Friday, May 8, 2009

'Theetharandi', 'Parakavatti', 'Nandurni' and several other exclusive Palagattan expressions!

This list is going to be long, colorful, enlightening, awakening and informative. If it amuses and arouses the reader, it surely is an intended bonus__outcome!!

Palagattans have their own bouquet of brickbats (sic!)__words and expressions they use to call people names. The author attempts to list most of the choicest that are known to him. Readers are welcome to write in with the ones they know/remember but which may not find immediate mention here. And the author promises to publish a sequel to this post, with full credit to contributors.

Disclaimer: Palagattans are a sober lot. Rarely will you find a Palagattan expression vulgar or crude in meaning__though they may come perilously close to sounding lewd and impolite.

'Theetharandi': This is Palagattan for an inconsequential person, a bloke basically, who dares to offer an opinion about a Palagattan, his/her family or home. The real meaning comes out in the usage. "Evanu oru theetharandi, avan chollarthai ellam kanakku kootathe, ketiya?" "Don't take into account (read: take to heart) what some bloke has to say". As is evident, the Palagattan usage is what packs a punch and brings the expression alive. In the English translation, the pungent essence of the expression clearly evaporates.

'Parakavatti': In Palagattan, refers to someone who is greedy about food__primarily snacks, sweets that are served in others' homes/festivals/events__like a wedding, 'seemantham' or 'gruhapravesham'. "Chi, paravatti madhiri chapadathe. Avallam enna nanaichuppa?" "Don't behave greedy. Take it easy with the food on offer. What will the others think (of you/us)?" This expression is used to chide someone who is within the family or within a close circle of infleunce.

'Nandurni': A terribly, horribly mischevious child that is hard to keep in one place. "Seriyaana nandurni akkum. Oru edathula okkarathey?" "Outrageously mischievious. Doesn't sit in a place." Interestingly, Palagattans use this expression only in the case of kids, that too infants or toddlers. I wonder why though? Wouldn't next gen Palagattan girls, just married or to be, find their lovers to be 'nandurnis'? Well, at least, I used to be one, 20 years ago. And try hard remaining so even now!!!

'Chapadachi': A non-stop Palagattan motormouth. Palagattans of all shapes and sizes usually qualify to be called so. Because motormouth and Palagattan are actually synonymous. But 'chapadachi' is the Gold Medallist in this Talkathon league. "Aval chapadachi akkum ketiya? Orruka thodangina, niruthave mattal." "She's a motormouth, who doesn't know when to stop".

'Vennai': Now, this is a rare Palagattan, who is not street smart, who is not a motormouth and is 'almost' (well, no Palagattan is ever one totally) a simpleton. Often the usage renders the meaning of 'vennai' to also imply a 'good for nothing' person. 'Vennai' in Malayalam and Tamizh means butter. Which by its physical nature is slippery and slimy. But the Palagattan 'vennai' does not mean that at all. As I said earlier, Palagattans don't sin with words. A typical usage will be. "Avan vennai. Avanala oru proyojanamum illai." "He's a vennai (can't find an English word to imply its meaning). He's of no use".

'Adangapiradi' (pronounced: 'adangaapradi'): A tempestuous, irrepressible, combative Palagattan woman. This word is borrowed from Malayalam. And is often used to describe someone who is difficult to control: either a new, city-bred daughter-in-law, or an angry, rebellious, teenaged daughter or a 'very, very, loud-mouthed, audacious, atrocious, egotistic mother-in-law'. While it connotes 'bitch', Palagattans, being who they are, will never admit to its crude canine interpretation. "Aval kitte unnum vechikathe, chollaren kettuko. Aval oru adangapiradi akkum." "Listen to me and don't have anything to do with that abrasive, arrogant, bitch! She is uncontrollable."

'Kurthamketavane': Another Malayalam-influenced expression. This is Palagattan for someone who has low moral values or is unscrupulous. Often, a display of erosion of moral values in a Palagattan's behavior, attracts this expression. "Kurthamketavane, nee pakkuthu aathu Alamelu kooda eishundutto vanthurkeya?" "O! Unscrupulous One!! I caught you smearing (sic!__the allusion is to being caught in a compromising position) yourself all over that woman Alamelu next door!" This expression, when used to describe a Palagattan woman displaying similar tendencies, manifests itself as 'kurthamketavale'.

'Mushudu': A grumpy, morose Palagattan. Interestingly, it is commonly used by Palagattan women on fellow Palagattan women. Although, honestly, the author's research reveals no such restriction imposed by the inventors of the Palagattan Tamizh lingo. The usage often applies to a Palagattan daughter calling her just-married brother's wife (the new daughter-in-law of the family) a 'mushudu'. A Palagattan daughter or mother-in-law may say of the new bride: "Mushudu paaru. Moonji thuki vechunduirrukka!". "She's sulking and so grumpy. She's pulling a long face". (Honestly 'moonji thuki vechunduirrukka' transliterates as 'lifting her face'!!!__which only proves that Palagattan Tamizh suffers phenomenal flavor-loss when translated.) Investigations by the researchers working on the lives of new Palagattan brides reveal that the grumpiness in most such women comes from an aftertaste of garlic post the first (night's) mooch (36 %), the husband's (if Palagattan) ugly, stinky belch (54 %) and the mother-in-law's insistence that the morning after begins at 4 am with a public (for women of the household) oil-bath ceremony (1o %)!!! Once settled__into the household__such a daughter-in-law returns the 'mushudu' compliment to describe her husband's sister, a.k.a 'naathanaar' (sister-in-law), in private within 2 years of marriage and always in public ever after!!!


1. This post will be continued
2. Readers are invited to offer their list of favorite Palagattan name-calling expressions for inclusion
3. Those wanting to enter a quiz for Palagattan name-calling expressions and win exclusive 'I am Palagattan. I love Nandurnis' or 'I hate Mushudus' T-shirts, may please leave their names with the author.


  1. Here's what I wanted to ask you the other day - what differentiates "pakki" and "pannadai" from "parakkavatti"? Is it just a question of dialect or is there something more sinister to this deep deception?

  2. Simple:

    'Parakavatti' is Palagattan
    'Pakki' is colloquial Tamizh
    'Pannadai' is Chennai Tamizh!!!!

    There is no deception. It is just the same. The degree of depth the language connotes also connotes the depth to which someone can fall insipidly in greed!!!