Unni Vaavaavo [Santhwanam 1991]

Unnikuttan,

I am not sure how long you will let us call you by this name. This song is the lullaby I used to sing to you on most days when you were a baby and you needed some “potti-potti”(That was your toddler talk for kotti-kotti or pat me to sleep). I have sung this song for a lot of little kids I baby-sat along the years, but never had an idea that one day I’ll have my own unni to sing it to.. :).. You are growing up so fast, but even now there are some days when you ask for the potti-potti – and I wish I could just bottle up this time for myself to look back on.

This song is actually talking about a special unni(baby) – Unnikannan or Lord Krishna from Mahabharat. If you want to know more, go read up on his childhood antics. It’s really fun- for starters, he used to love stealing butter to eat. If you feel unfamiliar with some words here, it’s because I didn’t know the whole song myself and used to scramble up the lines/ add new words to it as I saw fit.. 😀

Unni vaavaavo…. ponnunni vaavaavo
[Unni vaavaavo.. dearest unni vaavaavo]

Neela peeli kannum pootti
Pooncheladalo..kayyil pooncheladallo
[With your blue eyelashes closed ..
you swing… in my arms, you swing…]

Mukilamme mazhavillundo…Mayilamme thirumudiyundo
Ponnunni kannanu seemani…Kanikanan melle poru
[Hey cloud, do you have a rainbow?.. Hey peahen, do you have beautiful feathers?
For my little kannan… please come as a kani* offering..]

Alanjoriyum poonkatte…Aramaniyum chaarthivaru
Ennunni kannanurangan vaavaavo paadi varu…vaavaavo paadi varu
[Hey gentle breeze which makes waves…come with your waist chain with bells**
For my unni to sleep, sing vaavavo and come…. sing vaavao and come]

Unni vaavaavo…. ponnunni vaavaavo
[Unni vaavaavo.. dearest unni vaavaavo]

Neela peeli kannum pootti
Pooncheladalo..kayyil pooncheladallo
[With your blue eyelashes closed ..
you swing… in my arms, you swing…]

Oru kannayi sooryanurangu…Maru kannayi thinkalurangu
Thrikkayil venna urangu…Mamooninu bhoomi orungu
[As one eye, let the sun sleep… as the other eye, let the moon sleep
In your little hands,let the butter sleep…for your mealtime,let the earth get ready ***]

Thiru madhuram kanavil urangu…Thirunamam naavil urangu
Ennunni kannanurangan moolokam+ muzhuvan urangu..Moolokam muzhuvan urangu
[Let you have sweet dreams…let the God’s name be on your tongue
For my baby kannan to sleep, let all three worlds sleep… let all three worlds sleep]

Unni vaavaavo…. ponnunni vaavaavo
[Unni vaavaavo.. dearest unni vaavaavo]

Neela peeli kannum pootti
Pooncheladalo..kayyil pooncheladallo
[With your blue eyelashes closed ..
you swing… in my arms, you swing…]

*Kani literally means a sight. Vishu is the new year in Malayalam calendar (yeah, there is a Malayalam calendar..:)) and on Vishu morning, it is auspicious to view a good kani first thing in the morning as per Hindu custom. It consists of fruits and other nice things including a beautiful yellow flower called konna. Vishu usually falls in April and all konna trees will be flowering around that season. It is a beautiful sight by itself.
** Aramani is referring to the rustling sound wind makes.
*** Lord Krishna had a habit of eating soil when he was little.
+Moolokam – Three worlds – heaven, earth and pathalam(underground)

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8 responses to “Unni Vaavaavo [Santhwanam 1991]

  1. Thumbi,
    Do you know yesterday I remembered this movie when I head the other song from this movie “Swarakanyakamar” Oh I didn’t really check the meaning of the lyrics before, of course, the terms are familiar but have not connected them like you did. Its a shame to admit that I haven’t noticed that the song was about Krishna’s antics until you pointed out..Have I told you before? that I love those notes you write before each song? — “I have sung this song for a lot of little kids I baby-sat along the years, but never had an idea that one day I’ll have my own unni to sing it to.. :)..something about this line made me smile…as well as hope!

    • I like ‘Swarakanyakamaar’ too.. Both these songs were so popular during the time they came out and these were playing in chitrageetham often.. 🙂
      I know what you mean, I didn’t realize the song was talking about the Unnikannan either, till I went through the lines and tried to make sense of it. I should’ve guessed when it said ‘neela peeli’.. 🙂
      Have you also held babies and pretended they were yours? 😀 (and I am not even a patient baby person). My kind of babies were the really little ones who always slept peacefully.. ha ha..

  2. Nice one 🙂 This one would have been a part of my wish list!

  3. Listening to this on youtube now. I must have been a kid when I heard this song the first time around. You know, there are some songs that I have heard in my childhood and sang along with it without having a clue as to what those lyrics meant. This is definitely one of them.

    • Haven’t we all done that?… :)… Till I started writing the translation, I hadn’t really thought about what this meant… 🙂

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