Mary's Ponnu . . . “, trailed off wildlife photographer S.U.Saravanakumar, trying hard to remember the exact words.

“Wait, wait! I know one! er . . wait . . it ends with 'Pachchamolagaa pottu thinna kaaram kaaram!”, said an excited Aravind Murali, forgetting the lyrics as usual.

“Suraangani is actually a Sinhalese 'baila' song about a man buying fish for a girl.”, said an authoritative Vishwanathan Srinivasan, demonstrating his knowledge of Sri Lanka. “ Sri Lanka is also home to the water monitor lizard, known locally as Gabragoyan.”, he added, in an Arun Lal-like departure from the relevant topic.

“While I must agree that Surangani is undoubtedly the chart topper, we must not ignore the popularity of other perennial favourites such as 'Veetukku veetukku vaasapadi', 'Nara naraa', and 'Jigujikkan Jigujikkaan Jikka' (sung to the tune of Nandavanaththil oru aandi)”, said famous gaana expert Sarath Dorbala, creator of several popular ditties himself. He soon excused himself, after delighting the crowd by softly muttering “Kamaluukum Rajanikkum Sandai . . . “ under his breath.

While the Surangani epidemic rages on unabated, there has fortunately been no similar outbreak of the forgotten Bappi Lahiri classic “Lovers. Nightlovers.” or that song in which Bali Brahmabhatt emerges from a helicopter. There must be a God.