Wednesday, May 6, 2009

'Thraani', 'Okkalikkaran' and 'Kadukarthu'

The reason this author did not write a post on this blog yesterday was because he did not have the 'thraani'.

'Thraani' is Palagattan for stamina. After a long day at work and at the gym, I just did not have the 'thraani' for blogging, that too in the sultriness of a May (agninakshatram) night in Chennai.

The Tamizh usage for stamina in a common context is 'sakthi'. So, Tamizh folks would normally say,"Odambulla sakthiye illai". "I have no stamina in me (my body)."

Purists believe that Palagattans borrowed 'thraani' __and embellished it__from the original Kannada 'thraana' which means stamina. Palagattans, however, claim just the opposite happened! Nevertheless, this is a word that is slowly becoming extinct in Palagattan homes. Most new gen Palagattans are substituting 'thraani' with words like 'energy' or even the colloquial Tamizh word 'thembu'. But in proper, pure Palagattan, an old, 80+ Palagattan grandmother would declare,"Vara vara, odambulla thraaniye illai". "Of late, I have no stamina in my body."

Such old Palagattan confessions from 'paatimaas' (grannies) fetch little or no sympathy from today's young and happening Palagattans. After all, the Palagattan men and women of the 30s and 40s displayed so much 'thraani' in their youth and middle age.

Consider this: most Palagattans who married in the early 1900s, 10s, 20s, 30s, 40s and, possibly, 50s, procreated with alarming alacrity. Rarely does a Palagattan family tree have less than eight siblings in each family branch a generation above today's 40+ Palagattan. My families__both paternal and maternal__had 11 siblings each. Which means both sets of my grandparents demonstrated indefatigable 'thraani' when it came to procreation. Siblings in such Palagattan families were born, at times, within 12 to 13 months of each other. Which made the Palagattan male of yore, a Mr.Macho, who needed no Viagara or artificial stimulants. While the Palagattan woman was possibly a great reveller in bed with greater 'thraani'. I say this not out of any disrespect but out of great admiration because most 'paatimaas' (grannies) outlived the 'paatas' (grandpas) and stayed beautiful (with their mookuthis and vairathodus), active and lived long, extra long lives. In fact, some of them continue to be active at 80+ even today. [Researchers have been unable to put their finger on what has caused the Palagattan race to limit their family size post the 1950s: education, inflation or global warn(m)ing!?]

So, young Palagattan adults of today, perhaps, have every right to question the validity of a 'zero-thraani' lament by a 'paatimaa' because they believe a lot of 'thraani' was handsomely invested in producing bi-sexual (co-ed?) cricket teams of 11+ people in each family. My own firm belief is that had Palagattans had a Gujju gene (read Lalit Modi-like), the IPL would have been launched as the Indian Palagattan League long, long ago. Probably in the previous century. And we would have had teams like 'Noorani Nandurnis', 'Kalapathi Kacherikaaras', 'Athipotta Ambis' and 'Kavuseri Kudumis'.

Having elucidated on 'thraani' in the context discussed above, it may pay to look at it from two more perspectives.

A Palagattan who develops a nauseating feeling and brings out food or throws up is referred to as indulging in 'okkalikkaran'. To be sure, it is a verb and not a noun. The actual act of throwing up in Palagattan, as in Tamizh, is called 'vaandhi' (vomit). But 'okkalikkaran' describes the manner in which the Palagattan throws up, loudly, indecently, impolitely. Sometimes, waking up the neighborhood. A poor Tamizh usage is 'komatindu varadhu'. Meaning 'it is all gurging (sic!) out'. Actually, let's state this: the Palagattan 'okkalikkaran' is non-pariel, without parallel. A Palagattan grandma could say,"Avana paaru. Eppidi okkalikkaran." "Look at him. God, the manner in which he is throwing up?". Chances are, after an hour of the Palagattan continuing to throw up, the grandma could state,"Paavum, odambulla thraaniye illai". "Poor guy, he hasn't any stamina left!".

Palagattans also have a special word to distinguish pain from ache. And it is often converse to the English synonyms. For instance, you say stomachache in English, while in Palagattan, you would say, 'vaayathu veli'. Or you say, headache in English and say 'thalai veli' in Palagattan. But in English you say painful legs, while in Palagattan you would say 'kaalu kadukarthu'. The word 'kadukarthu' is used only by Palagattans and only in the context of the lower limbs of the body__the legs or feet (both are 'kaalu'). Often times, a Palagattan's 'kaalu kadukarthu' wail may come from the lack of 'thraani' (stamina) in the body.

And, interestingly, 'kadukarthu' does not apply to other parts of the anatomy, for instance, the heart. Because, even for Palagattans, the heart must go on!!!

1 comment:

  1. According to my mom, "okalikarthu" is the act of "almost puking"! Not exactly bringing out food but an action that resembles it! So either a baby would have swallowed some big piece of vadai lets say and get an "okaalam". Or my mom would remark if some unplesant odour wafted past her nose (especially from a non-veg kitchen) "aiyyo, okaalam varadhu. Vegam po ingendhu!"