Friday, June 19, 2009


A gave me a birthday gift two weeks ago. Ah, I should probably say that the original gift that I was supposed to get dissolved into thin air on account of the fact that my visit to India was unprecendented and unexpected at the time of her arrival, and realizing that it was almost impossible that the two of us would meet during her trip back home, and calculating carefully that the postal department would make a killing on parcel registration almost nullifying the value of the gift, she had come to the conclusion that it would be better to give me this gift the next time we met, which could not be longer than another two years in time (I have simplified her original explanation which ran into seven and a half pages on standard A4 size paper - front and back).

So after a million whines of self-pity on having no birthday acknowledgement from someone I have known forever, she agreed to put together the one thing I really have wanted for a long while. A CD of tamil songs. Not that I've not heard tamil songs before, but not like this. The CD has pretty much blown me away - you could call it an obsession I guess.

On the other hand, I think whoever said mallu is tougher to learn than tamil knew nothing about either language! I'm a little language shy and A scares the hell out of me every time I try to speak two words. So a few days back I manage a Innu onnum pannala * and she's on it straight away -

"No! What Innu? You should say innukku!"
"But innu is passable no?" (hands a little sweaty)
"NO! It's not passable! And what onnum pannala? This is not your mallu - say innukku onnume pannala * !"
"OK..." (My voice is shaking and I can't say another word)

Hah, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If it's I it has to be pannitaen ^ , if it's he it has to be pannitaan ^ , if it's she it has to be pannitta ^ (oh, actually in very pure tamizh it has to be pannittaal ^, but in conversation pannitta is passable :P ) And elders you have to respect, OK? No enna pannara ** and all... it has to be neenga enna pannareenga ** !

Where does my paavam mallu compare to this where a simple Endhu cheyyuva ** ? would fit everyone and everything!!

But I'm having fun inspite of all the domination and humiliation. And for that, A, you're officially forgiven for everything ;)

* - Did nothing today
^ - various forms of did
** - What are you doing?


Aparna said...

As I do not understand Tamil or Malayalam, really could not grasp the meaning... but I scrolled down your posts and enjoyed your earlier ones... I specially loved Colourblind. It went straight to my heart.

Madhurjya (Banjo) said...


kochuthresiamma p .j said...

didnt realise tamil was more inflected than malayalam!and i claim to b able to speak tamil! never conjugate like u've pointed out.

Ashwadhy said...

Lol! I if normal Tamil is difficult, check out the Iyer Tamil and the Palaghat Tamil, with a very very strange mix of both Malayalam and Tamil.. But one thing the language does have a feel to it.
Looks like I have missed a few post. Catching up.

CJ said...

@aparna: have added a few translations so should make a little more sense now :)

@banjo: better now?

@ammai: hah, tamil is a nightmare. and i'm not too good with languages in any case!

@ashwadhy: yea, all said and done i love the language as well :)

sa said...