-Bavabathul Hind Special (17 April 2006)
Kathakali is a 300-year-old dance form developed in Kerala
following proverbs are particularly used in Malayalam language, the official
language of the southern Indian state of Kerala. Indian proverbs
greatly vary from one state to another thanks to the diverse culture,
language as well as geographical disparities of each state. As a
result, you may not hear the following proverbs in any Indian state other
muthunellikkayum aadhyam chavarkum, pinne madhurikkum
(Words of elderly and taste of the (Indian) gooseberry will have bitter
taste first, but better taste last.)
Indian gooseberry is a fruit with some how bitter taste largely found in the
tropical state of Kerala. This fruit is widely used in the Ayurveda way of
medication from the ancient time. Despite its bitterness in the beginning,
you will feel the sense of sweetness afterwards especially when you drink
some water with or after it. There are a number of proverbs and idioms
derived from the gooseberry fruit in the Malayalam language. As children, we
used to eat a lot this fruit and drink water after that, and I remember my
grant parents used to rebuke us quoting this proverb when we did untoward
(Green leaf should not laugh, when the yellow leaf collapses)
implication of this proverb is that we should not happy at others distress
or misfortune. Often used with jack fruit leafs which used to fill up
our old house's front yard. This proverb also I heard from my grant parents.
madiyil vekkam, adakkamarameduthu madiyil vekkan kazhiyillallo.
areca nut on your lap, but you can't put areca palm on your lap.)
Areca palm is also a tropical palm-tree widely cultivated in the state of
Kerala, as it forms one of the main sources of income for the rural people
of the state. Areca nut is an indispensable ingredient for making Panmasala,
a mixture of spices often eaten at the end of a meal to aid digestion and
sweeten the breath. The is also used in making different kinds of drugs in
Through this proverb, elderly people usually advice the new generation of
parents, not to bother themselves with stubborn and disobedient children.
Basically, the proverb wants to say that you can control your children as
long as they are younger, but when they get older, only the following
proverb would make any sense with them.
come the way you lead, lead the way he (she) goes
(Thelikkunna vazhikku pokunnillenkil pokunna
melinchennu karuthi arenkilum thozhuthil kettumo
one ties the elephant up in the cowshed when it becomes lean)
implication of this proverb is that you can't write off an important or
noble person when his or her heydays are over. Kerala is famous for its
elephant population and elephant is the national animal of the state, making
this animal an important character in many proverbs and folklores.
(Only when you reach into the seed, you will feel the sour taste of the
implication of this proverb is that you will realize the reality or true
face of a person or thing only when you come to know him/her or it from
closer. This proverb contradicts with the famous English proverb that
says: The first impression is the best impression.
chenda, panam vangan marar.
(Beats are borne by the the drum while the money is gone to the pocket of
proverb indicates to the selfish nature of some people who make gains
exploiting others. The origin of this proverb is from the Hindu temple
carnivals or "pooram" when drum beaters or "marar" make a lot of money
beating their drum restlessly round the clock.
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