Sunday, May 3, 2009

'Jeeram', 'appey' and the 'sero'.

Palagattans have a way with corrupting names/usages.

I have often found the name Sriram being pronounced 'Jeeram' by a Palagattan. "'Jeeram' anna vandhurakkan." Meaning, 'My elder brother Sriram has come'. To the innocent, ignorant observer, who understands 'Jeeram' (also the corrupt version of the Tamizh 'jeeragam' ) as the Tamizh equivalent of the Hindi 'jeera', this statement may seem bizzare. I researched and searched and researched but cannot still account for how and when Sriram morphed into 'Jeeram'.

Or consider 'appey'. Which is like 'Hey You!' or 'Dude'. But given the fact that Palagattans were never the 'cool' folks, 'appey' often was used only by older people on younger ones when they were giving an advice or instruction.

"Nalekku varanam, keteyoda-ppey?" "Listen dude, show up tomorrow."

"Enna da-ppey, ippidi pannituey?" "Hey you, you screwed up."

The word 'zero' when used by a true blue-blood Palagattan would always be uttered as 'sero'. This become particularly evident when a Palagattan gives out a phone number: 9-9-4-sero-sero-1-sero-sero-5-sero! And even this 'sero' is pronounced with a nasal twang (a la Himesh Reshammiyya) and sounds close to 'seiro' uttered with one nostril closed. In fact, when you hear 'sero', even with your eyes closed, you can smell a Palagattan at the other end!!!

But the cake goes to the usage of the word station, usually a railway station. It is used as 'seshan'. Seshan, interestingly, is also the common name that most Palagattan men are given. My sister-in-law recently shared her grandmother's usage of this word. Her grandmother would often take a late evening train that will help her reach Palakkad in the wee hours. And in the absence of proper, safe public transport, the old lady would often sleep on a bench outside the railway station till day break to visit my sister-in-law. And upon reaching my sister-in-law's home, she would proudly declare,"Train ellam vanduduthu. Orre irruttu ketiya. 'Seshan' kitta paduthundootu vandhen".

Here's how the old lady's statement translates__if you don't know that Palagattans can call a railway station, 'seshan': "The train was on time. It was very dark. So I slept with 'seshan' and then came".

Poor old lady. I am sure I am going to be cursed for such a perverted inference. Nevertheless, it is usages such as this__'seshan' for a railway station__that makes Palagattan Tamizh so quirky, so adorable, so relishable and so laughable!

Hope you are having a good time with this blog!

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