"If it is true that liberal education should "liberate" by demonstrating the cultural values and norms foreign to us, by revealing the relativity of our own values, then the "discovery" and enjoyment of Tamil literature, and even its teaching should find its place in the systems of Western training and instruction in the humanities." - Kamil Zvelebil in his book, The Smile of Murugan , The Tamil literature of South India

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Thinking of you, Beautiful lady of mine

The hero had gone out for his business, might be his job or might be a war. Whatever it is, the work is done and the hero returns to his place and unites with the heroine. She had been longing for him, awaiting his return. The hero jumps down from his horse, and runs towards the heroine. The heroine hearing that the hero has arrived leaps out in immeasurable joy. They embrace each other, then the hero tells the heroine about things which reminded him about her and how swiftly he had come to her. With a heart brimming with pride and love, the heroine wouldn't have asked for more.
Lets see the poem set in mullai thinai.
It is a poem from Ainkurunooru (one of the Eight Anthologies) and is sung by the poet Paeyanar (பேயனார்). The poem is depicted as the words spoken by the hero to the heroine.

Ainkurunooru 492
நின்னே போலும் மஞ்ஞை ஆல நின்
நன்னுதல் நாறும் முல்லை மலர
நின்னே போல மா மருண்டு நோக்க
நின்னே உள்ளி வந்தனென்
நன்னுதல் அரிவை காரினும் விரைந்தே

ninne polum manjnjai aala nin
nannudhal naarum mullai malara
ninne pola maa marundu nokka
ninne ulli vandhanen
nannudhal arivai kaarinum viraindhe

Word Meanings: ninne polum - like you, manjnjai - peacock, aala - dance, nin - your, nan - good, beautiful, nudhal - forehead, naarum - fragrant, mullai - jasmine flower, malara - blossom, ninne pola - like you, maa - deer, marundu - scared, nokka - look, ninne ulli - thinking of you, vandhanen - I came, nannudhal - beautiful forehead, arivai - woman, kaarinum - than the rain clouds, viraindhe - swiftly, hastened

Poem Meaning: The peacock danced like you, the jasmine flowers blooming with fragrance of your beautiful forehead, the deer gave a scared look like you. Woman with beautiful forehead, thinking about you, I came here swifter than the rain clouds.

Description: The hero after finishing his job, has to return through the forest. It is the beginning of the rainy season. The forests abound with blooming wild jasmine flowers. He feels that the flowers bloom with the fragrance of the heroine's forehead. A dancing peacock reminds him of the heroine's dance. Also it shows him that the rainy season has begun, as the peacocks spread their colorful plumage to dance when they see rain clouds. The hero had promised the heroine that he would be back by the onset of the rainy season. And also a deer gives a scared look on the way. May be it was scared by the passing horses. That seemed to be the heroine's bewildered look. Having been reminded more and more about his love, the hero hastens and returns swiftly. He says he came swifter than the rain clouds. The poem brings forth a beautiful scene in the rain forest, which is the land of the mullai thinai and the happy union of the lovers. The hero sees the heroine in everything, remembers even the scent of her forehead - how romantic!

My English Version:
Alike you did the peacock dance
With your forehead's fragrance, bloomed the jasmine
Alike you did the deer glance
With your thoughts beautiful lady of mine
Arrived here did I, swifter than the dark clouds!

(The original poem in Tamil is so deeply beautiful  and meaningful. It was a challenge for me to bring the essence into the English version. Tamil words in this poem are short and sweet which I had to replace with more words, while keeping it poetic. I think I have not done justice to the original poem written by my ancestor.)


  1. ”I think I have not done justice to the original poem written by my ancestor”
    NO MY DEAR GRACE, ITS VERY NICE AS IT IS IN TAMIL. முந்திய பதிவுகளை விட இந்த முறை ஆங்கிலத்திலும் ஓசை நயத்துடன் “சானெட்(?)“ வந்திருப்பதாகவே தோன்றுகிறது. அர்ததம் முழுமையாக வெளிப்பட்டுள்ளது. அதுதானே முக்கியம்? தொடரட்டும் உங்கள் பணி. காலம் உங்களை வாழ்த்தும் சகோதரி. இது சாதாரணப் பணியல்ல, தமிழ்வளர்ச்சிக்கான சரித்திரப் பணி. தொடருங்கள. நன்றி.

    1. மிக்க நன்றி ஐயா, நன்றாக வந்துள்ளது என்றால் மிக்க மகிழ்ச்சி. உங்களின் மனமார்ந்த பாராட்டிற்கும் கருத்துரைக்கும் மனமார்ந்த நன்றி. நீங்கள் தரும் ஊக்கத்துடன் கண்டிப்பாகத் தொடர்வேன்.

  2. You have certainly done justice Grace... wonderfully translated.. very nice.. for me it is the best among the ones you have translated :)

  3. திரட்டிகளி ல் இணைக்கவில்லையா? அவசியம் இணைக்கவும். அதோடு - கூடுதல் சுமையாகக் கருதாமல் - பெங்களுருவில் இருப்பதால், கன்னடத்திலும் மொழிபெயர்ககலாமே? கற்றுக் கொள்ளுஙகள்.. எல்லாருக்குமா இந்த வாய்ப்புக் கிடைக்கும்?

    1. endha thirattikalil inaipapdhu endru theriyavillai aiya..

      kannadam pesuvadhe thadumatram, idhil eppadi? ezhuththukale theriyadhu...
      ungal alosananikku nandri aiya..

    2. என்னங்க ஒரு இணய மொழியில் எழுதறீங்க அப்புறம் எங்க சேர்க்கிறது ...
      pintrest, fb, twitter, hubpages,

      கொஞ்சம் ரிசர்ச் பண்ணுங்க

  4. I was wondering why the Tamil blog is inactive...
    now i know why...
    you are doing a great work ...
    a journey of million miles ..
    and you have paced only a few ...
    may god almighty give you the strength and time to finish the journey

    1. Thanks a lot for following my Tamil and English blogs Mathu.

      I appreciate your valuable comments and my heartfelt thanks for your loving wishes and encouragement.

  5. Dear Grace, we might have not known eachother in our school days except for a passing hi or hello, but I am happy to have found you now, what a great and passionate work.
    May God bless you with more time for this extraordinary journey.
    having a great time reading your Blog.


    1. Dear Priya, yes we were not so close friends in school, but I always loved and admired your dancing. I still remember your dance for the song, "maraindhirundhu paarkkum...".
      Your comment truly means a lot to me and encourages me to write more. Thanks a lot for your heartfelt comment and wishes.

  6. Fantastic translation.... நீடூடி வாழ்க.


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