I grew up with this on my lips every time I spoke to one of my colleagues, acquaintances, friends in and around Madras. I cannot claim to have traveled all over, but I have traveled decently across India. I have not come across this sort of camaraderie anywhere else. I must qualify that I do not say the above sentence as a sort of superiority, but am only saying that it is different around here.


I noticed this because one of my friends pointed out that my entire demeanor changes when I am speaking to one of my friends from around here. I have come to notice that I speak in a boisterous, nasal and rough tone when I am speaking to my friends from around here. My location doesn’t matter in the least. It is the connect. My tone starts going higher than usual and I start reliving memories.


The word ‘Machan’ is supposed to mean brother-in-law. It reminds me of the Hindi word ‘Saala’, which means the same. It is also interesting to note that both these words have a lingo attached to them, which is different from what they mean in reality and also different from each other. While ‘Saala’ or rather ‘Saale’ is used with a negative connotation, ‘Machan’ is much more casual. Any person from Madras will respond to this, irrespective of the context. ‘Machan’ might mean anything on the orkut scale of

1. Never met



4.Good friend

5.Best friend (my addition to the orkut scale)

It is an ice-breaker, social stroke, positive re-affirmation only amongst equals or from a person of higher social stature to one below. It is informal and casual. It might sometime be shortened to ‘Machi’, but the effect remains the same. It has to be prounounced correctly to bring about the right effect.

Machan ( Ma, as in Mud; Ch, as in church, N as it is)

Machi ( Ma as in mud, greater emphasis on the Ch, as in Cheese)


If I run a google search on all the conversations that I have ever had, I guess this word would figure in more than half my conversations. I throws light on my friends circle (past) and the ubiquitous use of this word around here. This is Madras,…Machan Land!



You might find these links interesting.


And this




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