Friday, January 21, 2005

Chennai Senthamizh

Statutory Warning: This post is sort of a useful for the purposes of TOTFL (Test Of Tamil as Foreign Language) esp. madras tamil. Also, this blog involves quite a few classical tamil usages which or otherwise unknown in many other versions of tamil only, not to talk of other languages. Those of you who do not know or appreciate this language are requested to move on to the next post and not read any further...
Something Interesting...

Tho Daa Naina..,

The aesthetic quality of Madras Tamil comes from the fact that a classical (and old) language like Tamil is given that contemporary touch by the constructive intrusions from languages like Hindi, Telugu, Greek, Italian, Persian and most importantly English (naduvula konjam uttaks naina). As a result, the language may sound uncivilized, from the point of view of the Madurai folks, who seemingly say 'Vaanga..ponga..' even before 'veesing' the 'veecharuvaa' and the Coimbatore folks who add this sickening slur to every statement... and in their obsession with pure Tamil curb the unfettered evolution of the language, thereby
leading to little or no development of the language itself.

For instance, words like 'bejaar', 'peela', 'saavu graaki' have no sense and no equivalents in the Southern dialects of tamil. Certainly an inexplicable loss to Tamil Language! Now, really getting into the mechanics of the spoken language, the most important point is the relative position of the lips while speaking. While most tamil dialects involve a cavity of 2 inches between the lips,Madras tamil involves a much lesser gap (0.5 to 1.2 Inches). Mastering the exact position is half the language learnt.

Assuming we're using flash cards,

Card# 1.

All words -- more specifically, all verbs need to be consistently shortened adhering to a set of strict rules. padiththu(read), mudiththu(complete), sabiththu(curse) will be gracefully shortened as 'Pachchi', 'muchchi', 'sabchi'. Note the conversion of the syllable 'da' to 'cha'. This is essentially true for the entire gamut of emotions to be conveyed in Madras Tamil. 'kondirukkiren' is converted for simplicity to '...nikkeren'.

As a corollary, 'padiththu kondirukkiren' = 'pachchi-nikkeren'
'kuliththu kondirukkiren' = 'kulchi-nikkeren'.

Readers can understand immediately that this was done to save time, so that in the same period of time a Madras Tamilar can convey 1.5 times that of a Madurai Tamilar and 5000 times that of a Coimbatore Tamilar (depending on the length of the drawl... like 'yaeeeeeeenunga?' or when you take a bus trip from Gandhi Puram to Pappanayakka Palayam you come to hear words like yaeeeeeenungaaaaa oaaru papnayakka palayam
koodungeeeeeee and by the time the sentence is finished, Pappanayakkan Palayam would have arrived) One anomaly to this shortening rule is, some words get suffixed with the syllable 'ka'. So, summa = summaka, dhoora = dhooraka.

Card# 2.

Madras Tamil does not use 'neenga' and 'nee' in different contexts. In fact, only 'nee' is used. This is not a deliberate attempt to degrade someone in public, but to offer a level playing field for everyone. So if the auto-karan asks 'engaponum, unakku?' do not feel offended.

Card# 3.

'da' is used by ALL IIT guys and ALL policemen for quite different reasons. The tone of 'ennada, license enga, vootlaya?' and 'what da, where is the Jantha, da?' are self-explanatory. Incidentally, all words beginning with 'vee' can be unconditionally substituted with 'voo'.

So 'Veedu' = 'voodu' and 'Vittuvidu' = 'vuttudu'.

Coming back to 'da', a euphemism for that would be 'ba'. So a 'ennada' would be made to sound much less offensive with 'ennaba'. Other less effective words, principally used among friends include 'naina','vaadhyaare', 'machi', 'berther'(brother),'allo'(hello)... the list is endless. When it comes to expressing intimacy and friendship, Madras Tamil is the best in the world.

Card# 4.

'enna'(what?) in Madras is 'innaa?'. So, combining cards (1) and (4), (sorry ba, 12th Maths madhiree aaychee) 'innaa pachchinikkera?', 'innaa kachinikkera?'.

Card# 5.

The syllable 'zha'(as in tamizh) becomes 'ya'. So, 'vaazhai pazham' is 'vaaya payam', 'vaazhkai' is 'vaaykai', 'vazhukki' is 'vaykki'. Off the record, 'zha' is a pain in the butt. More than 95% of Tamil Nadu substitutes it with 'ya' or 'la'. (yours truly being an exception uses "zha" very easily and as and when warranted)

Card# 6.

When it comes to borrowing words from other languages 'Madrassukku nigar Madrasse'. English words can be used in any context without feeling alien. 'wrongu', 'rightu', 'yechuse me', 'adjist', 'abase', 'abscond', 'beetiful', 'super', 'fruitu', 'pil im','figureu' and so on. Hindi has its contributions like 'bejaar'. Telugu:'naina', 'baava', 'eppudu', 'cheppu' etc. Many such languages have their representation all of which cannot be listed here. Also singular and plurals in English are inversed. So, even one lady becomes 'ladees', one friend becomes 'priends', a vegetable puff becomes 'puphs' etc.


Superlatives are mostly functions of time and fame. But some superlatives like 'Lord Labakdas','Amrican citizen', 'Columbus', 'pisthu', 'pistha' can be used at any time,anywhere, guaranteed. The etymology of these words are unknown. Slangs are very important in Madras. Especially while drunk, during 'kozha adi sandai' and in the 'paal booth'. 'saavu graaki', 'somaari', 'kasmalum' can be used as and when required.

(Tamil spoken at Ethiraj, Stella Maris is entirely different and is beyond the scope of this blog.)

Disclaimer: Any Incidents quoted in the article if resembling reality are purely coincidental
PS: This blog is a copy-paste from some friends group after sufficiently changing it to fit the style of the owner of this blog. Also, for those who do not understand the purpose of this blog, we call it "vanja pugazhchi aNi" in tamil.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

All for a Soap?

Yesterday morning while sipping my coffee, this page three newspiece caught my attention.

A 15 year old girl committed suicide by hanging herself, for she was not allowed by her mother to watch TV in view of the forthcoming exams.

This was not the single incident of the kind. The day before, on the same newspaper, on page four.

A 17 year old boy committed suicide by hanging himself, as his father did not allow him to watch the first-day-first-show of the movie of film star vijay that was released on Pongal Day.

These are just a drop out of the ocean of such incidents which keep happening around you. This kind of things which some people resort to, are quite disturbing.

Is a human life, just worth a half-an-hour soap on TV, which is gonna generate buckets of tears out of both on and off screen or a movie, which is anyday watchable for the next few weeks or worst comes worst, by the turn of this year on some TV Channel, with a claim, that it is the first time such a new-super-hit-movie is being telecasted.

When would one realise that the actual worth of any of these wordly mundane things is nothing more a trifle? in fact not even the amount of time and energy and money you spend on it? After all, should one not realise the importance of a life. The amount of pains parents take in having a child and raising the child is something one would actually realise only when one has kids. My mom always tells this, "you will know what i feel, when ur son behaves this way to you". I did not understand this statement for quite a long time till my brother did exactly the same stuff 7 years later.

Losing a kid for such a frivolous reason, can cause all sorts of problems in a parent. The kid would have been the dream and future of the particular parents. Now, what would remain, a photo which will hang on the wall, cherished memories, a feeling of having lost something which was the only hold on life, blank future. Above all this, when such a parent hears a slain comment on the incident from somebody known, it is more hurting and that would be the moment the parent would not have wanted to live.

We youngsters should realise the importance of a parent, living in india, we should be more sensitive to such issues and human relations, especially the two of them who were responsible for you being you. Now, I dont make a claim that parents are always right, they are wrong at times, but still you are something special for them and they are something special for you.

Thats the height of being philosophical, still such incidents do have a lot of mental disturbances created. With today's journalism, turning into more of a sensational type, such issues are sure not going to escape, public attention. Things of this kind going public means, people who are directly affected would suffer more.

Why has the younger generation gone so weak? If they cannot tolerate such small disappointments, how would they face the eternal truth and all the failures of life? Why is such a generation coming up? Children need to be more groomed in the right by teachers right from the beginning. Teachers of the day should take more care in imparting the right quality of education, rather than punishing kids asking them to write impostions for 100 times even towards the last years of school.

Parents should have discreation in accepting requests from children. There is no necessity to get anything the child wants. What if the child does not get something he/she asks for? Children should be taught to get thro' disappointments also. That will always make a good blend of a personality and educate then to tackle failures.

In today's materialistic fast world, people dont find time to take care of other family members. It is all money driven. Kids dont get to parents even as often as they see cash. With currency notes, they get anything they want and no parents to obstruct all that they want, children are openly exposed to all the evils of the society. This makes them more vulnerable for all that they should not know. In the earlier days, with old people at home, there was a curb on what one is usually exposed to. In today's nuclear families, this is also lost. Once a kid at tender age has an exposure to all he/she wants, and then in adolescence when they face one disappointment, they are not able to digest it and hence resort to adverse things.

As a society, we should all do some soul searching and see what we are shaping the society for? Should we not develop the society? Such trends and news items are far from what we should take the society towards...

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Neues Jahr

The New year of the gregorian Calender has begun. Though one does not associate much importance to the starting of an Christian Year, AD 2005 started off six days ago, on a sad note atleast for this part of the world. The Nation on the whole is trying to come to terms with what was one of the most disastrous incidents in recent times. Most parts of the southern pennisular Coast had been subjected to the wrath of Lord Neptune, who did cool down and went back, but left behind no trace of anything that existed in those areas earlier.

Originally uploaded by bharath.

Most residential Areas which were close to the sea shore were completely cleaned, with nothing at all left behind. People lost everything, but for the set of clothes they were wearing. Many lost even close relatives. In some cases, loosing the whole family. It was a very bad day after Christmas. Chennai, actually, was one of the almost "unhit" parts. Still there were thousands left with nothing. I dont even wish to think of people who lived in parts further down south of Tamil Nadu or elsewhere the Tsunami actually did "HIT".

With Nature showing its Wrath, fellow homo sapiens are pouring in with help and aid. There are many people who need this. What is more disturbing is that, these people who need help, do not accept anything you give them. People though are starving without food, unless somebody offers, do not eat unless it is the regular food they eat. It is appauling to find that, they actually throw the food given to them, if they dont find it worthy though it is good in quality and in taste. For instance, people from the fishing hamlets refuse to eat anything but for cooked fish. They do not want to eat anything else, even if they starve.

One is left in a confused state as to whether it is correct for people to stick to their stand and say that, they would want only their staple food, fish for instance in the case of fishermen or do eat whatever is offered till they setup something to sustain themselves...

One is reminded of an age old saying in tamil which translates as, "A Tiger may starve to death, but still would not eat grass". It boils down to the age old question of India, Which is important, Self Esteem or Survival?

The following is an article which talks of similar issues.
An Article on THE HINDU, Chennai Edition, 5th January 2005

Some mails on mailing lists.
Interactions with people who actually went to affected areas.
My visit to places near marina which were affected.

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