My Dear Chennai

I wrote this poem on my ChennaiCentral blog a year back and could have made a Metblog post of it on Chennai day this year, but somehow forgot. In this version, I made a couple of changes to my original verse and have presented it to those of you who can read Thamizh. For those that can’t, I have also provided the transliteration, which is how it appeared on my blog last year.

எனக்கு நீயும் ஒரு அன்னை
உன் வசம் ஈர்த்தாய் என்னை
நான் பிறந்ததோ திருவரங்கம்
அது என்னுள் ஓர் அங்கம்
ஆனால் வளர்ந்ததோ உன் ஆசை மடி
அதனால் இந்த பந்தம் தொப்புள் கொடி
நீ வந்தாரை வாழவைக்கும் நகரம்
கலையிலும் கலாசாரத்திலும் சிகரம்
உன்னை பிரிந்தாலோ ஏற்படும் ஒரு வித தவிப்பு
அது உன் மேல் இருக்கும் அன்பின் பிரதிபலிப்பு
உன்னிடம் வந்து சேர்ந்தாலே ஒரு நிம்மதி
சலனப்படும் மனதில் ஆழ்ந்த அமைதி
உன் புகழ் திக்கெட்டும் பரவட்டும்
உன் பெருமை உலகெங்கும் மலரட்டும்

சென்னையே உன்னை காதலிக்கிறோம்
சென்னையே உன்னை ஆராதிக்கிறோம்
சென்னையே உன்னையே ஆதரிப்போம்

Enakku neeyum oru annai
Un vasam eerththaai ennai
Naan pirandhadho Thiruvarangam
Adhu ennuL Or angam
Aanaal valarndhadho un aasai madi
Adhanaal indha bandham thoppuL kodi
Nee vandhaarai vaazhavaikkum nagaram
Kalaiyilum kalaachaaraththilum sigaram
Unnai pirindhaalo erpadum oru vidha thavippu
Adhu un mEl irukkum anbin pradhibalippu
Unnidam vandhu serndhaalE oru nimmadhi
Salanappadum manadhil aazhndha amaidhi
Un pugazh dikkettum paravattum
Un perumai ulagengum malarattum

Chennaiye, unnai kaadhalikkirom
Chennaiye, unnai aaraadhikkirom
Chennaiye, unnaiye aadharippom.

13 Comments so far

  1. SN (unregistered) on September 6th, 2006 @ 1:45 am

    Good poem Thennavan. The rhyme is also natural.

  2. okonami yaki (unregistered) on September 6th, 2006 @ 8:18 am

    Cute !! But obviously not ready for sandhi grammar yet !

  3. Rohan (unregistered) on September 6th, 2006 @ 8:27 am

    Hi Thennavan, good poem, good to see at least someone in Chennai is proud of there Tamil language unlike many others. Tell me something do you think Tamilians in Chennai are ashamed to speak in Tamil and are confused about themselves. They rather learn another language than there own, and can someone explain to me what does holi have to do with Tamil culture? I don’t see people in Madurai celebraiting this why does Chennai? How can people living in Chennai not know how to read and write Tamil that is truly shameful dont you feel Thenevan.

  4. raj (unregistered) on September 6th, 2006 @ 6:34 pm

    I remember writing a similar poem in my eighth standard – and nearly getting amputated by my classmates for that :-). Glad to see you getting a better response than that – even Nilu didnt puke – LOL!

  5. thennavan (unregistered) on September 7th, 2006 @ 2:03 am

    Thanks SN :-).

    Okonami, en kavidhaiyil pizhaiyaa? :-)

    Rohan, I don’t know how others feel but I feel strongly about knowing one’s mother-tongue and taking pride in it. Reg. celebrating Holi and all that, I always stress on being inclusive in approach and not discriminatory – so I would not mind celebrating Holi myself and would be really glad if people in other parts of India celebrated Thamizh festivals too :-).

    Raj, one should never let oneself be (mis)guided by others (here I am reminded of the line from the “Devuda Devuda song” – “unnai pattRi yaaru, ada enna sonnaal enna, indha kaadhil vaangi adhai andha kaadhil thaLLu; megham midhandhaalum, kaagam parandhaalum aagaayam dhaan azhukkaaga aagaadhunnu sollu; poo pandhai yaarum neeril poththi thaan vechchaalum pandhu varum thaNNI mela dhaan, ada unnai yaarum Oram katti dhaan vechchaalum, thambi vaadaa pandhu pola dhaan, mooNaam pirai mella mella veNNilavaai minnuvadhai minminigaL thaduththidumO; REPEAT” :-).

  6. raj (unregistered) on September 7th, 2006 @ 4:54 pm

    thennavam, thanks for the advice but as i Said, it was a juvenile attempt that deserved the spanking :-). I didnt consider it a big deal at that time – neither the poem nor the spanking. Nor do I now.I dont take myself as seriously as the song you have quoted seems to intone.

  7. Rohan (unregistered) on September 8th, 2006 @ 8:59 am

    Good to see that you are proud of your mother tongue, but tell me what do think the status of Tamil is in Chennai at the moment as I no longer reside there I am not fully sure, but when I returned in 2004/2005 I found that shopkeepers were speaking in Hindi in some stores who are Tamilians. Is Tamil compulsory to learn in school there and if so until what class? In relation to accepting other cultures I can’t understand your idea about this if you go to other parts of India if they indentify that you are a Tamilian almost immediately you are treated differently. This goes even in southern cities eg Bangalore. Chennai is more accepting of other cultures however i can’t say the same for other places in India. However many people try to take advantage of this by trying to force there culture on Tamilians. Not targetting anyone but holi has only been celebrated because of hindi wallahs who have just moved here. It isn’t celebrated all across the city just in the areas where North Indians live. How come so many North Indians live in Chennai and can’t speak a word of Tamil, even if they can it sounds really horrible? Even the ones that are born here suffer from this problem so why should we accept anything that is non Tamilian if we aren’t given respect in our own state? The Tamil spoken in Chennai which is Madras bashai which no one can understand except college students why and how did this evolve? I don’t see this happening in any other city Mumbai has a mixed language but it is only Marathi, Hindi and English not a whole bunch of languages.

  8. thennavan (unregistered) on September 15th, 2006 @ 1:57 am

    Raj, there is really nothing serious about the song above. It is just one more excuse to yap, that’s all :-).

    Rohan, thanks for the long and exhaustive comment and I am with you on most of your points. In fact, my post on Chennai vs. Bangalore drew enough attention that it brought several commenters to my blog and they were arguing with each other with me just being an observer on the sidelines :-).

  9. Rohan (unregistered) on September 18th, 2006 @ 7:33 am

    Thank god at least someone agrees with me, so tell me Thennavan, is learning Tamil compulsory or not? If not why so. Why do Tamilians feel they have to accomodate everyone who comes here when we are not offered the same service. I know many Tamilians who live in Mumbai who are still not accepted even though they have been there for four generations. They don’t speak Hindi at home and have maintained there traditions they don’t celebrate Holi. I think Chennai is suffering from a big identity crisis, they are not sure whether they are Tamil or North Indian. In terms of Hyderabad there is a changing trend Hindi is slowly being used less and less as Telugus have woken up to the fact that there language was being overrun my Hindi. Maybe someday Tamilians will wake up and see this I just hope it isn’t too late. The Indian government and constitution is to blame for all this.

  10. Rohan (unregistered) on September 18th, 2006 @ 7:43 am

    The new generation is to blame for this also, and there parents who don’t teach they any values I am not saying everyone is like this it would be 50-50. My cousins live in Chennai they have never celebrates Holi and don’t know Hindi even there children do not know they know Tamil very well which is good to see. Pity this is not the trend in the majority of the population. Another point Tamils from Madurai and other places think of Tamils from Chennai as confused people that is why they produly say they are from Madurai proudly or otherplaces so they are not indentifies with Chennai as they don’t want to fall under the confused people category.

  11. thennnavan (unregistered) on September 19th, 2006 @ 12:07 am

    Rohan, on this issue I have argued vehemently against the anti-Thamizh bias of many people but what happens is one ends up with a tag of being insular and parochial so I am trying not to get caught in an endless tangle over this issue :-).

  12. Rohan (unregistered) on September 19th, 2006 @ 5:53 am

    I understand your point Thennavan but at what cost will being tagged come. I mean Tamilians are the joke of India at the moment, even non Tamilians who live in Chennai have something bad to say. While Tamilians are busy accepting other cultures into the city we are not accepted anywhere and still you continue to adopt other indentities. Some Tamils want to be seen as Punjabis or something non Tamilian. Take a look at this link this also shows confused Tamilians They say they are Telugus when in Hyderabad and Tamils in Chennai I have never heard anything more ridiculos in my life. Do you see Punjabis trying to be Gujuratis or do you see Chinese trying to be Japenese it doesn’t happen so why do Tamilians have this problem. Are they not proud to be Tamils? When will Tamilians wake up to themselves and relise that our culture and language is the oldest and most richest in the world, why try and be something lesser. I think what the Kannadigas are doing in Bangalore is correct in a way they are protecting there indentity by forcing out Tamils I think the same should happen in Chennai we should get rid of all these Goltis, Marwaris and Jhatkas.

  13. Arvind (unregistered) on September 19th, 2006 @ 6:10 am

    I agree with Rohan on many points here as Annadurai said many years ago that if Hindi was made compulsory in TN it would we like a lightning bolt striking Dravidian culture that is quite accurate. North Indians are like a virus they breed quitely and attack other cultures and force it on others. This is what has happened in Chennai, why is there Tamil songs mixed with Hindi in them? Why must we compromise celebrate Holi for instance it has no connnection with Tamil culture yet some people celebrate it just so we are seen as Indian. Some people watch Hindi movies to be seen as Indian this is all rubbish we don’t need to do any of this.

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