In my pursuit to achieve linguistic expertise, I have translated the lyrics of a few Tamil songs to English earlier (Here & Here, for example). In addition to my pursuit of linguistic excellence, I also wanted to explore the depth of the meaning contained in the lyrics.
But those translations were not really challenging enough. One needs a tougher and more in-depth song to translate and I was thinking which song could be the perfect Translator’s challenge… and this song ‘Lalakku Dol Dabbi Maa’ came to my mind immediately! Actually, its the translation and analysis of the first paragraph that is a challenge. There on, the lyrics are pretty normal.
So, I decided to attempt to translate (and analyze) the first paragraph of this song. A naive and casual translator like me, can only ‘attempt’ to translate this song! Ok, now lets go to the translation.
“Lalakku Dol Dabbi Ma”
“??????? ??? Container? ??” – The meaning of these words have remained a mystery for a couple of decades. And they still remain a mystery! To my knowledge, no one has been able to crack this code – If you know, please let us know in the comments section!
“Kanne Gangamma Un Iddupa sutthi thiruppi paramma”
This one is slightly more understandable.
‘Kanne Gangamma’ – ‘Gangamma’ is the name of a lady. ‘Kanne’ literally means, ‘My eyes’. But when used in situations like these, it actually means something like, ‘My dear Gangamma’. Actually, its a poetic phrase because the lady becomes more dearer when the words are used this way. As dear as ones eyes!
‘Un iddupa sutthi thiruppi paramma’ – This is easy to translate, but complex to understand! The male actor wants the lady to look around her hips! Why would one do that? The implications of these words are still under research. Is there a double meaning here? I am not sure!
“Enna Illama velakku eriyuma, Kanne Gangamma Maram izhukkara kayyai paramma”
‘Enna Illama velakku eriyuma’ – Can a lamp burn without oil? Pretty straightforward, this one)
‘Kanne Gangamma, Maram izhukkara kayyai paramma’ – [Kanne Gangamma – same meaning as above] Look at the hands that pull trees (log wood, actually). This one too, is pretty straightforward.
Though the above two statements are straightforward to understand and are stand-alone phrases that make sense individually, taken together they are supposed to mean something? What could be the relation between lamp not burning without oil, and hands that pull log-wood? This one is being debated very hard in linguistic and relationship circles separately – I will let you know if they arrive at any concrete conclusions!
“Hey attak pattak dimmik adikkira dolu payya dabsa… Uttan paaru gapsa”
‘??? ????? ?????? ?????? hitting ???? boy ?????…’ – This really calls for some linguistic specialists. I am too naive, especially when it comes these kind of words in ‘Madras bashai’. Actually, Madras bashai is a mix of a lot of languages like Tamil, Telugu, English, Hindi, Custom-built-language, etc.
‘Uttan paaru gapsa’ – This is also Madras bashai, but this one is simpler to understand. It means, “Hey look, he just lied”.
“Afsa kallu maliya, Aathu pakkam vaariya”
‘???? stone? ??????, Can you come near (my) house’ – The ‘Afsa kallu maliya’ part has been deeply looked at by various linguistic experts at various points of time – No one has been able to comprehend this one!
‘Aathula’ means ‘In the House’. Did I say that the ‘Madras bashai’ is extremely open and takes words from multiple slangs and languages? This is a good example, because this word is used by Brahmin’s to mean ‘house’. Someone must have liked it and integrated it into the vocabulary of the Madras bashai! There are more interesting words like, ‘Kalasu’ and ‘Mokkai’, but explaining about them demand separate post(s)!
Vaariya has evolved from ‘Varuvaya’, ‘Variya’ and finally ‘Vaariya’. God knows its further evolutionary course!!
Yes people, this is the toughest translation and analysis I have done till now. I hope one day, I would come to understand the entire depth of its meaning! 😉
The genre of this song is ‘Dabbang Kuthu’. Yes, this song in unique not only with its words, but also with its dance, music and genre! Its actually a cultural extravaganza!! 😛
The youtube video of this song is available here. And remember, this post is filed under ‘Humour’.