Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Home run

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I was in India last month for a much needed vacation (not that I'm working too hard in Neverland, but its been past due to go home). It was a refreshing and complete break so much so that I forgot the password for my work computer and seriously considered resetting it. This break was unique in that I did a large number of smaller trips (unlike other times), met some friends after a long time and experienced Indian summer at its best. God did not create mangoes and nungu (the kernel of palm tree) and tender coconut without reason!

Thanks to my family and friends, I had an awesome time in India. And most importantly, I rediscovered thinking in Tamil :) It might sound silly to many since Tamil is my mother tongue and I should effortlessly be able to think in Tamil. But I've become so comfortable with English that I prefer thinking in it. Given a chance to express what I think and feel, I'd choose English over Tamil. Being out of Tamilnadu also didn't help much though I try keeping in touch with Tamil through movies, books, blogs, talking to friends, etc. However, it wasn't adequate. The immersive experience I had this time has made a dent into it. I found that there were certain Tamil words that didn't have exact translations in English. I'm sure that is the case with other languages as well but I'm yet to come up with unique words of English or Telugu or Malayalam or Kannada (with me having limited resource of words in the last three) that cannot be adequately expressed with words in Tamil. Beware, I'm not talking of technology related words like pendrive, wireless, etc. that are best expressed in English because they are recent additions to the languages themselves. They originated in English and are catching up in other languages as well.

At first glance, I can think of words in Tamil like நூதனம், வாயாடுதல், ப்ராப்தம், etc. The closest matches I find for them in English are 'new and subtle'(with more emphasis on the new part), 'the act of talking' (though this doesn't bring out the beauty of that word), fate ( In general, this is a good translation but I'm not very happy with it because fate is a strong word while ப்ராப்தம் is way softer... ). Can you come up with any words that are unique in Tamil or English?