• Kuzhali Manickavel

Conversations- Absolute Best Price

Updated: Aug 5, 2020

K- Don’t feel bad.

S- I’m not feeling bad. I’m contemplating that very thin line that divides alleged Awesome Bargaining Skills from complete lunacy.

K- I’m just saying you should have asked me before buying that laptop. I could have got you a really nice one, pucca quality for the absolute best price ever.

S- 23 paisa.

K- Yes.

S- You could have got me a laptop for 23 paisa.

K- Yes.

S- Are you on drugs?

K- I seriously can. Company piece, full anti-virus with twelve English movie DVDs that haven’t been released abroad yet. All pucca pucca. With free bag.

S- No warranty?

K- If you want a 10-year complete warranty on everything you have to pay two paisa extra.

S- If you can do all that, you are beyond powerful and influential. You are magic. You are Harry Potter.

K- I just know the right dealers. And these dealers have godowns.

S- I know dealers who have godowns and none of them sell laptops for 23 paisa.

K- That’s where my Awesome Bargaining Skills come in. It’s my skills that kills.

S- Do these skills involve crying? Do you threaten to blow your nose on them if they don’t give you the laptop for 23 paisa?

K- Chee.

S- You throw a tantrum. You jump up and down and say ‘Give me the laptop for 23 paisa! Give me give me give me!’

K- I do have a technique, if that’s what you want to know.

S- I do want to know. I want to know how you bring a laptop price down from several thousands of rupees to 23 paisa.

K- First I laugh in the dealer’s face when he quotes his price. I go HAHAHAHA! like the villain in a Tamil movie just before he rapes someone. When I laugh, it says to the dealer ‘That price is absurd’ and it also says ‘You better rethink that price or I will END you!!!’

S- I will end you? What are you, some kind of deadly punctuation mark?

K- Then I unleash my I Will End You !!! Look Of Extreme Fear on the dealer.

S- Is that where your mouth hangs open and it looks like you’re going to sneeze?


S- Iyo.

K- This is the look that is so powerful that if I wear sunglasses, I can be arrested for concealing dangerous weapons.


K- Why you are laughing?

S- Sorry.

K- I once gave an old woman this look by accident and she had a heart attack. S- I have seen you give that look to people. It looks like you’ve fallen asleep with your mouth open.

K- With this look, I can make an auto driver take me round and round the city twice with one unnecessary drop at Guduvancheri. Guess how much I will pay. Guess guess.

S- No.

K- Two rupees.

S- I can go round and round the city four times with two unnecessary trips to Neelankarai and one unnecessary drop at Guduvancheri for one rupee.

K- I bought a Blackberry for 50 paisa and I get everything on it for free all the time forever.

S- I found a Blackberry on the road that has everything on it for free all the time forever.

K- My dental work picks up WiFi signals so every time I touch something, it becomes internet-enabled. Like if I touch a toaster. Or a plastic spoon. Or a fish.

S- You can create internet-enabled fish.

K- Did I just go too far and lose this game?

S- You were already losing at the 23 paisa laptop.

K- But I can really get you that though. Absolute best price, pucca quality. Really.


an edited version of this appeared in The New Indian Express Zeitgeist Supplement, Multiverse, Conversations, April 14, 2010