Getting Things Wrong in an Indian Language

Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Anu, Ashok, Conrad, DeliriousGaelikaa,  GrannymarMagpie11Paul, Maria the Silver Fox, Rummuser , Will Knott, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get  different flavours of the same topic.

You don’t have to get things wrong in a foreign language which was the topic chosen by Paul. In India we have so many languages and so many dialects that communication can be a riot within the same language syntax and vocabulary.

My mother would never call my third brother Barath without adding the prefix-Ara. She would start of calling for Arvind first, stop it midway and then say Barath—it would sound like Arabarath. Now this ‘Ara’ in Tamil means half. So Barath’s grief was that he was never a full Barath but always ended as Ara (half) Barath.

We had a house help when we were children. She spoke Tamil that was equivalent to Cockney while we spoke the Brahmin Tamil with the Sanskritised vocabulary and pronunciation. My second brother’s name is Arvind. She could never get to say his name and would inevitably call him Ara-mandu (as she heard the latter part of the name ‘vindu’ as ‘mandu’. Arvind would patiently sit with her and take her through the syllables and she would very convincingly say Ara-v-in-du. The minute she would have to say the word in entirety—it would end up as Ara-mandu.

You may ask so what if she changed the letters slightly. The truth is that the word ‘mandu’ in Tamil has its own meaning–unintelligent or stupid! So Arvind would always get worked up. The consolation was that he was only ‘Ara’ (half) mandu!

About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest used to be acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays. I am now an Armchair traveller/opinionator/busybody!
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7 Responses to Getting Things Wrong in an Indian Language

  1. N. Srivatsa says:

    😀 😀 😀 😀 😀


  2. Grannymar says:

    😆 I loved this. Were there no stories about Big Brother’s name?


  3. Maxi says:

    These stories are funny … well, maybe not to the bothers.
    blessings ~ maxi


  4. Conrad Hake says:

    This is imho the funniest story you have ever posted! It could be that the world simply could not handle your brothers in full. Ramana probably occupied so much psychic space that there just wasn’t enough Rajgopaul bandwidth left!

    Except for the sister, of course!


  5. rummuser says:

    I was the crown prince folks. No nicknames were allowed. Ramana now occupies very little psychic space but a great deal of physical space.


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