Expressions are realisations or reflexes of the humans under different situations of their life. These reflexes or realities are quite elusive that they stay for just a small time. Just imagine how many expressions do you remember having made for yourself. And how many do many of us know what expressions we express in various situations. Classifying expressions has been a subject on its own and that is what today’s movie makers capitalize when they make any great hits. These expressions are those that the essence of who we are. Tamil literature has a mastermind who has classified these expressions, he is none other than the famous Thollkaappiyar. He classifies the expressions in eight categories, grouping four in each category. The song in the section Meipaatiyal, in his work Thollkaapiyam, goes like this. Also I have tried to get the closest or correct English words for the each of the terms below. Please correct me if I am wrong in any of those.

“Nagaiyae Azhugai Ilivaral Marutkai
Achcham Perumidham Veguli Uvagai Endru

Appaal Ettae Meipaadu Enba”

meaning, Laughter (Nagai), Crying (Azhugai), Weakness (Ilivaral), Astonishment (Marutkai), Fear (Achcham), Pride (Perumidham), Anger (Veguli), Happiness (Uvagai), are the eight different expression categories .

Each of these above mentioned eight categories have four different expressions in them. The following songs enlist what they are

For Laughter

“Ellal Ilamai Paedhamai Madan Endru
Ullappatta Nagai Naangu Enba”

meaning Snicker (Ellal), Ilamai (Laughter when young or immature or Innocent laughter), Paedhamai (Laughter out of foolishness), Madan (Laughter for Ignorance) are the four laughters that come from one’s heart

For Crying



“Ilivae Izhavae Asaivae Varumai Ena

Vilivu Ill Kollkai Azhugai Naangae”

meaning, Ilivae (Insult, Defamation), Izhavae (Death, loss), Asaivae (Restlessness, Tension), Varumai (Poverty) are the four different aspects of crying

For Weakness


“Moopae Piniyae Varutham Menmaiyodu
Yaapura Vandha Ilivaral Naangae”

meaning Moopae (Senility), Piniyae (Disease), Varutham (Sorrow), Menmaiyodu (Feebleness) indicate weakness.

For Astonishments

“Pudhumai Perumai Sirumai Aakkamodu
Madhimai Saala Marutkai Naangae”

meaning Pudhumai (Being latest and new), Perumai (Pride), Sirumai (Being very simple), Aakkamodu (Being powerful) are the various astonishments that man expresses

For Fear


“Anangae Vilangae Kalvar Tham Irai Enba

Pinangal Saala Achcham Naangae”

Anangae (Fear of Devils, Intimidating Goddesses like Kaali), Vilangae (Fear of Animals), Kalvar (Thieves), Tham Irai Enba (One’s Gods) are tracts of fear .

For Pride



“Kalvi Tharukan Pugazhmai Kodai Ena

Sollappatta Perumidham Naangae”

meaning, Kalvi (Education) Tharukan (Bravery), Pugazhmai (Fame) Kodai (Donation, Benefaction) are the facets of Pride .

For Happiness


“Selvam Pulanae Punarvu Vilayaatu Endru
Allal Neetha Uvagai Naangae”

meaning Selvam (Wealth), Pulanae (feelings), Punarvu (Intimacy), Vilayaatu (Play) are expressions of happiness

For Anger



“Urupparai Kudikole Alai Kolai Endra

Veruppin Vandha Veguli Naangae”

Urupparai (Dissection), Kudikole (Treason), Alai (Torture), Kolai (Murder) are the four different expressions of Anger.

So complex and subtle classifications, that only going through them carefully, will we be able to make the difference in each of them. Thollkaapiyar should have been a great person to analyse human behaviour and emotions and of course psychology to such a great extent to classify the subtleties of the elusive human expressions. What human relations experts do now and psychologists analyse about human behaviour has been done by a genius thousands of years ago. And that genius being a Thamizhan, we all should be proud of.

More to come, until then…