Paithalam Yeshuve [Devotional 1]

Unnikuttan,

For the last few years, we have been baking cookies together around Christmas time as our little family tradition. You really want to be in the
middle of all of this, making the cookie dough, rolling it out, cutting out the shapes, decorating them and then setting them up in boxes for
gifting our friends. We have so much fun mixing up colors and coming up with new shades. I hope you find this exciting for more years to come.

When I was little, we used to go to my grandparents place to celebrate Christmas. It was much fun with all our aunts, uncles and cousins
gathered at one place. My Ammachi’s kitchen used to be the gathering place. I remember sitting on top of a wooden box and watching all stuff
happening around on Christmas eve. The ladies would be busy prepping for the Christmas day meal and men would stand around chatting with all of
us. Since I am the eldest among all kiddos, my job was to babysit which ever baby cousin there was at the time and listening to all news each of them
had to say.

Another activity we did was making the nativity scene as you know it. We used to call it Christmas crib. All of us cousins would help our uncle
gather grass stalks to line the little bamboo house he would have already made. Then he would bring out the tiny figurines of Mary, Joseph,
shepherds, wise men and animals.I remember blowing up tiny balloons to hang up all around that crib.

Then we would all go to midnight mass and there would be a light chill in the air. It was nothing like the sub zero weather we have here, but
it was colder than usual around that time. It was a great feeling when the priest would bring the baby Jesus for the ceremony. After the mass,
everyone gathers around the Christmas tree for singing carols and eat fruit cake someone would have brought from their home. Finally when we
come home, our little baby Jesus figurine would be placed in the crib.🙂

I thought this was a fitting translation for the season. This is your dad’s favorite devotional song and it is played at home more as we move
towards Christmas. Please listen to the original version sung by K.S.Chitra.

Paithalaam Yeshuve
Umma vachu umma vachu unarthiya…
[The baby Jesus
who was woken up by kisses…]
Attidayar… unnathare…, ningal than hruthil
Yeshu naadhan pirannu
[…by the shepherds… and wise men…, it was in your hearts’
that Lord Jesus was born]

Paithalaam Yeshuve
Umma vachu umma vachu unarthiya…
[The baby Jesus
who was woken up by kisses…]
Attidayar… unnathare…, ningal than hruthil
Yeshu naadhan pirannu
[…by the shepherds… and wise men…, it was in your hearts’
that Lord Jesus was born]

La la laaa… La la laaa… La la la la la
La la Aahaaa aahaaa… Aahaha

Thaalapoli* yekan… thamburu** meettuvan
Tharattu paadi urakkiduvan
[To give a warm welcome for You…To play the thamburu
and to sing lullabies…]
Thaalapoli* yekan… thamburu** meettuvan
Tharattu paadi urakkiduvan
[To give a warm welcome for You…To play the thamburu
and to sing lullabies…]
Tharaganangalal aagathar akunnu
Vanaaroopikal gaayakasreshtar
Vanaaroopikal gaayakasreshtar
[With a fleet of stars, they are coming
… the angels from heaven above, the great singers
… the angels from heaven above, the great singers]

Paithalaam Yeshuve
Umma vachu umma vachu unarthiya…
[The baby Jesus
who was woken up by kisses…]
Attidayar… unnathare…, ningal than hruthil
Yeshu naadhan pirannu
[…by the shepherds… and wise men…, it was in your hearts’
that Lord Jesus was born]

La la laaa… La la laaa… La la la la la
La la Aahaaa aahaaa… Aahaha

Ullil thirathallum modhathodethum
Paarake prekshakar nira nirayayi
[In their hearts, with waves of happiness
people on earth worship You in droves]
Nadhadhi nadhanayi vaazhumen eeshanayi
Unarvodekunnen ulthadam njan
Unarvodekunnen ulthadam njan
[For the Lord or Lords, my God
With great elation, I will give my heart
With great elation, I will give my heart]

Paithalaam Yeshuve
Umma vachu umma vachu unarthiya…
[The baby Jesus
who was woken up by kisses…]
Attidayar… unnathare…, ningal than hruthil
Yeshu naadhan pirannu
[…by the shepherds… and wise men…, it was in your hearts’
that Lord Jesus was born]

La la laaa… La la laaa… La la la la la
La la Aahaaa aahaaa… Aahaha

* Thaalapoli is a Malayali tradition for welcoming someone. Ladies dressed in the Kerala kasavu saree stands in line on either side of a path
where the guest would pass, bearing a thaalam (flat metal plate) containing flowers and a small lamp. It is a beautiful sight.
** thamburu is a string instrument.

Kanalu Malayude [Best Actor 2010]

Unnikuttan,

We love how you adjust to every situation we throw your way. Not to say that you are always receptive and never throw tantrums, but most of the time you try to accept the change and move on. At times, you really enjoy new situations like your visit to Kerala this year for example. I was dreading it, to be honest, because I was expecting you to be whining about the weather being too hot or being wet in the monsoons or complaining about the food or being too snobbish in general. Instead you took to it like fish to water. You enjoyed each and every day to the fullest and played the American tourist to the T. We were amazed at how you could hold your own during a conversation with a group of my cousins all older teens and 20 somethings. You could connect to everyone despite not speaking much Malayalam. You made new friends, played till you dropped off disregarding the age of the people you were playing with. You remember the vacation with fond memories, and for that we are so grateful and proud.🙂

This song is about a guy immersing himself in a different lifestyle than he’s used to for following his dreams of becoming an actor someday. I like all  the songs in this movie because I feel the lyrics in each song suit the situation the protagonist  is in, exactly at the time it plays. This is a pretty good movie and I think you like most of the songs from this.

Kanalu malayude mukalil oru idam
Kuruke pazhakiya periyoru vadam
[On top of the fire mountain
There is an old thick rope which lies across]
Ulayum athil avanude iru padham
Thakathimi thajham*
[His feet are caught in that
and he falls]

Nadana kalayude kodumudi thodaan
Alayum ithu vazhi oru puthu mukham
[To reach the pinnacle of acting arts
this fresh face is wandering]
Thirayum athin avan anubhava shatham
Kali palavidham
[He’s searching for more experiences
and playing many games (to enhance his acting talents)]

Muruki valarum oru abhinaya jwaram
Ivanu sirakalil athi gurutharam
[The acting craze is growing
really bad in his veins]
Thalayil aruluka thanuvinu thalam**
Nahi*** nahi phalam
[He needs to apply a cooling drug on his head
but looks like there is no use.]

Naraka nadiyude marukara pedaan
Adavu palathariyanam athu nijam
[To cross this river from hell
you need to learn a lot of tricks, that’s true!]
Vegili kayariya verukinu+ samam
ivanude manam
[Just like a restless civet,
his mind is restless too.]

Oruvanu kanavu oru pidiyaavam
Athinu oru vazhi thirayalum aavaam
[Anyone’s allowed a handful of dreams
and can looks for ways to accomplish those]
Jani verumoru jala vara aakki
Paazhakkan paadundo?
[Should you demean your life as a watermark
and waste it?]
Thala mukalil oru iruthala vaalu
Thara adimudi tharayana mullu
[Like a double edged sword hanging on top of your head
Or a floor full of sharp thorns]
Swayam oru keni panithu athinullil
Thannathan kerunno?
[Do those(dreams) create a trap for yourself
and make you fall into it?]

Pakalum iravilum ivanoru kothi
Vediyum avan athinu avanude kudi
[Morning and night he has one thought
and he’s ready to give up even his livelihood]
Sakala pirikalum ilakiya padi
Swayam ithu vidhi
[He’s gotten all his nuts loose and gone crazy
to make this fate happen]

Vipina naduvil oru ajagitha gathi
Aniyum adimudi puliyude tholi
[In this scary forest he’s the lamb
who is wearing a leopard’s skin]
Kodiya pulikali++ thudaruka vazhi
Gathi padukuzhi
[Trying to maintain this act of being a leopard,
he ends up a pit.]

Oduvil avasaram ivanau anayumo?
Thirayil ivanude nizhal unarumo?
[Will he finally get a chance?
Will his shadow come alive on the screen (movie)?]
Gagana padham athil ivan uyarumo?
Jayam anayumo?
[Will he be thrust into the orbit?
Will he win?]

Nadika thilakavum ivan aniyumo?
Ivane athu vazhi ulakariyumo?
[Will he be awarded the ‘Best Actor’?
Will the world come to know about him? ]
Samayam ithu sakalathum arulukil
Kadhayithu Shubham!
[If time tells all this,
his story ends on a happy note!]

Oruvanu kanavu oru pidiyaavam
Athinu oru vazhi thirayalum aavaam
[Anyone’s allowed a handful of dreams
and can looks for ways to accomplish those]
Jani verumoru jala vara aakki
Paazhakkan paadundo?
[Should you demean your life as a watermark
and waste it?]
Thala mukalil oru iruthala vaalu
Thara adimudi tharayana mullu
[Like a double edged sword hanging on top of your head
Or a floor full of sharp thorns]
Swayam oru keni panithu athinullil
Thannathan kerunno?
[Do those(dreams) create a trap for yourself
and make you fall into it?]

*Thakathimi thajam – This is a beat in Indian classical dance. It is used in a humorous way here to show the sound of falling.
**Thalam – Thalam or nellikka thalam to be exact is an ayurvedic paste made using nellikka (gooseberries ). This paste is supposed to give cooling effects to your body. Nellikka has a special taste – when you bite into it, it is
bitter and then leaves a sweet aftertaste when you swallow.This phenomenon even created a phrase in Malayalam to describe bittersweet emotions – “kaychittu irakkanum vayya, madhurichittu thuppanum vayya” which roughly translates
to “cannot swallow because it is bitter or spit because it is sweet”.
***Nahi – it is a Hindi word meaning ‘no’.
+Veruku(civet) – It’s a small animal which always moves around especially if it is caged.
++Pulikali – Pulikali is a traditional street art form of Kerala performed during Onam festival. Men paint their bodies to resemble leopards or tigers and dance to drum beats.

Nethavu [Oru Indian Pranayakadha 2013]

Unnikuttan,

As parents we always worry about bullying. Every evening we try to find out how your day went. We give you pointers on what to say back when someone is bothering you with words. You take martial arts lessons to learn to defend physically. We have also encouraged you to find a responsible grown up
depending on where you are because we will not be at your side at all times.

In all our worrying, there is one thing we forgot to consider. Your personality. You are your own person and the best personality trait you have is tact. We have watched you deal unfavorable situations without conflict. If a kid on a play date doesn’t want to play what you suggested, instead of being unyielding/mad/frustrated, you tactfully distract him by offering another game or asking him what he wants to play, while making a deal with him to play what you want later. You use that a lot on us too. Instead of demanding to watch cartoon, you would politely offer to do your piano practice first in exchange of 30
mins of cartoon. You have made us realize that there are much better ways to get your way than make every adversity a battle. I wish I could borrow some of your tact for myself. Seriously! I need it at times.😀

This song is a very funny depiction of how politicians use various tactful and sneaky methods to get ahead in their career. You like to sing the refrain on this.

Vaaledukkanam… vala virikkanam
Vendidathu venda pole vaal madakkanam
[Take up a sword… or cast a net
Or fold your tail as the situation demands]
Vesham kettanam… naanam maattanam
Vendi vannal vaaya pothi ilayedukkenam
[Put on a costume… without any shame
and cover your nose and clean up after someone if needed ]
Maaloru kaanumpol nere nilkkanam
Melore kaal thottu thalayil vaykkanam*
[Stand tall where there is a crowd,
but show respect by touching your superiors’ feet to your head]

Nethavu… innu nethaavu
Nale raajavu… ennum jethaavu
[Leader.. today a leader
Tomorrow you become king… a lifelong winner]
Nethavu… innu nethaavu
Nale raajavu… ennum jethaavu
[Leader.. today a leader
Tomorrow you become king… a lifelong winner]

Vaaledukkanam… vala virikkanam
Vendidathu venda pole vaal madakkanam
[Take up a sword… or cast a net
Or fold your tail as the situation demands]

Kai nanayathe meen pidikkanam**…
meen pidikkanam… meen pidikkanam
[Without wetting your hands, you need to (know the trick to) catch fish…
catch fish… catch fish]
Maanathullathu manassil kaananam***…
manassil kaananam… manassil kaananam
[You have to see what’s in the sky, in your mind
see in your mind… see in your mind]
Aalariyathe kaalu vaaranam…
Aaromal chiri kondu kazhuthu arukkanam****
[Without them knowing, you have to pull on someone’s feet
With your sweet smile slay everyone]

Nethavu… innu nethaavu
Nale raajavu… ennum jethaavu
[Leader.. today a leader
Tomorrow you become king… a lifelong winner]
Nethavu… innu nethaavu
Nale raajavu… ennum jethaavu
[Leader.. today a leader
Tomorrow you become king… a lifelong winner]

Vaaledukkanam… vala virikkanam
Vendidathu venda pole vaal madakkanam
[Take up a sword… or cast a net
Or fold your tail as the situation demands]
Vesham kettanam… naanam maattanam
Vendi vannal vaaya pothi ilayedukkenam
[Put on a costume… without any shame
and cover your nose and clean up after someone if needed ]

Neraanerathu vaakku maattanam
Kaalu maaranam… chodu maattanam
[Change your promised word as you see fit
or your political party… or your steps]
Naalaalu koodumpol keri nilkkanam
Odiyethanam… veeru kaattanam
[where there is a crowd, project yourself to the front
Come running… and show your strength]
Aalunna theeyilu piriyenna paaranam
Aapathil avanonte thadi nokkanam
[When you anticipate a fire
Save your trunk and run away ]

Nethavu… innu nethaavu
Nale raajavu… ennum jethaavu
[Leader.. today a leader
Tomorrow you become king… a lifelong winner]
Nethavu… innu nethaavu
Nale raajavu… ennum jethaavu
[Leader.. today a leader
Tomorrow you become king… a lifelong winner]

Vaaledukkanam… vala virikkanam
Vendidathu venda pole vaal madakkanam
[Take up a sword… or cast a net
Or fold your tail as the situation demands]
Vesham kettanam… naanam maattanam
Vendi vannal vaaya pothi ilayedukkenam
[Put on a costume… without any shame
and cover your nose and clean up after someone if needed ]
Maaloru kaanumpol nere nilkkanam
Melore kaal thottu thalayil vaykkanam*
[Stand tall where there is a crowd,
but show respect by touching your superiors’ feet to your head]

Nethavu… innu nethaavu
Nale raajavu… ennum jethaavu
[Leader.. today a leader
Tomorrow you become king… a lifelong winner]
Nethavu… innu nethaavu
Nale raajavu… ennum jethaavu
[Leader.. today a leader
Tomorrow you become king… a lifelong winner]

*kaal thottu thalayil vaykkanam: Touching elders’/mentors’ feet to your head or falling at their feet is a show of respect in many Indian communities.
**Kai nanayathe meen pidikkanam: Figuratively this means to accomplish something without getting involved.
***Maanathullathu manassil kaananam: This means you should anticipate what is coming in your mind waaaay before it is clearly visible for others.
****kazhuthu arukkanam – literal translation is ‘slit throat’

I Love you Mummy [Bhaskar the Rascal 2015]

Unnikuttan,

This is a funny conversation you and I had recently.

Unni: Mom, remember we are learning about Cinderella in different cultures in Social Studies? We watched the movie Pocahontas today, up until the bad part.
Mom: Yeah? What happened? She died?
Unni (rolling eyes): Uh! No mom!
Mom: Oh! Then what?
Unni: THE KISS!!!!!
Mom: *Laughing so much tearing up*

This song has been your recent favorite because of the catchy tune. You ask your dad to play the video for you and you have started singing refrain to me whenever you want to say the words.😀

Here’s to hoping I never end up on your list of girls with cooties.😉

Child:
I love you, I love you, I love you mummy

Mizhi neerkanagal maayan…oru pattu moolaam kaathil
Ee kannil chundil nenjil…thean umma tharaam njan
[To make your tears disappear… I’ll hum a song in your ears
On these eyes, lips and heart… I’ll give you sweet kisses]
Ee naattu maavil neele…paal kathirukal aadum naalil
Ee raa kinaavin koottil chaayum poonilavu alle
[On this mango tree… when these white little flowers are swaying
On this dreamy night, you are my beautiful moon]

Mom:
Poongaattu vannee pookkal…cherthu nenjil chaare
Ee paathiraa thaaram…nokki ninnu doore
[The darling breeze came and took these flowers to it’s bosom
This midnight star… Looked at you from afar]
Ee mooka vaanin konil…deepa naalam pole
Nee kanavilum ninavilum kathiroliyaai
[In this lonely sky’s corner… like a flame of a small lamp
you have lighted my dreams and thoughts]

Child:
I love you, I love you, I love you mummy
I love you, I love you, I love you mummy

Annu attukattil pole…madi melurakki enne
Ee kaathil thorade ere…thaaraattukal paadi
[Like a swing… you made me sleep on your lap
In my ears you sang… a lot of lullabies]
Ee raavu urangeedaathe…pakaram muzhukkum paattil
Aa poyakaalam korinirachchoru kaattu thenilley
[In this night without sleeping…these songs we are singing
is reminiscing about those days past… like wild raw honey]

Mom:
Mun veenayaai njan ninnu…mauna gaanam pole
En novu thengi pinne…nin chirikkaai ponne
[I stood as a clay veena*…with a silent song
My pain ached for your… sweet smile, darling]
Ee mooka vaanin konil…sneha deepam pole
Nee kanavilum ninavilum kathiroliyaai
[In this lonely sky’s corner… like a lamp showering love
you have lighted my dreams and thoughts]

Child:
I love you, I love you, I love you mummy
I love you, I love you, I love you mummy

Aaha ha ha aahaa ha ha aaha ha aa..
Aaha ha ha aahaa ha ha aaha ha aa..

Panineer kudangal chaayum…oru poo vanam polennum
Ee ullinnullil vaazhum…en amma nilaave
[Filled with swaying roses…like a garden
You fill my heart, my mommy moon]
Ee kai kudannakkulil…nee thazhukiyunarthum choodil
Ee kodamanjil moodi urangaan chelayaai en koode
[In your arms…when you pat me to sleep
in this foggy night, you are like a warm blanket that hugs me]

Mom:
Chenthaamarapoo pole…aadi nilkkaathe vaa
Ee maarilaalolam…chaiurangaan vaayo
[Like a red lotus… stop swaying and come to me
To be close to my chest …and rocked to sleep]
Ee mooka vaanin konil…thaara jaalam pole
Nee kanavilum ninavilum kathiroliyaai
[In this lonely sky’s corner… like a galaxy of stars
you have lighted my dreams and thoughts]

Child:
I love you, I love you, I love you mummy
I love you, I love you, I love you mummy

*Veena – A string instrument used in classical Indian music.

Maangalyam [Bangalore Days 2014]

Unnikuttan,

Another year has gone by. You are slowly growing out of your childhood innocence. You don’t believe in santa or tooth fairy any more😦 and has taken to demanding the Christmas gifts from us. You even tried to charge a steep price for your fallen teeth (Well, $5 each is a bit much  :P ). Along with these, you are starting to notice the difference between on-screen and printed make believe stories and real life. You ask whether Mammooty/Mohanlal/Prithviraj are 6th degree black belt like your martial arts instructor, prompting your dad to give you a talk about Chinese martial arts actors and use of wires to enhance the fight sequences.😀  You were amazed to find that actors you know from other movies give voices to some of the cartoon characters you love. You look up videos on youtube to see the making of an animation movie and swear to me that you want to become an animation engineer when you grow up.😀

This is a peppy song you like. When this song plays in our home, you’ll come running from wherever and start singing along with “thanthunanena”.😀. Now…ask me that question again…You know which one, right? – whether the guy and girl in this movie gets married for real?.😉

Pachakilikkoru koodu
Pacha karimbu azhi ulla koodu
[A cage for you, green bird
A cage with green bamboo bars]
Pachakilikkoru koodu
Pacha karikmbu azhi ulla koodu
[A cage for you, green bird
A cage with green bamboo bars]
Ooo…Kannalan kettunnundallo ho..ooo..
Athu ninne koottan aanallo
[Ooo…Your beloved is building ho..ooo..
To make a home with you]

Thudakkam maangalyam thanthunanena
Pinne jeevitham dhumthananena
[First comes the wedding…
Then comes life…]
Thudakkam maangalyam thanthunanena
Pinne jeevitham dhumthananena
[First comes the wedding…
Then comes life…]
Thudakkam maangalyam thanthunanena
Pinne jeevitham dhumthananena
[First comes the wedding…
Then comes life…]

Kaniyalle kanmaniyalle…Aadhyam chollum nin kanavan
Kanna nee veyil kollalle neeyum chollum
[“How beautiful you are, how precious!” your husband will say in the beginning
“Darling don’t stand in the sun”, you will tell him]
O… kadhamaarum chekavan* aakum urumi** edukkum padaveeran
Hey hey pinnothirakadakam…Hey Hey eri podi angam
[O…Then story will turn and he will take a sword
Hey hey then othirakadakam***…Hey hey and a spicy fight]

Ketto, nee ketto ee koottil pettal pinne
Neelaakasham kandorillannaro chollunne
[Have you heard, if you are locked in this cage…
You will never see the blue skies again]
Kannal en kannal njan kalla thakkol theerkkum
Velli pakshikkoppam mele vinnil paarum njaanum
[With my eyes, I’ll make a key and use it…
to fly with silver bird in the sky above]
Midukkiye merukki, thali kurukkil akki, kurumbu othokki
Thadankalil thalachu kaanan… manassilum oru kothiyundallo
[The wilful girl being tamed, being tied with the sacred knot, her naughtiness being calmed
and her getting caged… I have a wish to see that]
Ha!… Kurumbu katturumbu koottam nuzhanju kerathe adachu ketti
Enikkavan orikki nalkum oru swargam
[Ha!…You naughty band of ants will be kept out…
from the heaven he creates for me]

Thudakkam maangalyam thanthunanena
Pinne jeevitham dhumthananena
[First comes the wedding…
Then comes life…]

Pachakilikkoru koodu
Pacha karimbu azi ulla koodu
[A cage for you… green bird
A cage with green bamboo bars]
Pachakilikkoru koodu
Pacha karimbu azi ulla koodu
[A cage for you… green bird
A cage with green bamboo bars]
Ooo..Kannalan kettunnundallo ho..ooo…
Athu ninne koottanaanallo
[Ooo…Your beloved is building
To make a home with you]

Thudakkam maangalyam thanthunanena
Pinne jeevitham dhumthananena (3)
[First comes the wedding…
Then comes life…]

Maangalyam thanthunanena
Pinne jeevitham dhumthananena (3)
[Wedding…Then comes life…]

*Chekavan – Chekavanmaar are warriors who lived in Kerala long back.
**Urumi – This is a special sword which has very flexible blade that can be rolled like a whip.
***Othrirakadakam – Kalarippayattu is a martial arts form practiced in Kerala by Chekavanmaar. From my understanding, othirakadakam is a martial arts move in kalarippayattu. I could be wrong though.🙂

ps: If you are looking for more song translations from Bangalore Days, head over to my other blog: paattinteparibhasha.com

O…Ponthoovalai [Ee Adutha Kaalathu 2012]

Unnikuttan,

The other day, we met an infant at a party. When we were about to leave and were saying goodbyes, you went right next to the little one and said bye in a baby voice,  shaking the tiny feet. The baby’s mom was really impressed.🙂  I didn’t even think you noticed the baby, because you were so busy playing with your other friends… and here you were cooing to the baby!  These are the times I am amazed by your softer side.🙂

The music of this song feels so light and just makes me wanna twirl on the lawn under soft sun and breeze.😀  You always claim this is mom’s favorite. I absolutely love the singer’s voice. Sometimes you try to trade me with 2 repeats of ‘Wake up! Sid’ for a repeat of this song. But I know you secretly like this one too.  :D

O… Ponthoovalai
Aalolam njaan meyum vaanidangal (Repeat 2 lines)
[O…Like a golden feather
I softly graze around in the sky]
O… Kunjolamai
Saamodam njaan thedum saagarangal
[O…Like a small wave
I gladly search for my ocean]

+Fasana yeh yaarana
Ya azaadi ka taraana
[Is it a love story, this friendship?
Or a music note of freedom?]

Sooryanaalam ettithaa thilakkamaarnnum
Pookkalum kinaakkalum..vilola neela shalabham pol
[Catching sun’s rays, I glow.
In flowers and dreams, like a blue butterfly… ]
Paarukayai… Njaanithile..poyppoya swargangal nedaanai
Kaarmukile..ninnudalil..paalunna thoominnal njaanalle…
[..I’m flying here to get back my lost heaven
I’m the silver lightning which strikes across the rain clouds]

+Fasana yeh yaarana
Ya azaadi ka taraana
[Is it a love story, this friendship?
Or a music note of freedom?]

Chandrane thodaan itha pathukke vannuu…
Kaikal neetti nilkkumee vishaada mooka raavinte
[To touch the moon, softly,
this sad silent night is extending it’s hands]
Aelelam… chelelam..minnunna polthaaram njaanalle
Jaalakame nin virikal…paarunna kaattente paattalle
[I’m the twinkling star which brings respite in this depressing night
The soft breeze which flutters the window curtains, is my song]

+Fasana yeh yaarana
Ya azaadi ka taraana
[Is it a love story, this friendship?
Or a music note of freedom?]

O… Ponthoovalai
Aalolam njaan meyum vaanidangal
[O…Like a golden feather
I softly graze around in the sky]
O…Kunjolamai
Saamodam njaan thedum saagarangal
[O…Like a small wave
I gladly search for my ocean]

+Fasana yeh yaarana
Ya azaadi ka taraana
[Is it a love story, this friendship?
Or a music note of freedom?]

+ These two lines are in Hindi/Urdu.

Chillane [22 Female Kottayam 2012]

Unnikuttan,

Finally summer is here!.You are looking forward to grandparents’ visit, summer camp, swim classes, weekend trips and all. I have to remember to buy some art supplies for you. Hopefully that will keep you entertained for some hours everyday. Your art work is becoming better and better each day. I was blown away by the dinosaur(your favorite subject) you drew the other day at school. More than anything, I think you are waiting to sleep in every morning for next couple of months.😛 No more of mommy’s “Wake up! Unnikuttan” so early in the morning for sometime, huh?. I think your dad will be the happiest, because on some days, right after I call you, you turn to your dad, wake him up and say “Daddy, wake me up after 5 mins, ok?” and go back to sleep.😀

Here is one of our preferred songs for a long drive.  I think this is the closest Malayalam has for rock. It is a beautiful song with nice lyrics and even better music.   I know you love the electric guitar in this.🙂

Chillaane… ninnudal minnana chillu
Theeveyil thokkane chillu
[Glass….Your body is like twinkling glass
A glass who withstands even fiery sunlight]
Poovaane… thenthulli chorane penne
Poovandukalkkulil pore…
[You are a flower…girl, you ooze nectar
Come inside the flower beetles]
Oru chandhanakkaattile thennalu porunne
Nee pokumvazhi nin poovudal moodunne
[A breeze is blowing touching the Sandalwood trees
And it envelopes your soft body wherever you go]
Penne ninne kaanan…
Thaarakam maanathu vanne
[Girl, to watch you,
the star appeared in the sky]

Chillaane… ponvaiyil minnana chillu
Oh kallaane… Venthinkal mookkuthi kallu
[Glass…the golden sunbeams reflects off you
Rock…The moon is a rock on your nose pin…]
Nira chempaka thoppile chithra pathangangal
Nee paadunna paattile ponmadhu thedunne
[The butterflies in the woods with chempaka* trees…
is searching for the golden honey in your song]
Penne ninne pulkaan…
Maarivil thaazhathu vanne
[Girl, to embrace you
the rainbow came down to earth]

Chillaane ponveyil minnana chillu
Oh kallaane… Venthinkal mookkuthi kallu…
[Glass…the golden sunbeams reflects off you
Rock…The moon is a rock on your nose pin…]

*Chempakam or Frangipani is a flowering tree with a sweet smelling flower.

Johny mone Johny [ABCD 2013]

Unnikuttan,

You have probably realized your parents’ love affair with NYC by now. We make it a point to go to the city 2-3 times every summer – sometimes to visit Ammayi and sometimes for no reason. We love taking the ferry, grabbing lunch at some restaurant in West Village, riding the metro, just wading through the crowded streets, shopping at the Macy’s (at least mom does ;D), keeping abreast of developments at the Ground Zero/Freedom Tower site, walking through the beautiful Central park, sitting at the WTC dock waiting for the water taxi back, enjoying the breeze while watching the New Jersey skyline at night. I don’t know if you remember going to the Skippyjon Jones play one time (may be it’s time to go again) or our trip to the Liberty island last summer. You really like to travel and enjoy each new experience to its fullest.

Hmmm… Now, this is a song your dad strongly dislikes.😀 I love the music, especially the mix of Indian and western instruments, but not the lyrics. It’s fast, easy to sing with lots of English words in it, so you like it.🙂

Johny mone Johny
You are my kannin mani*
[Johny son Johny
You are the apple of my eye]
Johny mone Johny
Why you want plenty money?

(What goes around round round, comes around -2
Fool around round… you fool around
Daddy knows, he knows!)

Pappa bharanam vendappa…
Ithu New York life entappa..
[Pappa, don’t try to rule me
This is New York life dude!]
We are New York boys pappa…
Sorry Pappa!…

Johny mone johny
You are my kannin mani*
[Johny son Johny
You are the apple of my eye]
Johny mone johny
Why you want plenty money?

+Enthathishayame Daivathin sneham
Ethra manoharame…
[How wonderful is God’s love
How beautiful it is!]
Athu chinthayil adanga sindhu samanamai
Santhatham kanunnu njan….
[It is something we cannot fathom, just like the vast oceans]
Enthathishayame Daivathin sneham
Ehtra Manoharame….
[How wonderful is God’s love
How beautiful it is!]

Vinnil melle melle mutham vekkum ente New York**
[Kissing the skies softly, my New York]
Oh… New York..
Njanum enno enno nintethayi ente New York
[I have also become yours, my New York]
Oh… New York…
Minnum nin kannale nee aare thedunnu
Vannethan undo veendum aaro aaro…
[With your twinkling eyes, who are you searching for?
Is there anyone else who you are waiting for?]
Oh Johny…Oh Johny…You are Crazy..You are freaky…
New Yorkil minni paayum ABCD…
[Living up the fast life in New York, you ABCD***]

Pappa bharanam vendappa..
Ithu New York life entappa..
[Pappa, don’t try to rule me
This is New York life dude!]
We are New York boys pappa…
Sorry Pappa!..

Twinkle twinkle thaaram chayanethum ente New York..
[Twinkling stars comes to sleep in my New York]
Oh… New York…
Ormapoovil mayathennum ennil chernnee dew drop..
[You stay in my memories, like a dew drop]
Oh.. New York..
++ Neeyaro… Njanaro… Ooretho… Peretho…
Chodikkillaarum aarum nero nero?..
[Who are you? Who am I? Where are you from? What’s your name?
No one will ask you, is it true?]
Oh Johny…Oh Johny… mohathin thereri
Ennennum engottani magic journey….
[Oh Johny…Oh Johny…riding the chariot of wishes,
which magic journey are going on everyday? ]

Pappa bharanam vendappa..
Ithu New York life entappa..
[Pappa, don’t try to rule me
This is New York life dude!]
We are New York boys pappa…
Sorry Pappa!..

* Kannin mani or kannmani means iris of the eye – used in reference to being precious.
** It is referring to the skyscrapers in NYC.
*** ABCD – American Born Confused Desi – Your dad and I are trying so hard to NOT make you one..:D…Jokes aside, I feel the confused part happens when parents try to impart their own strict cultural lessons to their American born kids, without letting them assimilate to the American culture. We try to bring a balance to your life. Hope we are successful in the long run and help you literally live up to your name.🙂
+ Enthathishayame is a very popular Christian hymn.
++ These two lines define NYC – A truly cosmopolitan city which just accepts you as you are, no questions asked.

Unnam Marannu [In Harihar Nagar 1990]

Unnikuttan,

It is really fun to watch you having a philosophical discussion with your dad. You say the darnedest things which would then leave us to wonder if we have a teen. Here is one of them:

You were upset about not clearing a level in your DS and your dad was trying to pacify you by giving some life lessons.
Dad: You know mone(son), nothing in life comes easy.
Mom: (listening in)😀
You: (with a flat tone and straight face) Really? How about eating potato chips?
Dad: (stumped!) Ummmm…
Mom: LOL

This is a beautiful song with excellent but complicated lyrics which describes how seriously we take ourselves when we don’t even know what is going to happen tomorrow. I am not sure why you like this song. The only explanation I can think of is that you like the techno beats in the copy I own. You have only heard the remix version which appeared in the sequel and not the original movie. It is hard for you to even remember the song’s name and you get frustrated when I don’t understand it is this one you are requesting, to be played.🙂

Unnam marannu thenniparanna ponnin kinaakkalellam
Onnicheduthu karalintakathu chillittadachathalle(2)
[Our golden dreams which scatter in different directions if let free
are all kept locked away in the glass window of our hearts…]
Veruthe kolam thullum*… manase pavam neeyum
[Dancing for no reason…my poor mind]
Vazhiyil chekkayunarum, valuvirayan pakshi parayum
Bhoomiyini adimudi kulungumen kuruvalonnu anangumbol
[The one who chirps on the countryside, the wagtail bird, will say
“The whole earth shakes when my little tail moves”]

Poovanu ahankaram ividini njan kokkarako
koovuka illengil ethu vazhiye pularivarum
[The proud rooster thinks: “If I do not crow,
how will the dawn come?”]
Ushireriyaal puli pulledaa… ushirillennu athu neredaa
Eli thummiyaal mala veezhumo?… eritheeyil chiri vevumo?**
[Facing the leopard is trivial if we have courage,but truth is we don’t have any
If a mouse sneezes, will the mountain fall?… Will laugh cook in open fire?]
Kalaham koodum ulakam… medu palathum kaattiyithile
paayumoru puzhayude thirayile nurayude thari ivar
[Even when the world fights…touching different meadows,
we are all flowing like little droplets in the foaming waves of rapids]

Cheru kuzhiyanakalum madam ilakum kanavukalil***
Kanalil arikkaruthe ini veruthe, chithalukale
[The small antlion larve dream going crazy like elephants
Don’t feed on glowing embers, you termites… ]
Njaanjoolinum sheelkkaaramo… njaanennu ahambhavamo
Maaralayum chemballiyum melkkoora thaangunnuvo
[Is the earthworm hissing like a snake?… and being too proud about self
Does the spider web and lizard feel that they support the ceiling?]
Prakruthi… ninte vikruthi… enthu thakruthi… ennoraruthi
chollum athinu oruvanum aruthu athu valiyoru pazhamozhi
[Oh Nature! Your high handedness! How fast things change! Will this ever end?
No one can say…and this is an important proverb]

Unnam marannu thenniparanna ponnin kinaakkalellam
Onnicheduthu karalintakathu chillittadachathalle(2)
[Our golden dreams which scatter in different directions if let free
are all kept locked away in the glass window of our hearts…]
Veruthe kolam thullum*… manase pavam neeyum
[Dancing for no reason…my poor mind]
Vazhiyil chekkayunarum, valuvirayan pakshi parayum
Bhoomiyini adimudi kulungumen kuruvalonnu anangumbol
[The one who chirps on the countryside, the wagtail bird, will say
“The earth shakes when my little tail moves”]

* Kolam thullal is a temple dance art form in Kerala.
** “Eritheeyil chiri vevumo?” – Figuratively this would mean “Can you get out of trouble with just a grin?”
*** This line makes sense only if you read it in Malayalam because of the similarity between elephant’s Malayalam name ‘Aana’ and antlion’s Malayalam name ‘Kuzhiyaana’. Madam means musth – happens only to male elephants when they become adults which makes them very aggressive. Antlion larve live in little kuzhis(pits) they make for trapping their prey and their pincers look a bit like the elephant’s trunk and hence the name kuzhiyaana. They walk backwards. When I was little, I used to hunt for kuzhiyaanas, put them on a sheet of sand to see them make doodles just by walking.🙂.

Muthuchippi Poloru [Thattathin Marayathu 2012]

Unnikuttan,

You know, you are a little goof ball most times. You are sure the FM station is not playing “Summer of ’69” because the weather is cold (and was ecstatic when they did one day last week). You love debating your dad on who sang “Eye of the tiger” (Katy Perry, Of Course!😉 ) and he had to remind himself that you are too young to know who Rocky is. You like talking in rhymes and making up words for tunes which run in your mind – like the time you were jamming to Adam Levine on the radio – “I gotta moo like a cow..gotta moo like a cow..mooooo ooo oo like a cow..”.😀 At times it gets so annoying that your dad and I place a 5 minute speaking ban on you. Though, now-a-days, we find ourselves depending on you more and more to find out the words of new English pop songs on FM.🙂

This is the first song in Malayalam you ever attempted to sing on your own. I remember you asking me to describe in English what the song means. Your grandparents were so proud when you sang it for them..:)

En Omale..Enn Shwasame..Enn Jeevane..Aaisha(2)
[My darling..My breath…My life.. Aaisha]

Muthuchippi poloru kathinullill vannoru kinnaaram
Kinnarichu paaduvaan ullin ullill ninnoru shree raagaam (repeat 2 lines)
[In a letter, like a pearl oyster, came some sweet words
To sing a song from your heart in shree raagam*]

Moodal Manjin kulirulla pulariyil
Paari paari ennum ente kanavukalil
Varavaayi nee Aaisha…(2)
[In the foggy and chilly mornings
flying in my dreams..
you are coming, Aaisha..(2)]

Muthuchippi poloru kathinullill vannoru kinnaaram
Kinnarichu paaduvaan ullin ullill ninnoru shree raagaam
[In a letter, like a pearl oyster, came some sweet words
To sing a song from your heart in shree raagam*]

Oru kaatu en poonkavil thazhukum…priyamaam sandheshavum anayum
Oru cheppill ninte maanasam niraye poovidum aashakal kaanuvaan mohamaayi
[Like a breeze caressing my face…a dear message is here
A little box full of your dreams, that’s what I am wishing to see in that]
Poovinte maarile madhuvaarnoru naru thean thullipol..
Aardramaam nenjille priyamaarnora mugham ennennum nee…ariyu Aaisha
[Like a drop of sweet nectar from the bosom of a flower…
the dear face in my soft heart…is you Aaisha]

Muthuchippi poloru kathinullill vannoru kinnaaram
Kinnarichu paaduvaan ullin ullill ninnoru shree raagaam
[In a letter, like a pearl oyster, came some sweet words
To sing a song from your heart in Shree raagam*]

Moodal Manjin kulirulla pulariyil
Paari paari ennum ente kanavukalil
Varavaayi nee Aaisha…(2)
[In the foggy and chilly mornings
flying in my dreams..
you are coming, Aaisha..(2)]

Muthuchippi poloru kathinullill vannoru kinnaaram
thananana thaanana thananana thaanana…shree raagam
[In a letter, like a pearl oyster, came some sweet words
thananana thaanana thananana thaanana… shree raagam*]

* Raagam is the way musical notes are coined together to make a tune. Sometimes when we hear a song, we feel like it is similar to another song we have heard. This is because they could be of the same raagam. Sometimes mazha(rain) is  supposed to have shree raagam.