Thursday, June 28, 2007

A cinematic Rosetta Stone

Several gems of Nohthern Injun musical history will be lost to history forever if drastic steps are not taken. Being the altruistic soul that I am, I have decided translate the following shining jewel of contemporary musical poetry into various southern tongues, in the hope that it shall remain alive forever, albeit in different languages:

Nohthern Injun
Subah subah main khidki kholoon
Baju waali ladki hai!
Dil mera bole hello how are you (Oh how are you)
Dil mera bole hello how are you

Kunigal Kannada
Kitki inda Nanjammange
Oota aaythaanth keliddike
"Aythappa, nindh aaytha?" andidlu. (Oh andidlu)
"Aythappa, nindh aaytha?" andidlu.

Bengloor Kannada
MG road nal hogovaga
Yaavno goobe adda bandha
Sudden aag break haak chakk anth shtop maaddhe. (Oh stop maaddhe)
Sudden aag break haak chakk anth shtop maaddhe.

Malleshwaram Tamil
Vidi karthale kitki tharndhe
Pakthaath haidiye paathoot chonne
Namskaaron, nee apdi ikkande, (Oh ikkande)
Namskaaron, nee apdi ikkandhe

Austin Town Tamil
Morningle windows tharndit keeren
Naibors veetle ledis paathu
Hello yepdi keere nu ask panne(Oh ask panne)
Hello yepdi keere nu ask panne

Mylapore Tamil
Janna-kadhavai tharanthu paathaa
Ambuja maami paathu siricha
Yenna-oi, sowkyama nu kaetootaa (Oh kaetootaa)
Yenna-oi, sowkyama nu kaetootaa

Mangalore Kannada
Enthadhu kodali? Anna saaru
Halasina happala, gashi saha vuntu
Ella bittu Gadibidi hodiyuva? (Hau..du....)
Pabbas ige hogi Gadibidi thinnuva

Kottayam Malayalam
Vindows oapen cheythappoley
Jincy Kutty parayunnathu kaettu:
Randu thenga irakku, Ouseppey (Oh ouseppey)
Randu thenga irakku, Ouseppey.

Nellore Telugu
Yera babu, kitki ninchi
Ammailu emi kanapada ledhe
Nann odhulesi yaeda poyero (Oh poyero)
Nann odhulesi yaeda poyero.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Bengalooru Slonguaze Dictionary

If you are dying to be hip with the latesht Bangalore street slang but do not know how, look no further I say! For here is a yo man service rendered unto the kanglish slanguage, compiled by Vidushi PriKutty and Vidwans Kasyaapagowdru and Bykaradoddanna (ie, my kindself), otherwise known as:

The Bengalooru Slonguaze Dictionary
A compilation of the latest slang words in the Kanglish language for daily use.

Aa? : Universal question tag. (is it? are they? was she? shall we? etc.) Often mistaken by non - south indians as mispronunciation. When an auto driver asks you "Leftaa?" he means "Left, is it?" Variation: "na?" used when the last sound in the question is a vowel. "Koramangala na?"

Adjushtu: adjust. Most important word that originates from the accomodative nature of all Bangaloreans. "Solpa adjusht maadi shiva." "Sir one more banana buying means it will adjusht within 10 rupees." "Sir traffic signal jump fine kodi." "Urgent ithu saar, solpa adjusht maadi"

Adu bere : That also. (That was all I needed). "Adu bere kedu"

AJM: Short for Akkan Jusht Missu (Lit: Elder Sister just missed) 1. Minor disappointment 2. Narrow escape. "Aye ticket siktheno?" "Illa lo, AJM agoythu." Do not use in polite company!

Bekitha : Was this required? A sort of "I told you so". "Boss, idu bekitha antha."

Bombat : Fantastic, excellent. "Aye hows your car doing?" "Oh bombattagide kanla."

Boss : Term of address. Used to call friends, auto drivers, waiters, conductors etc. Should not be used much aside from among friends. "Boss, one gobi manchuri dry."

Budding: Short for Brigade road Up and Down. bangalore's most popular pastime. (Also Mudding - MG road Up and Down)

Byawarsi : Lit: heirless. Useless, vagabond, ne'er do well. "Aye thoo byawarsi, sumne iro"

Chindi : Lit : Torn piece of cloth. Fantastic, fabulous

Chitranna : Lit: flavoured rice. (1) Fantastic job (2)Broken to bits (3) Badly botched job. "Sariyag madthini anth helbittu full chitranna maad haakidaane nodri."

Da : Term of address for friends, inferiors or younger people (borrowed from tamil). Rude when used in a non affectionate sense or with strangers. Fem: di. "What da, where y'all went yesterday?"

Deal : Nefarious activity. "Yeno deal maadthaane maga"

Escape : General departure. "Naan oota maadbit escape aagtheno, don't mind aitha?"

Free kotre phenoylu kudithaane : Lit: If its free, he'll even drink phenoyl. Curmudgeon, compulsively economical person.

Goobe : Lit: Owl. Stupid person. "Lei goobe, yaar ninge license kottiddu?"

Goodhlu : Scam. "India nalli education fullu goodhlu boss."

Gumpal Govinda : Lit: Govind in the group. To blend into the crowd. "I have gone gumpal govinda to see movie"

Guru : Lit: teacher. Also used jokingly to call a friend. "Yen guru, aaraam aa?"

Gubbal : Dumbass "Loose nan maga gubbal thara aadbeda lei."

Hawa : Lit: Air. To scare someone. "Full hawa itbitte aa loafer ge innond sali illige barodilla"

Hengythe myge? : Lit: How does your body feel now? i.e, Im going to beat you black and blue. "Yendande? Dhuddilvaa? Yengythe myge?"

Hinde inda Urvashi, munde inda Bevarsi : Looks like the celestial nymph Urvashi from the back but a vagabond from the front.

Jai : With enthusiasm. "Naan jai antha hog koothkonde alli". "I went off to college jai antha"

Kachko : Get stuck. "Sorry maga naan traffic nal kachkondiddene"

Kanjipinji : Meretricious object/activity. "Why you're making so much fuss for one kanjipinji job boss"

Kui : To lie, to bore. "Kui beda maga."

Loafer : Vagabond, flibbertygibbet. "Thoo loafer, get out I say."

Macha(tam) : Lit: Brother in law. Used commonly among friends, though not in polite society. "What da machaaa, not coming uh?"

Maga : Lit: son. Dude. "yeno magaa, yellidde isht divsaa?"

Mane haaLu : Lit: Ruiner of a household. Use to describe expensive things, and people who don’t act in your good interests. "Mane haaL maadbeda", "Aiyo mane haaLa, ningen bantho roga"

Maneyalli hel bandya? : Used for reckless drivers Lit: Did you tell the people at home? (ie, have you informed your family that they have to make arrangements for your funeral?)

Meetru : Lit: (autorickshaw) Meter. Gumption/cheek. "Yeno, eshto ning meetru?"

Mishtik : Lit: Mistake. Used for errors, leave, illnesses, sudden departures, misunderstandings, deletions, etc. "Yeno nenne officege mishtik aa?" "Haudo, nenne mai mishtik aagithu. Yake, manager yenadru andra?" "Yenantharappa avaru. Full mishtik aagbittu solpa hothu kirchaadidru. Aamele full scope itkond ondu dodda mail kalsidru. Adhara bagge yaak sumne thale mishtik maadskobeku antha odhdhe mishtik maadbitte." "Thoo manager emails na yaako mishtik maadthya? Adhe neen maado dodda mishtikku. Eega avaru nin mele mishtik aagthaare. Matte neen mishtik maadkolthya. Full situationey mishtik aagoguththe."

Naayi Paadu : Lit: Dog's work. "Nanage yaake ee naayi paadu?"

Nan maga : Lit: My son (ie son of). Usually used in conjunction with some other word. "Thoo, waste nan maga he is". Not a polite phrase at all. Has complicated undertones. Use only among close friends.

Nimmajji : Lit: Your grandmother. Another phrase that has hidden meanings. Do not use in polite society.

Off : Transliteration from the kannada "bidu" : "I came off quickly" (Naan bega band bitte). "I sat off there only." (Naan alle koothkond bitte)

Oh what a. : General exclamation. "You won lottery aa? Oh what a!"

Ooshtu : Prob from the english Oust. Exhausted. "4 ghante basket baal aadbit full ooshtaagbitte."

Osi jeevana Janma pavana : Pile on (Lit: Free life, happy existence).

Pigaru : Figure. (girl) "Machaa, aa piagar nodo!"

Pitilu : Lit: Fiddle (violin). Braggart. "Avan bidu. Bejaan pitil aadthirthaane."

Saavu : Lit: Death. Terrible or Awesome as per context. "Boss that movie was saavu only".

Raiyya: From the English "Right" (used by bus conductors after passengers have got off or on at a bus stop). To leave/depart. "Boss picture mugdid takshna naan mane tava raiyya."

Scopu : Yap/boast "Lei, sum sumne scope thagobeda"

Simp-simply : Translated from the kannada sum-sumne. For no reason at all. "Aye don’t simp-simply come and dishtrub me I say."

Sisyaa : Lit: Student. Patronizing term of address to a friend. "Sisya, ba illi, koothko."

Siwaa: Lit: Shiva. Another term for dude. "Alla siwaa, naan en helthene andre...."

Suryanige torchaa? : Lit: Are you shining a torch to the sun? "Boss are you teaching him kannada badwords? Suryange torchaa?"

Ucheyal meen hidithaane : Lit: Catching fish in urine. Cheapskate who looks for opportunities in the most shady conditions.

Uh? : The anglicized version of "aa?" above. Usually blends into last syllable of the previous word unless it is a vowel. "What daa, didn’t go to college juh?" "Not well, luh?" "Wont come tomorrow also vuh?" "Watching movie yuh?"

Yaar nin chair na alladsidru? : Lit: Who shook your chair? Why are you so perturbed?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Bass Kar Bhagyavaan!

A colleague, worried about her deep voice, asked her friend "Mere voice mein baas zyaada hai na?" The friend, taken completely by surprise said no, but told her to use breathmints if she felt that bad about it (baas in Hindi means smell). The colleague is now scarred for life and refuses to talk to anybody without gargling 27 times and practicing "Jhumka gira re" in her bathroom all night.

To avoid such misunderstandings in the future, I will now explain what all this Bass Tenor rubbish is all about. Why am I doing this to you? Because (a) I'm jobless, (b) I'm fed up of explaining why you need a huge choir to sing "such a simple song" and (c) I just like confusing people.

Indian melodies are complex and note-intensive. Though Western melodies appear to be simpler, they actually have the same degree of musical complexity because they combine many notes together and play them all at once. The resultant sound is called Harmony. You can't achieve harmony using a single human voice obviously, and that's why a song sung by a western choir needs to be broken up into sections, with each section singing a different note at any point of time. A conductor (or conductini amma as the case may be) waves a stick about furiously and coordinates everything.

There are typically 4 sections (or parts) to a choir:

Sopranos: Squeak squeak (Leddis)
Altos : Coo coo (Leddis)
Tenors : Howl howl (Jants)
Basses : Growl growl (Jants)

Sopranos are flighty, well dressed, giggly and female. They sing in the voice range of Lata Mangeshkar and Minnie Mouse, and are invariably the slowest to learn their parts. They are also in perpetual danger of their heads exploding when they hit impossibly high notes. Most Sopranos are fresh out of school and happily pile onto the few senior sopranos in the section to carry them through the piece. A pretty section to look at but not hear, especially if you are a champagne glass.

Altos are pleasant, salt of the earth women who sing sensible notes in the lower female range. They weave the wonderful web of harmony that the Sopranos usually shriek their melodies out of. Alto parts are often cruelly complex and involve sharp and flat notes that only geniuses can execute. Most female Indian classical musicans are altos. They make very pleasant friends, especially to the Basses, who are also terribly cool people.

Tenors are the male equivalent of the supersonic sopranos. The sort that could easily out-howl a wolf on a full moon night. Twitchy eyebrowed, pouty lipped and unpunctual, they are the SP Balasubramanyams and Pavrottis of a choir. Unfortunately they are also in maximum demand, as few men will sing those torturously high notes and enjoy them. Since you can't ignore a loud howly shriek easily, tenors usually manage to get all the juicy melodic sections in the piece. Altos can never understand why tenors go red in the face and bust a gut singing notes that they can hit without batting an eyelid. Some Tenors will try unsuccessfully to sing along with the basses during their more macho moments, but they are usually shushed into silence by the conductor.

Basses (pronounced Bases btw) are the coolest people in a choir. They provide a nice growly background for all the singing. They make ghastly grimaces when they hit very low notes, and blend into a pleasant rumble for the tenors to chirp their twitchy-eyed parts off. Bass parts are simple, deep as a well, and have long, never-ending notes. Basses react to the few and far between melodic sections in their parts with an enthusiasm akin to that of schoolboys at a games period. Most composers don't utilize them to their full growly potential, except for ol' Bach and some East European composers, who really give them a run for their money. A choir without a Bass section is like Sambar without curry leaves. Besides their musical essentiality, Basses are also invariably the most eligible men in a choir.

And now for the wiggly-scrawlies - the neither here nor there varieties, that are occasionally used in a choir to compliment the 4 main parts:

Mezzo Soprano: Slightly lower than a normal soprano. Most really good women soloists fall in this voice range.

Contralto: Lower than an alto. A deep woman's voice, usually in the D.K Pattammal voice range. My favourite.

Castrato: Sung by not quite a man. In India this type of singing is done with heavy clapping and lurid dancing. The methods of creating a castrato in the west have been banned for over a century, and so castrato parts in a musical piece are now sung by counter tenors.

Counter Tenor: Usually a tenor that sings falsetto (in a little girl's voice). Quite strange to an Indian musical ear, but extensively used in Renaissance pieces. Every tenor aspires to be a counter tenor, though deep down, he really wants to be a hot looking deep voiced Bass.

Baritone: An effortless Frank Sinatra/Jesudas male singing voice, lower than a tenor, but higher than a bass. Not as popular for solo parts in western classical music as a tenor, but is often used to relax a note-intensive piece with a soothing passage.

Second Bass: As their name implies, second basses aside from their prowess in other departments, have the deepest voices in the human range. Tibetan monks probably make the best second basses, next to M.D. Ramanathan, the dude from Boney M and the sky train in the Singapore airport.

Those that guess the part that I sing in a choir correctly, will be rewarded generously with a growl of appreciation.

Monday, June 4, 2007

The diary of a mad brown concert-goer

Saturday Jun 2, 10am:
beep beep.
"Wha...? Glug.
"Cmg 4 asmth cncrt? "
Bloody nonsense I refuse to read smses without vowels.
Aiyaaaaaa. Aiyo, aiyo. Ticket, ticket. What to do, how to do. Aaaa.
It's useless men. Mad I am not to have bought. Anyway I'm sure they'll sound terrible in their old age. Humph.
Waiiiiiil I want to go!! Everyone is going!!
"Aan hello. KeLilli. Extra ticket ide, barthya?"
"OMG Yes!!"
"OK We'll meet you there at 6".
"Gasp ok" (click)
5:40pm :
Snarl, Grrr, kaf kaf (gridlocked traffic outside vasanth nagar entrance)
Suiiiiinnnn (Reva parking between flower pot and gutter of irate house owner on Palace Road.)
"Saaaaar, pleaaase saaar."
"Seee.. police comes means I am not response."
"Sir they will not say anything sir."
"Very difficult I say. When you will come back?"
"Sir very soon sir." (Muhahaha.)
(Stares incredulously at 1.5km queue to get in)
"Err, excuse please, is this the line to get in?"
"Err even for the expensive section?"
"Dooooood, yeah da."
"Err ok"
"Yaar thiz line is nod like, matlab, move hi nahin kar raha".
"Yeah wonder why. Must be some reason." (Long live Bangalore complacency :) )
"Aye where are you? Im in the queue already."
"Oh. We're in jaynagar da."
"SHRIEK!! When are you coming?"
"We'll come no, why you worried? Ha ha you are in queue and you don't have ticket only. Haha."
"Yaii! Come soon I say you nonsense people."
"Aan ok coming." (click)
beep beep
(Msg from Vikster - already inside) "Wr r u??? Its awesm in hr. Golden fountains r spraying champagne and beautiful ppl from 6 continents r fding me grapes as i snd u ths."
6:20 pm:
Queue motionless. Watch punju bunch in front get progressively drunker, and paavam type Naga crowd behind me chatter nervously pointing at the gleaming palace walls 1 km away.
"Aan heLu."
"Where are you boss?"
"Jaynagar, I told you no?"
"Coming coming twennnnnty minutes thats all."
"YAAARGH." (click)
"Chill, We're in Vasanth Nagar da, another 10 mins thats all. But listen, my brother has the tickets and he hasnt come yet."
"YOWWWWWWWL". (click)
(Line has progressed somewhat. Friends saunter in and blend themselves into queue. Too tired to pelt them senseless with all manner of stones.)
"Have you called your brother? Where is brother? Why he is late? Where are they? Give me minute by minute update on their itinerary"
"Chill daaaaaa. They'll come no."
"What come no. Concert started 15 mins ago. Whats this."
"Lei!! Theppak ninthko silentaagi."
(Queue has progressed to the gate. We start letting people get in ahead of us)
"Err you guys can go ahead. We're waiting for our friends." (Simper simper)
"Thanks man".
"GRAARGH where ARE they boss??? EEYAARGH."
"Coming coming. Mwah. Relax relax. You go ahead ma Naga girl. You also go pa Coimbatore boys"
"Boss lets go home. This is madness. Yeah dreadlocks, go on ahead. Stamp on my head only and go. " (Sob inconsolably)
(friend's brother and gang saunter up and join queue)
"Oh hi. Cool, so youre at the front uh? Cool man. Here, take ticket."
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIEEEEEEEEEEE" (grab ticket and disappear screaming through gates)
(Arrive at second gates after 1 km jog) "Gasp gasp wheeeze."
(To frisker) "Boss I dont have dope, ciggies, alco, nothing. Please! Just grab my ass quick and let me through or I will do all manner of unmentionable things to you here only."
(burst into concert) "Aiyo, aiyo, everything must be over."



Moral 1: Aerosmith waits for good people.
Moral 2: The rest of you who waited from 1:30pm to see an elderly gentleman hawk spit burp and call you names from a stage in exchange for money - are silly fellows.
Moral 3: Never miss an aerosmith convert. EVER. Even if your mother tells you to.
Moral 4: Thank you dear friends for extra ticket, and thank ME dear friends for putting towel for you in queue! Nonnnnsense.