.. and occasionally its cousins Kaa, Raa, Vaa and Saa.. There is no definite pattern for sounds other than paa, but usually the second syllables drown silently. Varun trots about the house saying too many things to too many people at the same time! He calls out to ‘thaattiii’ (paatti), squats on the floor pointing at his tiny legs and complains of mosquitoes. He demonstrates the rest of the problem by frantically scratching his legs.
If he is not asking me for ‘dhaaachee’ when am in the kitchen, he’d be asking for thaatham. The first time I heard his demand for ‘thaatham’, I racked by brains (I guess a little of it is still left!) to find out what he was asking by which time he was red with anger and just about ready to throw anything within his reach at his stupid mom who did not understand a ‘word’ of what he was saying! It then dawned on me to simply replace ‘thaa’ with ‘paa’, and there! he was asking for ‘paatham’ which in turn refers to ‘paathram’ and that is Tamizh for a vessel/container!
He looks at the frothy white batter in the ‘dhaindha’, (grinder) and says , ‘maaa-ooo’ (for maavu).
A picture chart of animals in their room is almost in rags, thanks to the little brat who uses it as a floor mat mostly! He points to the elephant and goes , ‘aaaaneeee’, and points to a pig when asked to point to the doggee/juju. Anything else he is asked to point out has one standard response, ‘dho kke’, which is for ‘dho irukke’, and the object pointed to is a simple guess work. If he sees disapproval in your eyes, the little finger pointing to the object will shift to the next nearest picture on that chart!
The ‘anna’ is a proud man though. He instructs his brother thus:
V1: Varun, say ‘paa’
V1: chota bheem
Varun is somehow convinced that no one else at home is competent enough to wield some magic and bring ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ on the TV screen. He trusts only his anna when it comes to playing this particular DVD. Even if his anna is in the loo, he’d drag him holding onto his shirt or trousers, bring him to the TV, pull out the Tatasky wires from the TV and ‘look up’ to his anna and say, ‘anna, Thomaa’. At which, the anna beaming with pride that his little brother is ‘looking up’ to him for ‘help’, would look at the rest of the household from the corner of his eye to ensure that everyone is looking at him. He would re-affirm the need with his little brother again, ‘Does pappa want to watch Thomas? Should I play part 1 or part II of the DVD?’, and hold out the one which he actually loves to watch! The little one would invariably pick the one which his anna brandishes and there is peace. There is a slight feet-tapping from the little trotter when the lovely songs feature in between the episodes including the title song. His favorite song in the series goes ‘Silly old Gordon fell in a ditch, fell in a ditch (2), all on a Monday morning’…
Amma goes to awchip (office) these days, anna goes to thool (school) and he usually goes dai (bye) wearing his chooo (shoes). He insists on singing baa baa chee (baa baa black sheep) over and over again and never seems to get bored. When he starts saying paatti, office and school, he’d have forgotten the beautiful dialect that we all are so used to now! Vadhun, theeth dhon thop sayin thaa too soon!