Sunday, August 9, 2009

Grandsire cut in alabaster...and more

I forsee an Ambedkar-style caged existence for Thiru VaLLuvar.

Was googling up his opposite number, who is coming up in Natesan Park as a compromise measure. The man who took up the modest moniker Sarvajna, immediately caught my fancy with:

" Dinner without butter milk is like a lady without shy".


  1. :) Nice. I shall take this to my mom who keep complaining that it gives me Asthma.

  2. Thiruvalluva Paamaalai (if I remember correctly) while singing the praises of the kural, makes a very subtle point muppaalil naarppaal mozhindhavar (or something very close). So even while the regular reader enjoys the apparent majesty of the kural, it seems to yield subtler details to the more discerning ones.

    Subtlety clearly not an uniform virtue, but maybe again it's the translation's fault.

  3. BNB, just annoyed that poor old Valluvar is going to have his nose cracked one of these days because of these linguistic fervour jazz.

    // muppaalil naarppaal mozhindhavar //
    நாற்பால் as in the Vedas ?
    The statue near Sanskrit college Mylapore has him sporting a Saivite vibhuti. He was a Vedic v he was a Jaina - is something people are still wrestling about. So much for a statue !
    You may have noticed a statue for the elusive Tolkappiar in Madurai (the etymology of Tolkappiar and Tolkappiam remains a chicken-and-egg problem till date !).

    //it seems to yield subtler details to the more discerning ones.//
    There are some reading that go beyond the interpretations of Pari mEl azhagar (what a name !) and delve into the worlds. Like

    காலத்தினாற் செய்த உதவி சிறிதெனினும்
    ஞாலத்தின் மானப் பெரிது

    Here the ஞாலத்தின் is apparently chosen not just for rhythm but because the world helps you in its own terms and not in your terms/urgency.

    There is another one, in Karunanidhi's alternative reading which is excellent, I will post about it sometime.

  4. muppal: Aram, Porul, Inbam
    naarpaal: Veedu (mukthi)

  5. Remember me from the "Pun" post? Idhu edhuvum enakku onnum puriyalai naalum "Thiruvalluvar" name paatha odaney romba senti ya aayiduthu.

    I lived right opposite Valluvar Kottam (Tank Rd.) for six years in the early 80s, and my servant maid, who was a certified cinema paiththiyum, used to haul me off to see shootings there, guaranteeing my safe arrival to my folks, even if it happened to be in the wee hours of the night.

    Lucky me, my folks trusted her THAT much that I got to watch the shooting of one of the songs in Sagara Sangamam (Jayapradha and Kamal, dressed in all-white silken finery, dancing by the twin elephant statues on the back side of the Valluvar Kottam), late at night...unforgettable, I say, for a third grader!

    Thanks for that nostalgia tangent.

  6. //Idhu edhuvum enakku onnum puriyalai naalum//
    A ThiruvaLLuvar statue has come up in Bangalore amid looming threat of vandalism from hardcore Kannada chauvinist locals. In a bid to reach a compromise TN has unveiled a statue of Sarvajna - a Kannada poet who also wrote short 3 liners. Upon a cursory examination of the samples available in wikipedia I, even after trying hard to remove traces of chauvinism on my part, found them underwhelming.

    Hence this mild registration of annoyment on the statue culture ('grandsire cut in alabaster' is a line used by Gratiano in Merchant of Venice when speaking dismissively of statues and the austerity and seriousness that they are designed to inspire).

    //unforgettable, I say, for a third grader!//
    I wouldn't bother qualifiying that with age. It is unforgettable for anyone.

    btw I live right near Valluvar Kottam, Lake Area. The hall -which is TN's govt fallback option for any fucntion- itself is a wonder, I think it is the largest one in India without a pillar in the middle.

  7. You are too sweet, dagalti Saar, for taking the trouble to sketch context! :-)

    And since I consider it somewhat of a crime to so much as allude to one condiment/crystal without (at least) a passing reference to its complementary other, here goes: That pillar you talk of in your last line took me on a Biblical tour, to Lot's wife in Genesis 19:23, who's turned into a Pillar of Salt.