Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kid Speak!

One morning, V woke up early and as is the norm dragged himself into the living room, sat on the couch and started blinking. When this is the case, either H or I try to 'wake him up' by gently pulling his ears and he loves that. On that fateful morning it was my turn and it turned out that he had a pain in his right ear and he yelled.

That evening, suspecting an ear infection we took him to the Doctor. H told V (because he was talking too much!) that he had to explain to the doctor what his problem was and both Amma and Appa will stay quiet. the doctor, like on all occasions asked,

Doctor: Enna aachu? (what happened)
V: Kaathu Valikuthu (Ear is paining)
Doctor: Why?
V: Amma Kaatha pidichu izhuthuta (amma pulled my ears) 

When a child says this, the doctor naturally had to say this,
Yaen, neenga veshamam pannengala (Why, were you naughty)

Now my ears turned red!

Friday, June 11, 2010

More Tamil Rhymes...

How did I ever forget these?! Some songs for 'play-time'.

Thenna Marathula Earathey...
This is sung when a baby has learnt to stand on his/her own and can balance himself/herself on someone else's feet. The adult sits on a chair, holds the hand of the child while he/she stands on the adult's feet and the latter lifts his legs up and down. This is very a popular 'game' and almost every child loves it.

Thenna Marathula Earathey...
Thengaiyai parikaathey
Mamaruthula Earathey..
Maangayai Parikathey
Aathula vizhariya
Sethula Vizhariya
Illa Ammaiyar paati kulathula vizhariya?

Don't climb the coconut tree, don't pluck coconuts, Don't climb a Mango tree and pluck mangoes. Will you fall into the river, gutter or Ammaiyar paati's pond?
This Ammaiyar Paati character is central in many songs and stories.

In one story, about an impatient sparrow, a hungry sparrow asks Mrs. Ammaiyar to make him some 'Payasam' (Kheer). She asks him to bring ingredients like milk, cashew, dry-grapes and ghee. He flies of to get each with his tiny beak and eagerly watches as the Paati begins cooking. Once the sparrow finds that the Payasam is made, he tries to gulp it down without thinking and burns his tongue (?). The 'Paati' asks him to 'cool' the Payasam to normal temperature by placing it in a bowl of water. The sparrow leaves the vessel in a pond, thinking that the large sheet of water would cool his payasam quickly. On the contrary, the vessel topples and the pond becomes a 'payasam-pond'. The poor sparrow then goes on to drink all the water in the pond and bloats like a balloon. The Paati asks him to stuff his mouth with hay. After some time a hungry cow comes near the pond. On spotting a bunch of hay, she begins to eat it. Soon all the payasam-water spills out of the sparrow and the village is flooded. While ending the story, even as a delighted child watches eagerly, one sings

"Aadu maadu kolam kulam
Ammaiyar Paati kolam kulam"

(Kulam-pond, Aadu, Maadu-cattle.)

When a baby is able to play with his/her fist, he/she is encouraged to thump the fist on the palm of the adult, who sings,

Amma Kuthu
Gumma Kuthu
Paati kuthu
Peran kuthu
Pillayar kuthu
Pidichiko kuthu...

When the adult says pidichiko he/she tries to grab the child's fist who should learn to pull it away.
Translation: Kuthu-punch. Paati-Grandmother, Peran-Grandson. Pillayar-Lord Ganesha

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The story of Bondapalli...Not so silly!

What happens when a ball of batter accidentally falls into hot oil? A sizzling bonda emerges, leading to a satisfied Prince, a content Kingdom and a ..well...Bondaful story! Shamim Padamsee's 'The Silly Story of Bondapalli', published by Tulika, is a wonderful story not only for children but also for adults, who want to have a good laugh after a stressful day. That's what I did. I don't know if my little enjoyed as much as I did (The recommended age is 5+) but I laughed out loud while reading the book...something I hav n't done in a long long time.

A young Prince fusses over food and an 'accident' leads to the discovery of the Bonda. It becomes the Prince's favorite food. So much so that people in the Kingdom start eating Bondas everyday and this leads to a happy re-arrangement of their lives and homes. The Kindom then becomes, you guessed right-Bondapalli! What happens when a neighboring King hears of this, forms the rest of the story.

The word 'Bonda' caught V's attention. The story captures the very essence of childhood- children protesting against what they don't like and wanting to have only what they are fond of.

As is with every other book, Ashok Rajagopalan's illustrations are catchy and for a child as little as V, they in a way explain the crux of the story. In V's words, 'Amma, atho paar bonda veedu, Bonda Mama, Bonda Kaaka' (Bonda house, Uncle and crow). Simply 'Bondastic'! Older children are likely to understand and enjoy the humor.

After reading the book I could n't help wanting for more. If my instincts are right, we can expect a series under 'Adventures at Bondapalli'!
(Picture courtesy Tulika Books)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tamil rhymes and songs from childhood..

After shamelessly missing out on their third Blogathan, I am all set for Tulika's Blogathan-4 Rhymes, chants and playground songs, simply because this gives a chance to recall songs from my childhood, some of which I am passing on to V.There are many many rhymes and songs in Tamil. To add to these, each family has its own version.

My most favorite 'playground' song, is like a never-ending set of questions and answers. There are many versions. But this was the version I came across first and began 'singing' to V, ever since he was a fourth-month old fetus! We used to sing this instead of 'Inky Pinky Ponky' while choosing players in a game.

Enna biscuit? Jam biscuit
Enna Jam? Co-Jam
Enna Co?Tea-Co
Enna Tea? Roti
Enna Roti? Bun-Roti
Enna Bun? Ribbon
Enna Ribbon? Pachhai Ribbon
Enna Pachhai? Ma pachhai
Enna ma? Amma
Enna Amma? Teacher Amma
Enna teacher? Kanakku Teacher
Enna kannaku? Veetu Kannaku
Enna veedu? Madi Veedu
Enna maadi? Motta Madi
Enna mottai? Thirupathi mottai

Translation: Enna-What, Roti-Bread/ Bun, Pachai-Green, Amma-Mother, Kanaku teacher-Maths teacher, Veedu-home- Mottai Madi-Terrace


The following are from my husband's childhood days, passed on to V

Rail Paatu (The Train Song)
Ammukinan Pointai
Saathinan Gateai
Vandi vanthu Nikuthu
Seekaramai Earungal
Koduthan Guard beerendru visilai
Gup-gup Gup-gup Gup-gup.....

The song refers to the duties of the station master wherein he closes the gate and gives the signal for the guard to start the engine.

(He) presses the switch,
Closes the gates
The train has come
Get in quickly
The guard blows the whistle
Gup gup.....

The following is another favorite, the origin and motive of which I am not aware!

Ka-ka kala kala vande
Eppadi appam suduve?
Potta Nella gummi,
Gummuku Gummukunu kuthi
Sarkara vellatha potu
Athu mela ozhakennai Vaarthu
Suttu suttu koduthaka
Amma puttu puttu thimbalaam

Translation: Refers to the process of making the sweet-dish-Appam.  

Another 'Ka-ka' Song:
Kaka Kaka Kannuku Mai kondu vaa
Kuruvi kuruvi kondaiku poo kondu vaa
Kokey Kokey Kuzhandaiku paal konduva
Kiliye kiliye kinnathil pazham kondu vaa

(Hey) crow, bring some Kajal for the eyes
Sparrow, bring some flowers,
Crane, bring some milk for the child
Parrot, bring some fruits in a bowl

Kai veesamma Kai veesu
Kai veesamma kai veesu,
Kadaiku pogalam kai veesu

Mittai Vaangalam Kai veesu
Methuvai Thingalam Kai veesu

Sokkai vaangalam kai veesu
Sogusai podalam kai veesu

Koviluku Pogalam KAi veesu
Kumbittu varalam Kai veesu

Thera Paarkalam Kai veesu
Thirumbi varalam kai veesu

Translation: A song typically sung when a baby begins to move its arms. Kai veesu means to swing one's hands (arms). 
Swing your arms - Swing your arms
Let's go to a shop - Swing your arms
Let''s buy sweets and eat them slowly - Swing your arms
Let's buy dresses and dress grandly - Swing your arms
Let's go the temple and pray- Swing your arms
Let's see the Temple car and return -Swing your arms

And probably the most popular of them all...!

Nila Nila Odi Vaa
Nila Nila Odi vaa
Nillamal odi vaa
Malai meethu eari vaa
Maligai poo kondu vaa,
Nadu veetu la vai,
Nalla thuthi sei
Vatta vatta Nilave
Vaanil pogum nilave
Pattam pole paranthu vaa
Bambaramai sutri vaa

Translation:A song about the moon. Here, a child asks the moon to bring flowers, and fly like a kite and spin like a top.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kid Speak!

Four or five years ago, H bought a Trackman mouse, which supposedly reduces stress on the wrist, caused by constant 'mousing'! V, however finds it difficult to use this mouse, because his fingers are a little too small to reach the 'red ball' and ends up clicking as he likes. We searched for the old optical mouse that was resting in the loft and it is an understatement if I say V was excited. 

H fixed it for him. After a few minutes...

V: Appa...intha mouseku Vaale illa (This mouse has no tail)


Another tail err..tale...

It is common in Tamil to address a naughty child as 'vaalu' (tail) referring to our tailed ancestors. 
It is also common in Tambram parlance to address elders 'Periyavaa' (otherwise periyavanga) and the younger ones 'Chinnava' (Chinnavanga).
When used in a sentence this may become Periyavlellam etc, meaning all elders.

Now that word when split becomes periya-vaal meaning big tail and chinna-vaal meaning small tail.

Conversations with V sometimes end like this...

Me: Athu chinnavaalukellam kidaiyathu (That is not for the little ones)

V: (thinks for a while then..) Oho...athu kutti-vaaluku kedaiyathaa...unna maathiri Bigu-vaaluku thaana (So that is not for little vaalus like me but big vaalus like you)