Archive for July, 2016

kabAli it is and not kapAli

The word ‘kabAli’ is prime cannon fodder for my pseudo Tamil friends who don’t lose any opportunity to deride the “consonantal economy” (read ‘their perceived inadequacy’) of the Tamil language with a friendly yet condescending smug smirk.

‘KabAli’ is the most uttered/searched Tamil word this week thanks to our native kannada/marathi speaking superstar.

Rajinikanth_Kabali

Probably one of the most ancient landmarks of Chennai (perhaps not the current one but the one supposedly demolished earlier by the Portugese) is the Kapalisvara temple in Tiru Mayilai; and the association between the skull kapala and Shiva is there all over Indian mythology. However, for all practical purpuses, Kapalisvara becomes Kabalisvara and the Kapali temple becomes the famous KabAli koyil. Not only devotees and temple priests, even rowdies are named Kabaali.(I am very sure no rowdy was born one to start with).

There is so much of interchangeability between pa and ba both represented by the Tamil letter ப.

The humble ப doubles up, nay quadruples into pa, pha, ba and bha as demanded by the situation. Thus we have the sanskrit word pAdam to denote a foot, paNi to denote a snake (phani in sanskrit), palam pronounced balam in Tamil to denote strength, and pasmam pronounced basmam to denote bhasma (ash).

The nature of the Tamil language is such that sometimes the pa in a sanskrit word morphs into a ba.

Thus, growing up in Chennai, I always thought Poories were Boories. And I have also heard the word Padmini pronounced Batmini. Even the tamil word palli becomes balli on occasion.

If ‘pa’ occurs in the middle of a word, it gets pronounced as pa only when prefixed with an ‘ip’, as in kappal, theppam, kappam etc. or an ‘it’ as in natpu, thatpam etc. Otherwise, ba takes over. shApam becomes sAbam but japam becomes jabam, tApam becomes tAbam, kapham becomes kabam; even Gopal becomes Gobal – perhaps thanks to the Tamil word tabal (postal services) and needless to say subham becomes subam.
(Note – tapas, tApam, kapham, gopal, subham are all shared between Tamil and Sanskrit).

 

Our Karnatic Musicians regardless of some of their misadventures with Telugu words faithfully render the Papanasam Sivam song ‘kapAli’ with the pA intact!

Regardless of the mohana raga classic, the film kabAli establishes the ba firmly in place.

Try saying ‘kapali da kapali’! See how wimpy it sounds. It is an emasculated version of the now powerful swagger ‘kabali da kabali’.

So, I swell with pride as I tell my pseudo Tamil speaking friends. Wipe away your smiles. Sanskrit or no sanskrit – kabAli it is. None other than our superstar has established it. Even the lexicon will change in order to honor him.

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July 21, 2016 at 7:38 pm Leave a comment

Where do we begin?

I am appalled by the events of the last few days in the United States.

The fact that we are all connected to the same source gets blurred in the stark presence of racial divide and centuries of prejudice and more importantly in the illusion of division and duality that deprives us  of our fundamental sense of oneness.

Despite mind blowing connectivity, a shared knowledge-space, and an app-driven world, there is a tremendous deficit of equality and justice.  Differences get amplified. The undercurrent of oneness is muffled by the din of clamor for resources arising from a false perception of scarcity, competition, one-upmanship, a false veneer of superiority to disguise the sense of fallibility that lies within.

We  are all collectively responsible for the current state of society that fosters hatred and propels some into acts of hate and violence. We are blinded by the illusion of separateness and a survival mentality  and have bred ‘otherization’ to extreme levels.

Let us set aside the past for a minute.

What do we as responsible global citizens want? What is the possibility that we see?

A violence free world! A world where justice and equality can be taken for granted. A world that is enveloped by every human’s love for all of creation. A world where ‘love’ not ‘the sense of the other’ defines how we relate to one another as human beings enjoying this brief tenure on earth.

I believe that it is a realizable possibility. Even in our lifetime. All that is missing is for us to collectively want it; ask for it; and see it unfold before us. Which secure human mind would not want the world to be thus?

We need to start with this end in our  mind. Educate one another, educate the next generation; our leaders need to start with this eutopian vision of an ‘otherless’ world and a paradigm of abundance – a state of ‘Shanti’ and design our ‘present’ with this future in mind.

Our healing can happen only when we all dip into this space of oneness with a powerful sense of intentionality.  Dip into a space that is beyond religion and beyond the human perception of God where differences naturally do not exist. After all isn’t our fundamental human nature all the same regardless of what our identity is?

I unabashedly borrow a page from my daughter’s blog and derive inspiration from the Sesame Street song ‘We are all earthlings’ that I used to watch along with my kids tearing up each time as I heard the muppets.

Let us all relate to each other in this space of love and possibility

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July 8, 2016 at 10:42 pm Leave a comment


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