Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Linguistic Suicide

Quaint stories are indeed pretty
But with them you only get so far
Just for a moment stop being witty
And write a story that's rated R

Regular readers of this blog would know that my sentiments towards the Hindi language aren't exactly what one would call 'fond'.Gobind Ballab Pant shakes his head in disgust. And it took some explaining (to myself too) to establish that it was only socio political and nothing purely linguistic.But of late I have been trying to question these things about my 'beliefs'. I try to sift out some which were perhaps not quite true but just forceful self-reiterations (please do not try this at home).

And so the pure linguistic question came up and I was sifting through memories to see what went wrong between Hindi and me. I never believed in this 'relative ease of learning' that is widely touted as Hindi's usp. For instance, you have to know the words for the numbers from 1 to 100 in order to know the words for the numbers from 1 to 100. My knowledge was in spurts. Till 13 there was Madhuri. Pachpan thanks to 555 detergent jingle. Chappan thanks to Nana Patekar. It went nowhere.

Learning Hindi from films and BR Chopra mythologicals is not as easy as they make it out to be. I first went to Bombay armed with two expressions: "AyushmAn bhava" and "mein maa bannEwAli hoon". Yet I did continue to depend on pop sources because even the traditional streams are not based on a building block approach to language learning.I remember learning bigger Tamil words through the neat mathematical additions of smaller words. Naturally I assumed that is how the Hindi world worked. And boy was I wrong.

As an early teen discovering the Hindi language and hitherto unknown parts of... English and Tamil too, I had a wry smile worked up when I struck up on the word khudkushi. Khud- self and Khushi-joy. One can't help but put two and two together. I could trade the knowledge of this word to my Hindiflunking brethren to boost my flagging middle-school popularity to an unassailable high, I thought. That my hopes were dashed perhaps the Freudian explanation for the virulent antipathy I nurse.

For all those spelling bee kids who ask for context: The sentence I heard it in was: woh ladki nahi mili tho khudkushi karEgA kyA ?

Monday, October 12, 2009

NammAzhwAr, Javed Akthar and your humble blogger

I have this intense need to understand words in songs. As none of you knows the real reason, I can dramatize a flashback: My foray into learning singing was cut short when my teacher wouldn't accede to my demand for explaining the lyric: pilachinapalukavunalukakurA.

Cut to today. I have been quite taken by Amit Trivedi's latest song : Iktara
And to iron out the niggle of not being able to enjoy the song fully I googled up lyric translations done for the benefit of the Hindilliterate rest of us in We, the nation. The word manvA personifying 'mann' at the head of the song was quite interesting. Not sure if that is something Javed Akthar cooked up or it is a prevalent usage - it ties into the beckoning I am familiar with (in a not so previous jenmam I used to respond to PrabhuA).

Interesting particularly because it is a personification that used to exist in poems in Tamil.
In the very first poem of the thiruvAimozhi, nammAzhwAr's last line reads:

துயரறு சுடரடி தொழுது எழு என் மனனே

The third person masculine usage manan (as in மனனே) is a personfication of the more common third person neutral 'manam'. And that throwaway piece of trivia I labored to connect made me like the song even more.

So much so that I am going to foist a translation - reasonably fitting the tune my publicist brags- on you unsuspecting faithful readers

ஓ என் மனனே நீ கொஞ்சம் கிறுக்கு பயல்தான்
உனக்கு மட்டுமே தெரியும் உன் எண்ணம்தான்
உனக்கு மட்டுமே தெரியும் உந்தன் எண்ணம் -கிறுக்கனே
ஏன் காட்டினாய் கனவுகள் இரவு பகலாய்

துளித்துளியா கனவு மழைக்கும்பொழுது
விழிகள் தன்னை நிரைக்கும் பொழுது....
துளித்துளியா கனவு மழைக்கும்பொழுது
விழிகள் தன்னை நிரைக்கும் பொழுது

தெரியாத பாதையில்

இசைப்பதெங்கோ ஒரு ஒரு-நாண் யாழ் எங்கோ
இசைப்பதெங்கோ ஒரு ஒரு-நாண் யாழ் -மெல்ல
முணுமுணுக்கும் ஒரு ஒரு-நாண் யாழ் எங்கோ
இசைப்பதெங்கொ ஒரு ஒரு நாண் யாழ்

கேட்கிறேனே நினைவிழந்து நானும் ஏதோ கதையை
முழுநீள கதைதான் என்ன யாரறிவார்
பிறிதொருவனுக்குள்ளவளாகி இதையும் அறியவில்லை நான்
வேனிலா, கணப்பொழுதா-இது சாஸ்வதமா
//யாரறிவார் யாரற்றிவார்//

துளித்துளியா கனவு மழைக்கும்பொழுது
விழிகள் தன்னை நிரைக்கும் பொழுது
துளித்துளியா கனவு மழைக்கும்பொழுது
விழிகள் தன்னை நிரைக்கும் பொழுது
தெரியாத பாதையில்


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Persistent Random Blogbrowsing

...is not a good thing.

Anyway, to twist a Gounderquote:

பிச்சைக்காரனுக்கு insecurity பிச்சைக்காரனே