Of Dogs and Curse

Oldest trick in the blogosphere – Copy-paste moderately interesting GTalk conversation and pass it off as a post.

Slightly new but fairly questionable trick in the blogosphere – Copy-paste and alter (no wait..more like lobotomize) moderately interesting GTalk conversation and pass it off as a post.

I had a chat with my younger brother, who is attempting to make a living out of counseling and helping intellectually challenged and visually impaired computers recognize familiar objects. He is PhD candidate in Computer vision at NCSU. And for pretty obvious reasons, he is listed as “Paradesi Nai” on my chat contact list. “Paradesi”, for the sin of crossing the seven seas..well..at least 3 of them, and “Nai” for possessing several other canine characteristics.
In keeping with the highest Tamil traditions, we usually exchange pleasantries before moving on to universally relevant and cosmically profound subjects such as our opinions on the latest in gadgetry and video games. But this particular thread ran into an interesting roadblock at the pleasantries stage itself, and I felt that the world at large must be made aware.

Update: English translations provided for Tamil-challenged readers. Tam people _should_ ignore the italicized text in brackets.

KA: Dei. Ennadi pannara (Greetings. What activities are you (in the feminine gender form) currently up to?

PN: Onnu illa dee saniyane (Nothing earth shattering, you ringed gas-giant -like malefactor)

It is customary to use the sthreeling form liberally during the pleasantries stage.

KA: Interesting choice of curse. By “Saniyane”, I am presuming that you are referring to that a certain yellow hued gas giant in our solar system, the one with rings, and more importantly, the one with malefic influences that plague every human being for a period of seven and a half years, and also account for a substantial percentage of temples’ revenues from the sale of anti-saturn health packs? Strange, coming from someone who is a student of the Richard Dawkins School of Irreligion Presented In A Clipped British Accent.

PN: Dei. Thoo. Thaangala (Excuse me. Sound of extreme disdain resembling a sneeze. I am unable to tolerate the depths to which the quality of your humour has descend to)

KA: Hmm. “Thoo”. Had it not been for the 14,000 km distance between the both of us, I am guessing that the “Thoo” was specifically designed to transfer bacteria and other badass microorganisms from your saliva and nasal tract in order to start a small scale war with my immune system. Isn’t that sort of like saying – “May you also get sick”, and thus politically incorrect.

PN: Dei kabothi, porum dee peter. (Excuse me you optically challenged person. Enough of your pseudo-intellectual gobbledygook)

KA: Ah. wishing blindness for your provocateur? But isn’t conferring physical disabilities in the form of swear words politically incorrect? Therefore, kabothi should also no longer be a pejorative, right?

PN: Ei pichakaara panni, nirutthu dee (Hey you financially challenged person of a porcine nature. Stop it already)

KA: Now, we move on to class warfare eh? So the lack of wealth consigns me to eternal doom? What if I was a victim of the grossly unfair capitalistic system where corporate vultures grow fat at the cost of every one else? Poverty should not be a curse word. That’s unfair to more than half the world. And the porcine reference? That confused me. I thought a pig represented gluttony and decadence, exactly the sort of thing financially challenged folk have trouble with. So was the oxymoron deliberate and designed to insult my intelligence, thus making it a double insult?

PN: So apart from the scatalogical and sexual, no forms of cursing are contemporarily relevant?

KA: Well. You could consider n00b and “Frequent Pwnage Victim”, but they don’t quite have the same punch that Tamil curse words do

PN: Let’s see what’s left. We’ve tried

  • Animal metaphors (Buffalo, Pig, Dog etc)
  • Illness (Thoo, Saavukraaki etc),
  • Physical disabilities (Kabothi and its ilk),
  • Physical appearance (Goundamani style “Rubber vaaya” and “Koomoottai Thalaiya” epithets for Senthil),
  • Mental disabilities (Paitthiyam, Loosu etc) and
  • Class and Caste references (Pichakaara, “You are dressed like a Koratthi” etc).

Did we miss out anything? Typically curse words came from touchy subjects of their time. What could be considered a touchy subject now? Religion is losing its edge, and scatological and sexual metaphors are boring, and heavily overused.

KA: What if I call you an IE user? Or accuse you of preferring Microsoft Word for coding?

PN: Nah. Tech curses are not universal. Techies are a small population with an unnaturally loud voice.

KA: How about taking the environmental route? Call you a “SUV lover” or “Bottled Water drinker”?

PN: Nah. That would be 1 across: Bad meal makes one handicapped (4)

KA: Lame? Ok. Maybe I should stick to curses that have hard to fathom etymologies.

PN: You mean like “Dei Sombu party”

KA: Exactly. Ok. See ya later.

PN: Seri dee

The End


56 thoughts on “Of Dogs and Curse

  1. Once again, I wish I knew Tamil. I feel like the Ambassador for Papua New Guinea at a Conference of the Nuclear Suppliers Group
    Ashok: Unfortunately, swear words tend to be very language specific. Full translation of all Tamil words will be posted after a couple of days

  2. LOL … What about one’s Character – Porukki, Bemani, Kasmalam, Kapmaari ?
    and as for IE, wouldn’t Windows user be funnier than IE user? But that will mean only 5% of the world being able to enjoy saying it.

  3. We can add one more class – Names of celebrities who are notorious for something like – Dei Balayya, or Dei Himesh Reshmiya or may be Rajender 😛 (Their fans – Sorry, no offence :D)

  4. Haha, names of terrorist organizations? Probably dangerous!


    Strange, I haven’t met Karthik, here in the same building on campus we go to, in the last 1.5 yrs! Hmmm….

  5. maybe, you could try making references to the manner/place/time of birth a la goundamani? but i guess one would have to use them with utmost care against one’s siblings.

  6. Interesting that we use even normal words to curse people. Remembered Captain Haddock in tintin ( Blue blistering barnacles, thundering typhoons)

    Check out with video where the F word is used so nicely 😉

  7. On Second thoughts:

    KA’s last post was on politicians and this post is about curses. If you combine this with those politician poster of KA (Refer old posts of his ), how do you shoot ur curses ?

    Anyone for the first step ?

  8. Now, we move on to class warfare eh? … So was the oxymoron deliberate and designed to insult my intelligence, thus making it a double insult?
    lol that part reminded me of the monty python holy grail peasant scene..

    speaking of monty python.. the french taunting in holy grail is about as good as swearing can get 🙂

  9. Annaaaa … superb… how the hell do you know soo many words… IE user part was cool.. cud have added more things like still playing snake on nokia mobiles.. not knowing to use dictionary mode in mobile sms – mokkai nu theriyum, still giving some example ideas..

  10. Well, I’ve been reading your posts for a few weeks now. This one unfortunately, I couldn’t follow, for the heavy infusion of Tamil ingredients in the concoction. Kept looking for English notes or hints for the Tam-challenged.
    Ashok: English translations updated now

  11. cursing is such a pleasure eh ?
    Ashok: Ofcourse, in the same mild way sneaking out of home as a teenager for a daaru party is.

  12. Aha! Thanks for the translations.

    By the way, I recognized one Tamil word that is widely used in Latin, including by the pope. I mean “Dei” of course.

  13. Hi K.A,

    Great writing. But I wish you hadn’t done the run of the mill title copying from Steinbeck for purposes other than clarity or pardon if it is just that.
    Till you told me, I had no idea that this was a steinbeck phrase. I just put “Nai” and “curses” and realized that it might make a corny pun, that’s all 🙂

  14. you are the thalai of blogosphere.
    inaa style, inaa sense of humor, wah wah!
    how i wish i could write 5% as good as you.

    bow! (bowing to thee not barking ‘bow’ like your post title ;-))

  15. True, curse words come from touchy subjects and against ‘subjects’ that people care for.

    In India where class/caste still play a big role you have lots of caste based curses.

    Since family values is still high and trigger anger, you have heavy use of MC and BC.

    In western world there is hardly any caste/class based curse nowadays. With not so strong family bounding, ‘family’ based curse are targeted at aliens, check out movie Predator the climax scene, in which the Governor says it as ‘punch’ dialog.

  16. Phew , sounds like chatting with you isn’t something that people can indulge in when they’ve left their gray cells to go out for a graze?

    Knowing a bit of Tamil(zh?) helped, but the english translation was funny enough 🙂

  17. good
    Have you read Mulk Raj Anand at all – he’s got literal english translations of punjabi swear words. Here’s a sample:
    “Vay, eater of your masters, may the vessel of your life never float in the sea of existence. May you perish & die!”
    Vay is somewhat like the Tamil Dei
    other expressions are also commonly used curses in Punjabi
    “…Would you let anyone throw the turbans off your heads.”

  18. Another reason why we have a rich repository of curses used by elderly people is that people used to curse their loved ones & children to cancel out the effects of the omnipotent “nazar” or evil eye.
    It was common for a pretty little girl to be called “marjaaniye, kinni sohni hai” – literal translation is “your’re so pretty – may you die”
    I personally dont beleive in evil eyes etc but it is ineteresting how expressions evolve

  19. OMG – you are insanely,brilliantly hilarious – your stuff had me chuckling,cackling and grinning in total appreciation…:) keep it up…did you inherit your writing skills genetically or did you study lit/journalism etc ..whatever it is,your writing rocks!

  20. Ada paavigala, onnumey matter illama oru post poda vendiyadhu, adhukku enna maadri kena koo** pasanga comment panna vendi yadhu!!! Yenna pozhapu da idhu!!!

    Just kidding, absolutely hilarious post though.

  21. i am surprised you guys were scrupulous enough to leave out words that pronounce judgement on your parents or the conditions of your birth..

    brithers.. che.. how i wish i had some..

  22. aah.. i see i have committed the cardinal sin of mentioning something already mentioned (in this case, manish krishnan)..

    and kummaan yaa.. this is like the third time time u have used the same crossword comedy.. surely there are other equally interesting tricks employed to deliver clues what..

  23. hey krish, your bro is a looker. Is he in the marriage market yet?? 😉
    Ashok: Nope. He got off at Mambalam station and refused to walk down Ranganathan Street. He skipped the market altogether and got engaged to louws partner

  24. hey, Saw a link to your blog in MaidinMalaysia, and was glad that I clicked and found your blog.
    Laugh out loud funny.

    I have to say that this is the very first time in my life that I actually felt I may be missing something by not being an Indian-Tam-Male. You’ve done the unimaginable, and made this most uncool of demographics something approaching cool.
    Ashok: Thank you 🙂 But Tam and uncool? The weather might be uncool, but the demographic never was 😉

  25. insanely hilarious !!! 😀
    where do I buy your humor pills mr.Ashok ?!
    um…do we assume this is the censored version of the chat? 😉
    Ashok: Of course not. I don’t believe in censorship. As the internet saying goes, “Censors on ships cant catch kids on planes”

  26. realy nice….good sense of humour….i saw ur website in the news paper n jus chkd in ur post…was realy entertaining …..
    Ashok: Whoa? Which newspaper?

  27. ROFL!! Thambi also following annan’s footsteps regarding atheism, louves etc eh 😛 is the youngest a virgin or already raped by you 😛

  28. Thala!! (ya the anatomical head of any human being), ultimate post. I have been browsing your posts and found this. Ultimate. Weighu (mass*g)

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