Monday, April 27, 2009


'Pandaram' (pronounced pundarum) is not an expletive though it sounds periliously close to one.

'Pandaram' is Palagattan for moron.

Usually used in utter exasperation to condemn someone who's behavior has been outrageously silly or comically destructive. If someone added more salt than was necessary in 'molagootal' a Palagattan would remark 'Pandaram, Keduthutaan' (Moron, he messed it up). Or if someone did not show up for a movie on time and she had the tickets, the family waiting impatiently is prone to conclude 'Seriyana Pandarum akkum' ('an absolutely perfect moron!'__if there was ever an oxymoron like that!!!).

When a Palagattan is really, really angry with the moron in question, the disgust is, at times, emphasized thus: 'Pandaram! Chavutuven!!!' [Moron I will stamp (sic!) you!!]. Here the word 'Chavutuven' is Palagattan for 'kick your arse'. The Tamizh word is 'medhipen' as far as the purists are concerned or 'othaipen' when speaking colloquially. As you can see, 'Chavutuven' adds a dramatic effect to 'Pandaram' and reflects a poetic justice, at least in thought and word, being meted out to the perpetrator of silliness.

As an avid Tintin fan, especially idolizing Captain Haddock, I am reasonably sure Herge had Palagattan links. Because it is the 'Pandaram Chavutuven' impact that one senses when the livid Captain cuts loose and often exclaims 'Bashibazouks!' whenever he is a victim of a wicked design.

Curiously, 'Pandaram' is never used for serious offenders like those who indulge in betrayal or embezzlement or theft. Perhaps, the Palagattan premise is that morons can harm but cannot be serious!!!!

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