Wednesday, May 13, 2009

'Thiruvaazhthan', 'Oyosi' and other rare Palagattan-isms!

Every Palagattan home must have a 'Thiruvaazthan'. Usually a 'dumbo' who always does the opposite of what is told. A la the legendary Kalidasan. Most often, unintentionally. "Seriyaana thiruvaazthan kettela. Ullpavaadaikku naada podu nu chonnen. Avan ella ullpavaadailenthum nada vai eduthutaan?" "He's a real dumbo. I asked him to insert a string (sic!) in my inskirt. But he removed the strings from all my inskirts!" 'Thiruvaazthans', poor fellows, may have been dyslexic or such, but in the absence of proper, scientific methods, kids who showed 'Thiruvaazthan' tendencies were given a drubbing, dubbed and dumped to be life-long dumbos. Good ol' 'paatappas' (grandpas) would even call out to such Palagattans in that manner: "Dey, Thiruvaazhtha, inge vaa..." "Hey, you, (Monsieur Thiruvaazhthan), come here...". Strangely and interestingly, 'Thiruvaazthans' were always males.

'Oyosi' referred to someone who was physically very weak. Not just weak from lack of 'thraani' (stamina), but having a weak constitution. ''Avalalai onnum pannal agaathu. Oyosi. Onnamglass Oyosi." "She just can't do a thing. She's week. Absolutely weak". Though, when attempting a transliteration, 'onnamglass' means 'first grade or first rate'. If the legendary Kollywood sidekick Omakkuchi Narasimhan had been a Palagattan, his grandmother may have called him an 'onnamglass oyosi'!

'Gundu Chettiyila Kudhurai Ottarthu'. This is a Palagattan-ism which means someone is so jobless__emphasizing on the state of joblessness__that he or she is riding a horse in a cooking pot. 'Gundu chetti' is a vessel, in a pot shape. 'Kudhurai ottarthu' means ride a horse. "Enna da-ppey. Gundu Chettiyila Kudhurai Ottarayoda?" is a common refrain senior Palagattans make when they see a10-year-old, flying an imaginary airplane while running around the household.

'Aachaanukku Eechaan Madinikku Odaporandaan' (AEMO): This Palagattan-ism has a chequered usage. Though it means the same, every which way it is used. In Palagattan weddings or family feasts, someone would swing by for a free, sumptuous meal, without an invitation. That someone may not be a rank outsider. But would be a relative by a phenomenally long, distant, often lost, connection. In such circumstances, either the host or a family opinion-maker, often an AEMO, herself, may say: "Paaru paaru. Aachaanukku eechaan madinikku odaporandaan nu chollindu, antha Kalpathy mama vum mami yum oru vettu vettara". "Look at that. Claiming to be some distant, lost relation, the mama and mami from Kalpathy are having a go (at the feast!)!!" Some people call this 'aachaanukku peethan madinikku odaporandaan'. Purists argue that since its words are borrowed from Malayalam, it must read, 'achaanukku peechanukku madinikku odaporandaan'. Meaning, literally, 'father's younger brother's, sister-in-law's relative or sibling' establishing clearly that it is a long, distant, lost relationship!

'Kazhudai Ketta Kutti Chevaru': Though this is exactly the way it is pronounced and used, always, and means there's no use crying over an event that has not gone in your favor or has not met your expectations, because you did not make a whole-hearted effort, the author's research begs some attention. 'Kazhudai' means a donkey. 'Ketta' means spolit. 'Kutti chevaru' means small or low (compound) wall. A transliteration like, 'when a donkey spoils there is a low wall', makes no sense. So, the actual pronunciation must be 'kazhudaikku etta kutti chevaru'. 'Etta' here (not to be confused with the Malayalam 'yetta' which means brother) refers to that which cannot be reached. Therefore, this Palagattan-ism, when transliterated means, 'a donkey mourns a wall, and spends hours suffering in silence, though it can clearly scale it, but thinks it cannot'. Similarly, when we lose out on something because we behaved or attempted only in a half-hearted manner, but later mourn the lost opportunity, this saying assumes significance. "Nee padicheyo? Illai. Ini ippo azhuthootu enna proyojanam? Kazhudhaikku etta kutti chevaru." "Did you study (at all)? No. What's the point in now crying (now that you have scored poorly__implied)?"

Given the poor form of the Kolkatta Knight Riders in IPL 2, if SRK had been a Palagattan, his grandma would have told him ''Onnodu team onnamglass oyosi vakkum. Ni ippo azhuthootu enna proyojanam? Kazhudhaikku etta kutti chevaru. Antha chandalaan Buchanan thiruvaazthan akkum. Nee kekelai, naan chonnathai. Onnodu Naalu Kaptainmaarum gundu chettiyila kudhurai ottinduirrukka. Aachaanukku peechan, madinikku odanporandaan nu collindu or McCullum verai. Peshadikku Dadaveye shethukko Kaptaina''. "Your team's weak. What's the point in mourning (the defeats) now?. Buchanan is a dumbo. You didn't heed my warnings. All your four (rotating) captains are jobless. And McCullum has cited some long, lost connection with you (to pull wool over your eyes) and usurped the capatincy. Listen to me, just take Dada back. (You will be King--implied!)!!!"

As all followers of this blog can see, English can never reflect what (a) Palagattan (the language) intends!!

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