Tuesday, May 12, 2009

'Adi Thadi Pullise' and other exasperated Palagattan exclamations!

Author's Note: This morning I woke up to a flooded mail box...both on Facebook and on my email. That this humble blog would evoke such a passionate following and response defies a modest Palagattan's imagination. I wish to reiterate to all followers, known and unknown, seen and unseen, felt and unfelt, that all your words/expressions/idioms will be taken up. And clarified. Keep your comments and queries coming. You can post them on Facebook, on the blog itself or mail me at avis@imagequity.in.

I would also like to celebrate this blog's first commenter and follower, also its first opinion-maker, a non-Palagattan, Aniruddh Sankaran. Regretfully, I had omitted his name while raising a toast to other followers. Without his first comment, we wouldn't be where we are today__as a blog, as a bunch of boisterous, zoozoo-like Palagattans! Thanks, Sir!!

Palagattans are real fun when they are exasperated__with someone, something or just with themselves!!

'Adi Thadi Pullise': Bawling and brawling kids are any (Palagattan) mother's nightmare. But the Palagattan mom vents her fury on her spouse. And the most common exasperation, in such circumstances, is: "Onnum kekkanda ketela? Adi Thadi Pullise akkum inge." "Don't ask me. There's a brawl on over here and the police have to be called." 'Pullise' is Palagattan for 'police'. And 'adi thadi' refers to the brawl, what with the kids coming to blows. The expression found its origins, perhaps, from the highly unionized, militant student politics environment in Kerala. Colleges and schools in the state were often closed because of clashes between student groups. Considering that Palakkad, where the meek peace-loving Palagattans originate from, is in Kerala, it is possible that the expression was borrowed by Palagattan moms who found it difficult to control their broods. However, in today's instant gratification, SMS generation, while ATP__'adi thadi pullise'__may serve the purpose of communicating the situation on hand but can never whip up the passion conveyed by the full-throated cry of desparation.

'Maar Adichakkanam': This is a Tamizh and Tamizh culture inspired Palagattan usage. In Tamizh culture and among some Tamizh families, it is a practice for womenfolk__mother, sister, wife, sisters-in-law, grandmother__ to beat their chests ('maar' in Tamizh) when a male member passes away. It signifies a hopeless situation of grief when the women wail mournfully. 'Maar Adichakkarthu' is the act of beating one's chest in Tamizh. However, exasperated Palagattans use the expression 'maar adichakkanam' __ 'now, I must beat my chest'__in the context of their having to deal with a situation that is devoid of any intellect, professionalism or discipline. 'Intha aasari vanthutuillai. Avanodu aallugalodu ini naan maar adichakkanam!'. 'The carpenter has not shown up. Now, I need to sweat over his people to get the job done'. Simply put, 'Maar Adichakkanam' is Palagattan for 'having to painfully, mournfully, labor over' something or someone.

'Chandi Vaaya Moodindu Irrukka Chollu': 'Chandi' means the bum in Palagattan. And 'vaay' means mouth. 'Moodindu Irrukka Chollu' means 'tell someome to keep 'it' closed'. In chaste Palagattan, 'chandi vaaya moodindu irrukka chollu' means, asking someone not to act too smart and keep his or her trap shut. While there may be a temptation to interpret 'chandi vaay' as 'the mouth of the bum', one must give credit to Palagattans, as extolled in earlier posts, for being non-vulgar people. The inference here is purely to keeping the mouth and the exit shut__which means, don't act smart, just shut up and sit tight! A typical usage would be when a Palagattan father is exasperated with his son's academic performance and is still having to consider letting him go for playing cricket at the state level. The father is then firmly wont to declare to his wife: "Ooh! Pinne? Adutha Sachin Tendulkarnu nennaippo? Onnum venda. Chandi Vaaya Moodindu Irrukka chollu" "Oh! My, my!! Is he dreaming of being the next Sachin Tendulkar? No need. Tell him not to act too smart and to shut up and sit tight (and, implied, study!)!"

Critical Note: Even the 'ooh!' mentioned above is exclusively Palagattan. And coupled with 'Pinne' which actually means 'what next?', it becomes a doubly lethal Palagattan exclamation: "Ooh! Pinne?" "Oh! What's next?" And is used to chide someone and let them know that you don't buy their argument or gag or story!

'Oru Ezhavum Theriyathu': This is Palagattan for (the guy) 'knows jack-shit about something' or is used to say that 'someone knows nothing'. The beauty__and poetry__in the Palagattan language comes alive in this usage. 'Ezhavum' means not just nothing but 'precious little'. It is in its usage that the meaning assumes shape and significance. A septuagenarian Palagattan who is well trained in the Vedic chants, viz., 'Rudram and Chamakam', may comment of a young teenage Palagattan lad, training to be a priest, dismissively: "Chuppukuttyku oru ezhavum theriyarthillai. Athaan vadhiyaar kanda kanda kuttigalai-ellam anupivekkarar". "Chuppukutty knows precious little. Our priest (vaadhayar) Senor Athaan, is sending kids over these days."

Followers and champions of this blog are luckier than poor Chuppukutty. If you have senior Palagattans in your family and with your knowledge of Palagattan having gone up by light years in the last three weeks, the 'oru ezhavum theriyarthillai' exclamation may never be applied on you!!!

Praise be to the blog! Long live the blog!!!


  1. Thanks for that, Avis, though it was but the provebial "widow's mite" !

  2. As a Palgattan I loved it. My wife who is the inferior Keralite from Trivandrum does not know what "Kotthambalarisi" means !!

    Keep this literary masterpiece coming !!