Kaalamegam being well know for his pun in his song, did not spare even the Gods from his pun. His pun also includes a form of poetry in Tamil Literature called the Vanja Pugazhchi Ani, in which the poet would seem to have sung a song in praise of someone but actually the inner meaning of it would have cursed or denigrated the image of the person; and vice versa. Kaalamegam has sung many such songs and two of such songs fascinated me, just because of the use of language in it.

The first song is about Lord Murugan. Though the song might sound very insulting in the first look, the more indepth study has a good meaning in it. The song goes like this

“Appan Iranthunni Aathaal Malai Neeli
Oppariya Maaman Uri Thirudi Sappaikaal

Annan Peruvayiran Arumuga Thaanukku
Ennum Perumai Ivai

The superficial meaning is His father is a beggar who lives by begging food. His mother is a mountain devil. His incomparable uncle is a great thief. His flat footed brother has a large tummy. These are things that Lord Murugan has to be proud of.

But the actual meaning is His father took the form of Bichaadanar, meaning person begging food. This means that He did away with the feeling of acquiring wealth and lives a simple live getting food what others provide. His mother Parvathi, means mountain Goddess, is a queen of the mountains. His incomparable uncle, Lord Vishnu, stole butter from the pots called Uri, which is the major play of Lord Vishnu in his Krishna Avatar. His brother, Lord Ganesh, is an elephant that has flat feet and a big stomach. These are the things Lord Murugan has to be proud of. Because His family, has people who are all popular, which is not easily got by others.

Appan – Father
Irandhu – Beg

Unni – Person who eats

Aathaal – Mother

Malai – Mountain

Neeli – Mountain devil, another name for Goddess Parvathi, a plant called Karu Nochi
Oppariya – Incomparable
Maaman – Uncle, either Brother of mother or Husband of Father’s Sister.
Uri – Stacked up pots that are used to store butter

Thirudi – Thief
Sappaikaal – Flat feet

Annan – Brother
Peru Vayiran – Peru (Big) + Vayiru (Stomach); Vayiran – person with a big stomach
Arumugan – another name for Lord Muruga, which means Six faces
Ennum – Thinking

Perumai – Pride

Ivai – Pronoun to describe a group of things

There is another song that has a similar impact, but that was sung to denigrate, but when the person concerned came and apologised for his mistake, the meaning was totally the opposite and was in praise of him. The song goes like this


“Kaththukadal Soozh Naagai Kaathaan Thann Sathirathil
Aththamikkum Podhil Arisi Varum Kuthi

Ulaiyil Ida Oor Adangum Ore Agappai Annam

Elayil Ida Velli Mulaikkum

The first meaning is, In the Sathiram of Kaathan in Naagapattinam which is surrounded by noisy sea waters. Rice will arrive only in the evening. The people in the town would have gone to sleep when the rice is being put in the boiler after husking. The pole star called the Vidi velli, that indicates dawn, will rise when a scoop of cooked rice is being served.

The people working in that Sathiram, told this song to Kaathan Varunakulaadhithan, the owner of that Sathiram, who realised his mistake of not providing food correctly to the people who come to his Sathiram, went to meet Kaalamega Pulavar and apologised his mistake and asked him to rewrite that song. Kaalamegam told that there is no need to change the song as the song has the following meaning .

In the Sathiram of Kaathan in Naagapattinam which is surrounded by noisy sea waters. Rice will arrive throughout the day till dusk, normally in other places, it arrives only in the morning. This shows how busy that Sathiram would have been and how many people would have been fed by the Sathiram. When the rice is put into the boiler for cooking after husking, the noisy crowd of the town will become quiet expecting the food any moment. And when the scoop of food is being served, the smile that is comparable to a bright star will be found in the faces of the people who are waiting for the food

Kaththu – Noisy, Making noise
Soozh – Surround

Naagai – Nagapattinam
Kaathan – Kaathan Varunakulaadhithan
Thann – one’s own
Sathiram – Place where free food and accommodation was available
Aththamikkum – Dusk
Podhil – Word indicating time

Arisi – Rice
Varum – Arrive, come
Kuthi – Stab, Strike, Punch, in this context husking

Ulai – Boiler
Ida – Put

Oor – Town, city
Adangum – Settle down, Sleep, Become silent

Ore – One

Agappai – Utensil used to serve food, a scoop

Annam – food
Elayil – Plantain leaf
Velli – Silver, Pole star, in a funny context, Shiny teeth

Mulaikkum – Grow, Raise above

Awesome work by Kaalamegam, how eloquent he should have been to sing a song that has two diametrically opposite meanings. He is really a bestowed person with the gifts that most of us yearn to acquire. He is true a remarkable person whose name will stay in the hearts of millions for the ages to come

More to come, until then…