A dash of Pepper…

…with a splash of Mint

The sound of music

Posted by Pepper on January 28, 2014

I read this post by LF today. It felt like a big punch in my gut. Because before I got married to Mint, I was confident I would pick up his language in about 2 years.  Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. I realised today, in March, we will complete 4 years of marriage and there are no signs of me being able to speak in Tamil.

I was happy blaming Mint. He never makes any attempts to teach me, or even get me acquainted with regularly used words. There is almost no scope for my vocabulary to grow. Between the two of us, we comfortably lapse into Hindi and English. Even my inlaws speak very fluent English and communicating with them has never been a problem. When I have such little exposure, how am I to pick up the language, eh? Why can’t Mint take the initiative to speak to me in Tamil atleast sometimes? Even if it is just a line every now and then? How else will I learn it? It IS his fault. Knowing that relieved me.

And then I read LF’s post today and it resonated with me on so many levels. She managed to learn her husband’s language although they both communicate in English and Hindi. Just like us. Her abilities amaze me and make me realise I can’t use Mint’s uselessness as an excuse anymore.

Since Mint shows no interest in teaching me Tamil, I take the initiative to speak it in the way I can. It results in a mix of Tamil and Hindi, but he understands. Sometimes, the sentences I come up with would make any Tamil lover want to slaughter me. I ask for your forgiveness, people. But it is the only way I can learn. So a direct translation of “Tu abhi coffee peeyega?” is made and I ask him “Nee ippo coffee kudega?” Yes. Kudega! Or “Kab khaana hai?” becomes “Eppo saapdana hai?” Like I said, forgive me.

There is one thing I hold on to, though. Tamil music. No, I don’t understand the lyrics completely, but that doesn’t stop me from loving the sound of the music. I even sing the songs when no Tamil speaking person is around me. So today, I will put up some of my favourite songs. These songs were packed into my iPod. Those were the days in which Mint would stay up all night and translate each line for me! Yes, we made good use of skype during our US-UK days. I should have hung on to those times some more, because I am bloody sure he will think I have lost it if I ask him to spend even an hour translating for me now. Thankfully, I understand them a lot better now than I did earlier. Here we go! In no particular order..







33 Responses to “The sound of music”

  1. All these songs happen to be my favorites too 🙂
    Pepper !! one day you will shock Mint by speaking proper Tamil 🙂 Best wishes 🙂

  2. Interesting post:) hey, btw, the first video shows meenakshi sheshadri.

  3. Bingo said

    Pepper, I am so so so like you. Here, I am struggling to talk in Hindi. BD didn’t even thought of teaching me but, I am not blaming him. I believe we should start conversing then only we can learn. I can understand if someone talks in Hindi but I cannot reply in Hindi. Also I have this pronunciation problem 😦
    BTW, the list is awesome 🙂
    Eppo sapadana hai – ROFL

    • Pepper said

      Atleast you can understand if someone talks in Hindi. That is big. Enough to make your way through. As far as the pronunciation goes, don’t bother how it sounds. Just talk 🙂 I try doing the same, so I know how difficult it is. But it is the only way.

  4. Revs said

    All these songs feature in my favourite playlist 🙂 Listen to ‘Ennai kaanavillaiyae netrodu’ from Kaadhal Desam as well, please?

    And oh, you should have just married me! Ain’t I the only person who speaks to you in Tamil? Now I’ll take up the duty of introducing you to more tamil songs, ok?

    • Pepper said

      Let me go and listen to that song.
      And yes! You are the only one who speaks to me in Tamil. I don’t know why I didn’t marry you. Never mind the past. Do you agree to marry me now? I’ll divorce the useless man I married 😛

  5. MR said

    Nice list.. marriage changes stuff a bit right? My husband spent hours singing and reminiscing about songs before we got married now … not so much 🙂

    • Pepper said

      I think more than marriage, it is time that changes things. I am sure Mint would not agree to do such things even if we were still together, unmarried. Lol..

  6. Gayathri said

    Wow… My curious question to LF did provide blog fodder for both of you…:) I’m glad.. And one huge pat on the back for Mint, for introducing you to such awesome songs… I feel a strong connection to anyone who has listened to ‘Sundari..’ I fell in love with Ilayaraja after listening to that song. I hope you get to hear many more wonderful songs.

  7. Learning a south Indian language wouldn’t be so easy for you babe. One thing I will recommend you though is make sure when you have kids you talk in your respective mother tongue from the beginning. Chucky understands Hindi better than Malayalam or Telugu. When grandparents are here I feel they get connected better over their mother tongue but she speaks only English. Sigh!

    • Pepper said

      Learning a South Indian language is really tough! And my mother tongue too is a sad story. It is hardly spoken now 😦 I am not very fluent myself. I hope atleast Mint talks to the kids in Tam.

      Don’t blame Chucky for speaking only English you know. Her environment would most influence her choice of language.

  8. Maya said

    Awesome songs, Pepper. Good luck with picking up Tamil. It’s not such a difficult language, anyway! 😉

    I’m not so good at picking up languages. This came as a big handicap when we moved to Hyd. Am no good at Hindi or Telugu. Hindi, I try to manage like your Tamil. That, with my maid and autowalas. I know they’ll laugh later but I don’t care these days. I know this is the only way I can learn it. Telugu, I’ve bought a book and am trying to learn as many words I can. I am hoping I can speak a few sentences coherently in Telugu before we leave this place. Let’s see.

  9. R's Mom said

    hahaha! your Tamizh is like R’s 🙂 Amma, mereko dosa venam hota hai :):) or something in those lines ….

    I dont listen to Tamizh songs at all 😦

    • Pepper said

      No, RM! In that case my Tamil is better than R’s 😛 I would actually be able to say ‘Ennaku dosa venum’ 😀

      You don’t? 😮 You totally should. Start with the ones I put up!

  10. I had heard only a couple of these Tamil songs; had a blast listening to them again, as well as the other new ones. 🙂 Thank you so much for posting them.

    I have lived in Bangalore for 5 years now, and can’t speak a decent sentence in Kannada. I use the same excuse as you – I don’t have an opportunity to speak the language. The OH and his family talk to me in Tamil, so does my maid. Friends and colleagues converse in a mix of Hindi and English. Never really travelled alone in the city, to have to speak Kannada on my own. I realise that I should take the initiative and learn the language, though. Not to please someone, just for my sake.

    • Pepper said

      See, that is the thing. It becomes a lot harder to learn a language when there is no real need for it. When you can comfortably get away without it, and when you have little exposure to it, the progress is very slow. You need to be in an environment that facilitates learning and requires you to understand and speak. Only then can you learn fast. Wish you luck with Kannada 🙂

  11. AB joined a class to learn Tamil here. I help him sometimes by speaking short sentences to him. He even watches some movies with me. But at the end of the day, he didn’t pick it up the way he wanted to – just a few words here and there. Tamil is a very tough language if you already do not know any other South Indian language, I think.

    • Pepper said

      I keep asking myself to join some class too, but then I excuse myself cos I don’t find any good classes, and cos I believe I have no time for them. All stupid excuses, I should just get to it! And thanks for acknowledging the level of difficulty for a non South Indian. I hate it when people make it sound like a piece of cake 😦

  12. chipmunk said

    tamil is most easy language … pester mint to speak in tamil. ppl at times tel that there are lot of meaning for a word and it is the only language which has five different words for flower!!! and the songs that yo have mentioned above are hit in south india and al of them are my favorite!!!

    • Pepper said

      What?! Tamil is the most easy language? 😮 Says who? It might be relatively easy for somebody who knows atleast some South Indian language (I know they’re not all similar, but I do believe the knowledge helps) Like I said, since I knew Hindi, I learnt Marathi with ease. I can learn Gujrati too, Because their roots are similar. But a Dravidian language has completely different roots. Every single word is different. Saying it is the most easy to learn is insulting the capabilities of a Non South Indian, no?

      • chipmunk said

        take it as a challenge… i have seen many north indi speaking tamil… and a multi linguist like you will never feel hard… there are certain words which have too many words, but its total fun…you will like t 🙂 trust me

  13. All these are my favorite songs too pepper 🙂
    I think trying to converse in a language is the only way to learn it. Tamil is quite a toughie to learn especially when you don’t know other South Indian languages. Try getting mint and other tamil friends (if any) to talk to you in tamil and reply as much as you can in the same language. You ll get a flow eventually 🙂

  14. chattywren said

    It becomes easier and faster to learn a language if you are constantly exposed to it, the immersion method. I have the same issue with learning Kannada, exposed to it only when I visit in-laws place. Everytime I come away with a slightly increased vocabulary but no opportunity to add to it during the year. With my kids, I ensure I speak my mother tongue, so they at least understand it. Good luck!

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