Innaadhu. Tag-aa?

For the Tamil challenged, the word “Innaadhu”, pronounced with a sharp nasal twang on the first syllable and an open-mouthed scowl at the end, means

“Whatay? You are trying to givings me unnecessary more work-aa? And I should really do it aa? Che. What jobless people ya”.

Chennai Tamil is a very expressive language. As you can see, nasal twangs, animated expressions and monosyllablic sounds with a few actual words thrown in between, manage to convey long complicated meanings that can cause a movie scene to pause while 4 page subtitles scroll across the screen for poor Tamil challenged readers to keep up with the cutting edge conversation. (Note to self: When doing jilpa, cool it down a bit. This is over too much)

Another example – “Aeei”, in which the “A” sound is more of a muted “Uh” sound that comes straight from the throat, and the length of the overall delivery is in direct proportion to the threat level that the speaker wishes to indicate to the listening party. Optionally, stick out one’s tongue at the end for additional impact. If this was a dialogue, the subtitles should read

“You insignificant, impotent, slum dwelling, crow biriyani eating cockroach of a non-person. If you do not drop what ever useless work you are doing and pay attention to me right this moment, I will do some really bad things to you”

So there. Where were we? Oh yes. I have been tagged and ordered to write “x” number of factoids, where x is apparently a random variable of personal choice. Since Pri did 7, I have decided to do 4, because there are 4 vedas and 4 varieties of Chennai Autos (more on that later).

Factoid #1. In 1984, while the clocks were striking thirteen and all that, my father bought me a Rubik’s cube. And I solved it in no time. Parents got overjoyed. Visions of NASA rocket scientists and Nobel winning mathematicians came to their mind. But that was before they found out that I simply rearranged the colour stickers because actually rotating the thing wasn’t getting me anywhere.

Factoid #2. About the same time, my vertically unchallenged first cousin saved my life by pulling me out of the railway track before the Durgapur-Kolkata train hit me. I had fallen off the platform while I was trying to lean over to see if the train was coming. He was the only person who could have pulled me out, because there was no time for anybody less than 6 feet 4 inches in height to get down from the platform and lift me up.

Factoid #3. The first film song I ever learned to play on my violin was Ilayaraja’s “Ilamai Idho Idho” (meanings Youth. It is here. It is here). Got severe scoldings from my first Violin teacher (who was Lalgudi’s sister no less) for blaspheming the instrument. So now, several years later, I can play that song note for note on my guitar as well. With full flange effects. Appidi (like that)

Factoid #4. When in class 6 in Vidya Mandir, Mylapore, I was part of a group that recorded 10 minutes worth of laughter on All-India-Radio. I remember having a feeling that my ribs were doing a boa-constrictor manoeuvre on my stomach area after that ordeal.

Ok. Now I am supposed to tag a few more people, I presume. Mahendra, Munimma and Marc. (sound of baton being sawed into 3 equal pieces and handed over)

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  1. My obliging cousin taught me the basics of Madras tamil when I was a kid, and said you essentially needed to part your lips permanently at at 1 inch (like you’re about to say “ehhhh”) and speak normally. Of couse he only seemed to know independence era slang! To a Bangalore born Mallu-Gultland raised country bumpkin like myself it sounded like the coolest bhashai ever.

  2. A popular addendum to “Aeei” involves curling the tongue upwards towards the roof of the mouth and holding it between one’s teeth.

    Optional accompaniments: vari-potta undraayar and lungi tied in such a way as to let the “hemline” of the former show.

  3. Just wanted to alert you that your 2nd comment on my post on this tag thing had been considered “spam” by WordPress.
    I discovered it only today and have just responded…

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