Tamilifying Tamilnadu

I hardly read newspaper these days. But one fine Saturday morning (read yesteday) I woke up so early around 7.00 under the luminosity of Sunlight that’s hindering my morning sleep in the terrace. I wandered all the way down and up the terrace in search of fresh air in this pre-summer month!

Finally, located the newspaper lying on the floor outside and settled down with a cup of Boost (Yea, boost is the secret of my energy!) to skim through the paper. As I was turning pages sipping hot boost, the title caught my attention & there started my journey to the fewer plethora of Tamil equivalent words of things which we use in our day-to-day life.

The article started with the following line

It’s a tiny word ––zip. But when you translate it into Tamil, you get a two-word phrase –– izhaivari pallinai…..

It seems that, Tamilnadu government has modified the Tamil Nadu Shops and Establishments Act (1947) and it has been made mandatory for the commercial establishments in the city to display the name or signboards in Tamil. Well that that was a good initiative for Tamil valarthufying. But in reality how can it help?

So these are the exact words which we are supposed to use in the conversation.

1. Alarm Time Piece – Alari Kadigaram

Imagine yourself entering a clock shop and the shopkeeper beckons in. You flamboyantly open your mouth to emit the following words.

Customer: “Unga kitta Alari Kadigaram irukka?”

Shopkeeper: ????!!!??

The immediate reaction from the shopkeeper would be

Sariyana kalanda case pola” or to be more precise in the layman language, “Sariyaana loosu pola

If at all, we can see the shop keeper alari-adichu-odifying out of the shop away from you.

2. And Sons – Matrum Magangal

Now we see that many commercial establishments in Chennai is/are named with the suffix & sons. If the government intendeds to change then they have to bear in mind that that they have to train people who are going to suffer awkwardness in using such phrases.

Imagine the following list in pure Tamil (http://www.google.co.in/#hl=en&source=hp&q=%26+sons+chennai&meta=&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&fp=6e67f0911d014d29)

  • P.Orr & Sons – P. Orr matrum magangal
  • RMKV & Sons – RMKV matrum magangal
  • Madhar Sha & Sons – Madhar Sha matrum magangal
  • Vummidi Bangaru Chetty & Sons – Vummidi Bangaru Chetty matrum magangal
  • Vummidi Bangaru Kannan & Sons – Vummidi Bangaru Kannan matrum magangal
  • Gani & Sons – Gani matrum magangal
  • T S Mahalingam & Sons – T S Mahalingam matrum magangal
  • Mittulaul Lalah & Sons – Mittulaul Lalah matrum magangal

3. Antenna – Kavarkambi

Well calling antenna as a kavarkambi doesn’t look awkward. But still I’m wondering about many of the electronics parts vendors who set up shops in Chennai to earn their daily bread have to get acquainted with these words.

Imagine Ritchi Street shop owners’ state. They have to run in search for Tamil pulavars to translate the shop’s name

  • Al-ameen Electronics & Co – Al-ameen minnanuvial matrum  kuzhumam
  • Galaxy Computers & Co – Vinveli Kaninigal matrum  kuzhumam
  • English Electricals & Co – Aangilam Minnuvial matrum Kuzhumam

4. Icecreams – Panikuzhaivu, Panippaledu

Nothing came into my mind after being subjected to such Tamil murdering! Imagine the Tamil ads getting cantankerous with the usage of pure Tamil words. I was actually translating the dialog said by the small kid in one of the toothpaste advertisement.

Michamaana moonu rubaaila Icecream vaangi saapten aaaaeee translates to…

Michamaana moonu rubaaila Panikuzhaivu vaangi saapten aaaaeee (Horrible!!)

Here is the original video below

How about this one?

Nee fail agala da, un toothpaste daan fail aayiduchu….will be used as

Nee tholvi adayala da, un palpasai daan tholvi adanjiduchu….(ROTFL)

5.  Zip – Iruppal Inai, Izhaivari Pallinai

If a kid is trained to use only Tamil words at home, then imagine such a scenario….

The kid will be saying,

amma, inda Izhaivari Pallinai ah pottu vidu…

amma, Izhaivari Pallinai maattikichu…” (I need not tell u guys where!)

It seems that the Government is distributing a booklet containing the list of all such words which contains the Tamil equivalent of words used in our day-to-day life. Traders have to read and get educated. Heights!!

Moreover they wanted to make sure that such words get popular among the people. There is a desperate need of innovation everywhere and now that government is in need of it in the lines of popularizing the new addition of words which we are ought to follow. Languages are there to make life simpler. Conversation in one’s mother tongue is supposed to be easy and it should give a feeling of native belongingness to the language. But when such awkwardness is introduced, then I’m afraid people may find it difficult thrive in the society.

When the traders are expected to stick to the pure form of the language, then common people should invariable shift to the same. When the trader knew only the Tamil form then it is going to get difficult to the people to buy things. Imagine a dialogue below

Customer: Cigarette kudunga?

Shopkeeper: Appadi na?

Customer: Cigarette nga…Filter Cigarette.

Shopkeeper: Neenga enna kaekkareenga? Onnum purila!

(Customer gets tensed up. He refers to the booklet and finds the meaning)

Customer: Err… Vadimunai Vennsuruttu kudunga

Shopkeeper: Ada, ida modallaye kaettu irukkalaamla?

Customer: Podaang…

So it not only becomes over head for us but also for the new comers in the market who enter to run a business. They need to master the so called Tamil!

(Few other words which was there in the article)

Automobiles – Thaniangigal

Bar Soap – Neel Salavaikatti

Buffet – Eduthun, Magizhndhun

Coffee Filter – Kuzhambi Vadikatti, Kappi Vadikatti

Coffee House – Kuzhambiyagam, Kappi Nilayam

Compact Dics – Padivu Thattu

Exhaust Fan – Urinju Visiri, Kaatru Pokki

Filter Cigarette – Vadimunai Vennsuruttu

Partnership – Pangaanmai

Scooter – Kudhiyunthu, Thullunthu

Shampoo – Seeyanei, Kuliyal Kuzhambu

Tuition Centre – Thanipayirchi Nilayam

Walkie Talkie – Nadaipesi

Nursing Home – Nalam Penagam

Okay, enough of criticism on the language. Actually I’m not against the usage of Tamil in pure form. I appreciate those who wanted to bring this in reality. We are in Tamilnadu and speaking in Tamil is our right and proper use of language is a heartwarming welcome. Already multiple autopsy have been made on the language and it is being used in different ways in different parts of Tamilnadu viz, –  Madurai Tamil, Tirunelveli Tamil and many more. We have the so called Madras Tamil which is the native language of Chennai species. Now this introduction of purity in the language may lead to the formation of whole new encyclopedia (En cycle ah pidiya!) of Tamil.

If in Madras Tamil,

Kafi kuchhiya?  Means Kappi Kudichiya?

Then andaanda keera koyambi kada should be “Ange irukkum Kozhambiyagam” where Kozhambiyagam means Coffee shop.

Do we need such complications? Already many of the Higher Secondary students who are aiming for IITs and NITs are switching to Sanskrit, French & German as their second language, if any attempt to introduce purity in Tamil is made, then I’m afraid, all the school going children will migrate to Delhi & Bombay to pursue their higher secondary education.

In a state where “Indha vaaram malai poliyumaa, Chennai makkal dhookkam” prevails, we are in a situation to secure the existing state of the language. In such a tight scenario, people are very much comfortable with the current usage, how complex it may be. They are ready to digest the eeruketta edhirmarai peyaracham as well. (Please do not ask for clarification. I myself do not know the meaning!) It takes aeons to get accustomed to the usage of language. When people are used to a particular form of a language, it becomes difficult to switch to a new form.

This is not just a case with the language but with the software applications that we use daily. Many of them are reluctant to switch to Windows 7 from the native Windows XP because the interface is new, applications are new. The dialog or the menu accessing methods is new. Why to speak about operating system? For a simple transition from MS Word 2003 to Office 2007, people deny using the system. So when it comes to the mother tongue, it obviously poses a threat to their comfort level.

Changes are inevitable and we all know changes are the only thing which doesn’t change. But for the change to happen, it may take quite some time to get accustomed to it.

Vaalga Tamil!

Short Story: It happens again

“Dad, Tushar uncle has come” the voice from the hall disturbed my morning newspaper reading routine. It was my daughter Kalpana.  I was surprised to see Tushar at the door after a long time. We have been childhood friends and we discuss everything under the sky right from the school days.

“So tell me Tushar, what brought you today in this morning to me?

“Nothing special, just wanted to pay you a visit and enquire about your well being.”

“Oh, thank you very much for your kindness. By the way, I smell something curious in your face. You never pay sudden visits, that too in this morning. Tell me what is that I can do for you?” I wanted to know his purpose of visit. May be he is planning for his son’s marriage.

Tushar spoke after a small pause, “I happen to hear things from your daughter yesterday. Sounds ridiculous, Roy! You seem to have grown old and you need to take rest from this headmaster job, you do in the local school.”

“Rest!! I need one, but I’m perfectly fine. But what did you hear from her?” I enquired. I knew about what he is going to ask.

“Kalpana told me that you talk to her about your past…” He stopped abruptly.

I guessed right. She has told this to Tushar. Now I cannot hide things from him. He would not rest in peace without knowing things from me. I’ve been discussing this only with my daughter. Now time has come to tell this to my friend as well.

“Yes Tushar,” I spoke, “I started remembering my previous birth.”

“What?” He stared at me in bewilderment.

“I saw my death. I wanted to discuss this with someone. Someone, who can understand me better, so I’m telling this to you,” I said.

“Roy, trust me as how you trusted me before. Tell me what happened to you. I’ll try to help you any time.”

“I see my past. My memory registers feeble scenes from my previous birth. I was a human being. I remember myself sitting in an old hall with people sitting in their chairs and tables. The walls are not white washed recently. The dried stains of dirty rain water mixed with dust remained unwashed.”

“Oh that sounds like an office, then…”

“An old clock was ticking and the pendulum oscillating left and right. I sit in a small counter and dispensing small sheets of colorful paper bits. I see crowd. They always come to me asking for this. I give them for money.”

“I see. This sounds strange!” He replied.

“I remember the building. It is kind of very old. Not properly maintained. Something like that of very old government building.”

“So you must have been working in some government office, I guess” He said.

“May be, I guess”

“So what happened then?”

“Actually it’s not a sequence of events. They are randomly scattered events. I remember them here and there.”

“Hmmm…so tell me, what else do you remember from your previous birth?” Tushar became interested.

“I went to meet my friend; he was working in some local school”

“Uncle Coffee…” Kalpana interrupted.

“Thanks…” Tushar picked the tumbler from the plate and both of us again became serious in the discussion.

“You went to meet your friend?” Tushar linked my previous statement.

“Yes, I went to meet him. Just then I was about to leave, I remember giving him something.” I said sipping the coffee from the ‘ever silver’ tumbler.

“Sounds interesting!!”

“I gave him something and when I came out of the house, he came running towards me and said something. I have no clue on what he said.”

“That’s so sad Roy. You should recollect things better.”

“But you know what happened after that? It is important.” I said.

“Tell me quick. I got to go.”

“I died. I died of heart attack. May be due to the information he said about me.”

“About you?” Tushar looked puzzled, and he took something out of his bag and said, “Roy, this thing I want to give you. I just came for this as well”

“What is that?” I asked looking at the small parcel.

“Money Order” He answered, “I saw this money order and your address in the envelope. I thought I can take this opportunity to come and meet you.”

“Oh, thanks a lot. My brother has sent this.  He owes me this amount sometime back. Now he is returning this to me.” I was happy.

“Well then, I have to go. I have work in the office. I’ll come in the evening and will discuss the rest of your story.” Tushar was in hurry to leave.

“Okay, thanks for dropping by. I’ll recollect more and let you know much more details.” I said and he left my room.

“Bye uncle. Do come when you are free in the evening. My father would be happy to spend time with you.” I could hear Kalpana’s voice from the hall.

I wanted to sink again in the newspaper, but something struck me suddenly. I dashed towards the door and called “Tushaaaar……..”

He looked back.

“I remember something now.” I said in a hurry.

“What?” Tushar looked confused standing outside the house.

“I went to meet my friend who was working in the school” I said.

“Roy, you said this already, I have to leave now.”

“Yes, I do remember that. But I didn’t tell you what he was.”

Tushar looked irritated, “Okay tell me what he was”

“He was the headmaster of the school” I said.

“But what significance it has with you now. Good that you remembered now. Shall I leave? I have to be in my seat in another fifteen minutes. I’ve to dispense….”

Before Tushar could complete, I couldn’t control my curiosity to tell him this thing, “I remember one more thing now” I said in hurry without letting him speak.

“Roy, you are confused. Go and take some rest. I’ll be back in the evening and let us discuss this in leisure, I have to….”

I interrupted him, “In my last birth, I was working in the post office in the stamp dispensing counter” I blasted.

On hearing these words from my mouth, Tushar stood still as if hit by a high voltage surge and dropped in the floor, holding his chest and writhing and squiggling on the sandy road outside. A crowd gathered in the street lifting him and leading him to the nearby hospital. I couldn’t see the sight of my friend in that state and I ran towards the crowd.

Before anything could be done, he was no more. Doctor informed us that he passed away due to heart attack.


The next day morning, I was reading the newspaper. My heart stopped for a second, reading the headlines in the local column of the page. The small rectangular piece of column bore these words in black and bold

“Family & Friends offers condolences to Tushar, a resident of Ramnagar, who was working in the local post office in the stamp dispensing counter attained almighty’s abode.

May God give him eternal rest and may his soul rest in peace.”


P.S:- It happens again!