At a time when #ModiSarkar2 and #ModiSwearingIn are the country’s top trending hashtags, the Twitterverse in Tamil Nadu seems focused on something else entirely. #Nesamani and #PrayForNesamani got going first in Chennai on Wednesday, and soon took social media by storm. Befuddled? Many of us indeed were. By Wednesday night, the hashtags was among the world’s top online trends. If you’re still puzzled, Nesamani is a fictional character from a 2001 Tamil film titled Friends. The movie features iconic comedian Vadivelu in the role of Nesamani, a contractor.

The trending hashtags are a reference to a scene from the film wherein, through a comedy of errors, a hammer falls squarely on Nesamani’s head, making him collapse. It gained virality after a Pakistani Facebook user posted a picture of a hammer and asked what this tool was called in India. In response, a Tamil user said that it was a “suthiyal" in Tamil, and proceeded to elaborate that “contractor Nesamani's head was broken... with it". Another Tamil user asked, in mock concern, whether Nesamani was okay now. Other users began chiming in, and the joke escalated to become a worldwide trend.

Before long, various celebrities and brands in India had cottoned onto the online thread, making pleas for Nesamani’s recovery. The trend even dragged in the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), a political party, with someone tweeting “JUST IN: C.R. Saraswathi releases photos of Contractor Neasamani eating Idly after the treatment. #Pray_for_Neasamani", as a jibe at former AIADMK spokesperson C.R. Saraswathi, who had made an absurd statement about the late AIADMK Chief Minister Jayalalithaa doing fine and having eaten idlis at a time when she was on her last few breaths (or had already passed away, as many suspected). The last word on the saga, however, has gone to the Chennai Police, no doubt, who used the “Pray for Nesamani" line as part of a caution they issued against riding two-wheelers without helmets.