Sunday, May 17, 2009

'Velichapadu', 'Nozhaneri' and 'Echikale'

'Velichapadu' is Palagattan for a phenomenally hyper-active person. In fact, a better way to understand the word's meaning is to go to its origin. In temples in Kerala, during the annual festival, for various reasons__scientific, surreal and manipulative__men and women appear possessed. The common belief is that God expresses and/or appears for brief spells of time through such people. These people are called 'velichapadus'. 'Velicham' means light in Malayalam (and in Tamizh). So, 'velichapadu', literally, means something or someone that moves (as fast as) like light! But in Palagattan, the usage is to describe people who are driven, passionate, display high-energy and are, in a sense, unstoppable. It is often times, in fact always, used in a negative context when decrying someone's behavior. "Avan oru velichapadu akkum. Piddichu vekka mudiyathu." "He's a 'velichapadu (or hyper-active person). It's impossible to pin him down." The times at which its usage is appropriate is when a son, who is to write his Class X exams, is hardly found with his books or at home. Peripatetic Palagattan entrepreneurs or executives who are busy with their careers or young Palagattan brides who are social butterflies, invite this title on to themselves!

'Nozhayarthu' is Palagattan is for entering__a room or house. 'Itha, ippo than nozhanjurkaan' means 'He's just barely made an entry'. The usage is relevant in such contexts to indicate that someone's made an appearance after everyone has made some effort to establish when he or she would come. And 'neri' means fox. So 'nozhaneri' in Palagattan is someone who makes a slimy entry__after, most usually, spoiling the party. Simply, 'nozhaneri' in Palagattan is a 'wily fox'! The implied reference is to a person's wilyness, cunningness and 'too smart' tendency. "Sheriyaana nozhaneri akkum. Avondu shalyam sahikamudiyathu." "He's a wily fox. Can't take his nuisance anymore."

'Echikale' in Palagattan is someone who lusts after food. Such people, spend time licking their fingers and keep polishing their plates of leftovers, while still continuing to lick their fingers. This behavior alone does not earn them the sobriquet of 'echikale'. To be an 'echikale' you must take this tendency seriously and demonstrate it as a guest in someone else's home or function. Of late, however, it is used as a derogatory term to make someone feel like a worm, especially when that someone is dependent on others for support. It is also applicable to those who are hyper-parakavattis (greedy) and will go to any extreme to get some food, even if it is a left over. "Chi, echikale. Unnakku naan illama ethavudhu kadaikumma". "Hey cheapo. Can you ever get anything without me (my largese/support)?!" This is such a bizarre Palagattan word because one can't even fathom people behaving as leftover-mongers in a family context for such a name to befall them. So, an apt usage is in a derogatory context as discussed above.

After the India General Elections, Lalu and SP appear to be 'nozhaneris', while the Left may be aptly called (by the Congress) 'echikales' and, although everyone loves to hate him, M.K.Azhagiri may qualify as an 'unnamglass velichapadu'.

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