Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kid Speak!

V for Vadivelu-2

It is around ten in the night and V complains of stomach pain. Knowing very well that it is because of the heat, I bring out a bottle of Castor oil and rub the oil on his tummy. The following conversation takes place...

V: Amma... ithu enna (What is this)
Me: Velakkennai (Castor Oil)
V: Vilakkuku ethara yennaia (is this oil used for lighting a lamp?)
Me: No.
V: Appo itha vechu vilakku etha mudiyatha? (Can't we light a lamp with this?)
Me: No. Athuku Nallennai use pannuvom (We use sesame oil for that)
V: Appo ithu nalla ennai illaya?
Me: Illapa...ithu nalla ennai thaan
V: Appo Vilaku ethalaama?
Me: Illa paaa...Ithu peru Velakennai. Athu peru Nalennai. Aana rendum Nalla ennai thaan (I explain which is for what and that both are good)
V: Appo thoppaila tadavarathum Nalennaiya?? (Here he means sesame oil)
Me (simply nods head and to self) : Aaahaaa...ippove kanna katudhe (A famous 'Vadivel' dialogue which can be loosely interpreted as 'I am already exhausted...but I know there's still more to come'.


Velakkenai: This is Tamil for Castor oil. When broken into two the word becomes 'Vilaku ennai' which could also mean oil used for lighting silver or brass lamps.

Nallennai: This is Tamil for Sesame/ Gingelly or Til oil. The word when broken into two becomes Nalla ennai which literally means 'good oil' in Tamil

Explanation -Video

Monday, April 26, 2010

Hanumanin Ramayanam

The much awaited copy of Hanuman's Ramayan (my copy for review is in Tamil) arrived last week for my 'efforts' at Tulika's first blogathon. At first read it is a simple story but one may need to explain that the Ramayana has been written in many languages by various people and has been passed on through various forms, for little children to understand. Though V knows a few stories from the Ramayana, I think it will take some more time for him to understand the above.

The story begins with Valmiki, after completing the epic, carrying it with him all around the world and the heavens to show off his work. While it is praised by the Gods, Narada announces that this may not be the greatest work and that the one written by Hanuman may be better. Valmiki unable to believe that a monkey can do a better job than him travels all over to reach the garden in which Hanuman resides and finds the Ramayan written on huge Banana leaves. Tears of joy (also from the fact that this is better than his work) flow from his eyes only to be consoled by Hanuman. How? One has to read the book to find out!

The story is written by Devdutt Pattnaik who uses mild humor to explain that there is no one version of the epic.
Nancy Raj's art work carries on the story beautifully. I was particularly delighted at the pictures of the 'Devas' and Hanuman's abode.

What I liked most about the story is the message Hanuman passes on that would have an effect on Adults as well.
The following is an attempt to do justice to the fact that this book was sent for my post on native languages.

துலிகா நிறுவனத்தின் முதல் ப்லோகதனில் பங்கேற்றதினால் எனக்கு அவர்களின்  அனுமனின் ராமாயணம் என்ற அருமையான புத்தகம் பரிசாக கிடைத்தது. புத்தகம் தமிழில் உள்ளதால் இந்த வர்ணனனையின் ஒரு சிறு பகுதியாவது  தமிழில் இருக்க வேண்டும் என்று விரும்பினேன்!

ராமாயணத்தை சிறுவர் , முழுவதாகவோ அல்லது சிறு கதைகளவோ அறிந்திருக்க வாய்ப்பு இருக்கிறது. இந்த தொன்மம் கதைகளாகவும், பாடல்களாகவும் நம்மிடயே  புழங்குகிறது. அதே போல் பலர் எழுதியதாக சொல்ல பட்டாலும் வால்மிகியின் ராமாயணம், மிகவும் பிரபலமாக அறியப்படுகிறது.

இந்த கதை, வால்மீகி ராமாயணத்தை எழுதி முடிப்பதில் இருந்து தொடங்குகிறது. அவருக்கு தன் படைப்பை பற்றி மிகவும் பெருமை. அதை பறை சாற்றி கொள்வதற்கு உலகம் முழுவதம் ஏன் தேவ லோகத்திற்கும் செல்கிறார். அப்பொழுது நாரதர் (எப்பொழுதும் போல்!) அவரின் பகற்றை உடைப்பது போல், வால்மிகின் ராமயணத்தை விட உயர்வானதொரு ராமாயணத்தை அனுமன் எழுதியிருபதாக சொல்கிறார்.

பதற்றம் அடைகிற வால்மீகி அனுமனை தேடி செல்கிறார். நெடு தூர பயணத்திற்கு பிறகு அனுமன் வசிக்கும் தோட்டத்தை அடையும் வால்மீகி அங்கு வாழை இலைகளில் அனுமன் எழுதியிருக்கும் ராமாயணத்தை படித்த பிறகு கண்ணீர் வடிக்கிறார். அனுமன்
ஆறுதல் கூறுகிறார்.

அனுமனின் ராமாயணம் ஏன் நமிடம் தற்போது புழங்குவதில்லை?
வால்மீகியை அனுமன் எவ்வாறு தேற்றுகிறார்?
இக்கேள்விகளுக்கான விடை புத்தகத்தில்.

இந்த கதையை தேவ்டட் பட்நாயக் இயற்றியிருக்கிறார் (தமிழாக்கம் ஷங்கர் ராமசுப்ரமணியன்). கதையின் நடை சுவாரசியமாக உள்ளது. ஆனால் கருத்தோ பெரியவர் சிறுவர் அனைவருக்கும் பொருந்தும். கதை சொல்பவர் அல்ல, கதையே முக்கியம் என்பதே அது.  நான்சி ராஜின் சித்திரங்கள் அருமையாகவும் வித்தியாசமாகவும் உள்ளன.

கதையின் கதை என்று இதை தான் சொல்வார்களோ!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Summer Camp!

We finally decided upon that one place where we knew V would have a lot of fun plus activities to do. It was also decided that he would go for a week for the time being. V's amma was particularly happy because she could also accompany him. Sounds bizarre? Read on...

The 'place' had a well and a garden. V's activities included playing near the well watching birds and butterflies in the garden. For the first time he came face to face with a garden lizard (Onan) and he was delighted because though it was bigger than his friend the 'palli' (lizard), this Onan stayed put at one place and kept staring! Also, his 'friends' at the place, though older were always at his beck and call.

We also enjoyed additional 'benefits' such as free stay and food, what with me hogging me like never before because the 'camp' happened to be at V's maternal grandparents place! That also meant a never before (at least until recently) a 'laze-as-you-please' routine for both of us.

V just had too many things to do like playing the 'dholak' (which he had dutifully taken along) with his 'Kollu Paati' (Great grand mother), playing with water near the well, occasional 'washing of clothes', cooking with his paati's utensils, riding 'elephant' on his Thatha and generally getting all muddy and dirty.

What was the amma doing in the meantime? Apart from wasting time and watching TV and wasting more time, I managed to dig into my old stuff and found some story books from my Class One days, for V. The books definitely did n't look 25 years old so I brought them along when we came back! Needless to emphasize, V is waiting to go back to his Thatha's place again!

                                                     - - - - - - -

V was showing of his latest skills in logic and speech sometimes simultaneously.

His favorite phrase these days is "mooka aruthu kaakaiku potuduven" (Cutting one's nose and offering it to the crow- I don't know where he picked that from)
One day he came running in after having spotted an 'Onan'. He pulled out his 'play-doh' kit and took out a 'knife'
Me: Enna panna pora (What are you going to do?)
V: Onaanoda mooka aruthu kaakaiku poda poren
 It is another story that he kept screaming 'Onan vaa' a good five meters away from the lizard...

It was around nine in the night when V wanted to visit the backyard.
Me: No...there are cats around...
V: Naan vilayaaduven (I'll play with them)
Me: They'll bite you
V: Naan adipen (I'll beat them)
Me: The doctor will give injections...
V: Yaaruku? (for?)


One day we were sitting near the well and playing 'auto-auto' with V sitting on the washing stone...
V:  Amma...Naa kenathula kuthika poren... (I am going to jump into the well)
Me:  Mandaya odachupa (You will break your head)
V, sounding happy:  Appo Thalaiku kulika mudiyatha? (Then I can 't have a head bath?)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tamizh Padam!

I finally watched 'Tamizh Padam' and am still smiling! Since it imitates and spoofs films, the audience for a change can relax, without worrying if they would like or not like the film.
Though this reminded me of the 'trailers' from college days with titles such as 'Mazhai peyala...Janala thiranthu veyunga', I guess anything else would have made it appear more 'serious'.

The master stroke (in my opinion that is, I am not making a film and do not want to offend anyone!) was the song 'Oh Mahaziya...'. A hero's introduction songs are beyond comprehension anyway, and it is easy to coin the lyrics. But a duet may upset the plans and let somebody else make fun of the film sometime later. So what does a clever director do...waste no money and time on lyrics. I never realized that there are so many super hit songs with incomprehensible 'words'.

Some sequences like the one in which the Hero 'grows up', the one song millionaire and the identity of the villain, were on predictable lines, having brought up on a healthy diet of 'variety entertainment' and 'Ad-zap' during college days.

The 'Mouna Ragam' scene, the 'family song', the 'twist' in 'Delhi' Ganesh's murder and a few other sequences were ..well... unexpected! I hope at least one film like this gets released every year so that a 'non-theater-visiting-species' like me can watch all the other films in a 'nut' shell!

To sum up, a single line review of Tamizh Padam, borrowed from the film itself:
"Too much...thaangalai..kadavuleee...mudiyala"!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Kid Speak!

V, The Know-it-all

V and his Paati play a game regularly, according to which, when V comes back home he rings the bell and Paati has to come and open the door. Similarly when Paati or Thatha come back home, they have to ring the bell for V to open the door. Paati normally teases V by asking, as she opens the door, "Who is it..Oh you? I thought it was the milkman, courier etc."

One day Paati rings the bell...

V: Who is it? Oh you...I thought it was the flower vendor...

On another occasion...

Whenever V needs to be coaxed or cajoled into something -the case most of the time- I'd have to feed his morning milk with a spoon. When there is just a spoonful left I normally say 'adi vazhichu aanai kutti', a well known phrase in these parts to encourage a child to finish his/her food completely. On this particular day, I forget to say the phrase and somehow manage to collect a few more drops from the tumbler...

V : (pauses for a few seconds) Amma...Nee maranthutiya? (Did you forget?)

V for Vadivelu

Me: V...You want Idli or Corn flakes?
V: Eh??
Me: Idliya corn flakesa?
V: Enna? (what?)
Me: Enna venum?
V: Enna enna?
Me: ???

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Annual Day Notes...

V's school celebrated, what they called their 'Family day' last weekend. All the branches were a part of this with every little student participating in what was a big event for the little ones. A rehearsal was held a couple of days earlier and needless to say it was a rehearsal for parents and teachers, since, as anticipated, the children did the unexpected (those who did n't cry, cried and vice versa!) on the D-day.

Cluck cluck here...
Our little brat was a little chick in the 'Old McDonald had a farm' performance. It is another story that all the 'chickens' were dressed in hen and rooster costumes! When we took him to the shop where we hired the costume, he wore it (to our surprise) and refused to get out of it.

...and a rehearsal there...
V danced like there is no second chance on the day of the rehearsals but I was not up beat because I wanted to see what he would do on the said day. One parent or an escort was to be on stage with each child in V's batch as they were the youngest of the lot. So there I was kneeling on the floor behind V. Before I knew it, there were tears in my eyes. I only wished his aunties would n't notice and they did n't because, some children too (?!) had tears in thier eyes. More on this at the end of the post...

The D-day
V woke up, unusually early and we were worried because this meant tantrums. On the previous day too he refused to remove his 'costume'. On this particular day, he first refused to have his bath and then insisted on having two. He then refused to wear his diaper (we were wary of the toilets available at the Hall) and did so after a lot of cajoling. Then he wanted to play his 'Dholak' in 'full costume' and wanted a photograph clicked. Finally he refused to wear his socks. That was that....He was carried bawling to the car and Paati and Thatha in tow, all of us headed to the Hall.

It was a grand event. As expected, V who is a terror at home (only) was at his best behavior and even as the other kids refused to wear their costumes or removed them before entering the stage, a sweating V refused to come out of his, even after his dance. This time, 'my on-stage performance' was uneventful.

Despite crying children, the heat, over-enthusiastic parents, and the sheer number (the Hall that would normally seat about 1500 people, was full), it was a wonderful day and the school had done an excellent job.

I emphasize the above because many parents felt it was badly organized. A few questions to them...

Have you handled more than five children at a time?
Hav n't you ever been in Chennai at this time of the year in a crowded place? and finally...
When the school clearly stated that a child should be accompanied to the stage - that too only if required, by only one escort, why was your entire family near the stage?

Anyway it was a typical 'some people are like this only' situation.

Now coming 'back' to the rehearsal episode. I did exactly what a non-sage-like person would do when she/he sees a fully dressed child-chick, ducks, cows shaking their hips, from behind.Needless to say, those were tears of laughter and I almost hurt myself half-rolling on the ground!

(Note to self: Do not allow V to read this blog)