Saturday, May 2, 2009

'Cheerappu' and 'Jaladosham'

There is no clear reason why older Palagattan women (especially grandmothers) like to use the word 'Cheerappu' (pronounced 'chiraapu') when 'Jaladosham' is an easy and better understood substitute.

To me both 'Cheerappu' and 'Jaladosham' mean the same: a bad attack of common cold accompanied with bouts of sneezing ('thummal'), running nose ('mooku ozhugarathu') and similar horrendous symptoms__including that horrific English word phlegm ('chali').

However, purists from the Palagattan ilk believe that 'Cheerappu' is a bad attack of common cold while 'Jaladosham' is running nose. Interestingly, 'Jaladosham', translated literally means 'the curse of water' because Palagattans reason that an improperly handled (read dried) head bath is the most common cause for a common cold and running nose. Nobody really knows what 'Cheerappu' means literally.

Typical usages of both words by my paternal grandmother, Subbalakshmi Ammal:
"Thalai nanna thodaichukko kettaya, illata 'cheerappu' pidikkum". "Dry your hair properly (after a head bath) else you will catch a cold".
"Paavum, avasthapadaran. 'Jaladosham'." "Poor fellow, he's suffering. He has a cold".
"Unnakku 'Cheerappu' akkum, mooka cheendhu ketiya?" "You have a bad cold; why don't you blow your nose?"

So, next time you are reaching out to the box of Kleenex tissues at your bedside, remember, you could just be suffering from 'Cheerappu' or 'Jaladosham' and not from Swine Flu. And thank Palagattans and this now-famous blog for helping you stay sane with this clarity/awareness.

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