Blog post by Archanaa Kumar
Born and brought up in Chennai, I belong to a traditional Iyer family that wakes up to suprabatham and filter coffee. As usual, my amma’s one target for the year I was turning 25 was to find me a Chamathu Iyer paiyan and perform Kanya dhanam, sit down in the easy chair, kanla jalam vechundu, to utter–“Appada – bhagavan namma kozhandhaiku oru nalla vazhi kattitar”.And in this quest, all matrimony websites had my Bio data. Iyer – Vadama – Koushika gotram blaa blaa blaa.
There were too many things to be looked at – education, employment, location, family- yeah– Tirunelveli family, tanjavur family, Palakkad family – each one, its own features –the pros and cons of it being analyzed every time a jadagam matched. And finally it was a Palakkad Iyer family that got lucky– enoda Aathukarar ezhu janmam punyam panirkar –to be blessed with me as Aathukari (Yes I mean it) –as the announcement was made to close friends and relatives, opinions came in about palakkad iyers –“very down to earth people”., “very simple people and not much demands” and yes it was indeed true – simple and loving family it is. Bingo!
I moved in with my future family– oops – with my family after marriage and I was all excited about new house , new people – my mamiyar who has the designation of Amma now, my nathanar – younger one (yay I got lucky – just a joke, don’t read between lines ) , and my beloved Aathukarar. I had no clue I was about to learn a new language.
First day in the kitchen with my AMMA (referring MIL), she said
Amma: kondhe andha sambar konjam elakku
Me: enna amma sonnel
Amma: andha sambar konjam elakku, thalaikardhu, kashnam vendhurko paru
She wanted me to stir the sambar with the ladle as it was boiling. My version of it would have been. “Sambar kodhikardhu, konjam kalakku” or something similar. Wow – Elakku meant to mix/stir. I had to add it to my diction. And kashnam I thought was the veggies inside – it essentially meant piece, Google the lifesaver. I was literally learning Malayalam you see.
I have loads of hilarious ones too.
Me: Amma mazhai thoorardhu, man vasanai is amazing
Amma: Mazhai epdi thoorum?
As I explained Thooral is drizzle, she giggled saying thooral is loose motion kondhe. “What?” Yeah I was speaking tamizh, she was hearing Malayalam, her version of tamizh.
Ennavakkum, epdi irukaai, thallalai – being unwell , koraikardhu – no not barking- it is cough , kazhichacha ( it means saptacha , stop smirking) were more words that got added to my TALAYALAM dictionary , all the while being conscious I don’t start replacing my Tamizh words with these Malayalam words. Ormai vechunden. I mean- gynabagam, alright I give in.
Everytime something new came up, I told AMMA and my sis in law it was Malayalam and secretly googled to make sure it was a Malayalam word that had got entwined. My hubby also used a few Talayalam words, however his staying in Chennai for work four years before marriage cleansed his Talayalam to more of Tamizh – yeah that was a Bonus for me, else it would have been a novel in place of this blog that would have read – “I married him, and my Tamizh ran away” – just joking.
Image Courtesy: travel.manoramaonline.com
A lot more in store, my Talayalam tales continue as my little angel ( my three year old ) comes to me and says “Amma ennavakum , enna panraai, ithara naazhi aachu” – I am a Palakkad Iyer maatupon and I love it – Ithara ishtam. Period.
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