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'I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.'

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Saturday, August 20, 2005

idhai vida innum vera vendumO saatchi?

'idhai vida innum vera vendumO saatchi' is a Bharatanatyam padam in Saaveri ragam. Before I get into what a padam is, I must hasten to give you a disclaimer :-) - I am just a beginner level student of Bharatanatyam, so if you find that any of the information below is inaccurate, please do let me know. Most of this has been pulled off of Google searches, and from my dance teacher (who, incidentally, performed this padam last year at a local music and dance festival).

A padam is a slow piece and usually occurs in the second half of a Bharatanatyam recital. Unlike some other types of pieces that focus on nritta or pure dance (and test the speed and accuracy of the dancer), a padam showcases abhinaya, and tests the ability of the dancer to convey the rasa (emotion) in the piece.

This particular padam is a very unusual piece. Most padams I have seen show the nayika, or heroine, as the damsel-in-distress pining away for her lover, or as the coy, lovestruck maiden who is joyously awaiting his arrival (aaaaargh, stereotypes!). But this padam is a departure from the usual lovey-dovey fare - the heroine is a Khandita nayika i.e. one who is angry at her lover for having disappointed her.

The main emotions being depicted in this padam are the indignation and anger felt by a wife when her husband returns home in the morning, after having spent the night with another woman. She is appalled that he continues to plead innocent, even as the tell-tale signs on his body make it glaringly obvious that he has been having an affair.

I have tried to translate the padham from Tamil to English, to the best of my knowledge. Unfortunately, translation is a lossy process, and cannot quite capture the je ne sais quoi of the original (and the original lyrics pack quite a punch, believe me ;-). The first time I came across this padam was during my dance teacher's rehearsal, and man, was I impressed with the verse or what. In fact, I almost shouted 'You go girl!' at the end of the piece ;-D And told one of my classmates very excitedly, 'Indha nayika avaloda aambdaiyaana piece-piece-a naaru-naaraa kizhichchoottaa! Tooooooo much!'

Here's to every woman who has been forced to don the role of a Khandita nayika by the roving eye of her better(?) half. Ladies, gentlemen, and the not-so-gentlemanly men, we present:

idhai vida innum vera vendumO saatchi
Ragam : Saaveri

Composer : Subbaramayyar or Sabhapati Iyer (?)

idaivida innum vera vendumO saatchi
onnum illai illai endru
kOti paravasam eduthuraikkireer
adukkumO, pOm pOm!

madittavar Thanikaiyinil
vaazhum Subramania lOlare
anda vanjiyudan koodi konji anaithitta
mayirkuriyum manjal vaadaiyum sollude

ethanai sonnaalum en sevi kekkumO?
ennathukku veen pechu inee?
aval inneyram engengu theduvalO, paavam
ezhundiru neramaachu

budhiyillaadaval pOle neer ennidam
bOdhikkireer mey pOl saadikkireer
inda vithai tozhil ellam katti vaiyum
maarbu meedu nakham pattapOdu teriyaadaa?

And here's my attempt to capture it in English. I was planning to cast it into a corny poem, but that would have been irreverent :-) Maybe some other day when I am feeling a little more fiendish :-P

Isn't this proof enough?
You keep denying it over and over again
Do you really think I will believe you?! Go, go!

You, O philandering Subrahmanya*, who resides in the respected city of Thanikai,
The kohl marks and the stench of turmeric paste on your person
Speak volumes of your fond and loving embrace of that lowly woman!

My ears are closed to your pleas of innocence, no matter how many times you repeat them
Why do you even waste your breath trying to convince me?
Poor woman, she must have gotten up and not found you next to her
Go, go back to her - she must be roaming the streets searching for you!

You talk to me as though I were a dimwit
Asserting that what you speak is the truth and that you are innocent
Bah! You can try these tricks elsewehere
Are you trying to tell me you were oblivious to what was happening, as her nails dug into the flesh of your chest?!

*There are two possible interpretations here : the song could be talking of Lord Subrahmanya/Muruga himself. In which case, things would fit in very nicely - the nayika would be Devyani, and the other 'lowly' woman would be the hunter girl Valli, and the place referred to in the song (Thanikai) is one of the six abodes of Muruga. Or, the nayika could just be alluding to her husband's Subrahmanya-like ways.

P.S. Of course, of course, there are philandering women too :-) I am not trying to start a gender war here. But it's interesting how men think we women will actually buy lines like 'Can we at least be friends?', 'I was just trying to be friendly with her', 'I got her number because I am trying to expand my personal network' - ROTFL!


Blogger Sethu Subramanian said...

Can you shed some more light on the composer---is it Vaideeswarankoyil Subbarama ayyar or who is this Sabhapati ayyar (not well known at all).
Did Subbarama ayyar write padams on Murugan other than that muttukkumaran in Vaideeswaran koyil? This particular padam you write about deals with taNigai.
Thanks for any clarification you might provide

6:46 PM, July 09, 2016  

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