Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Family feud

"Yenna vishesham?"

I did a double-take. Had I called Dad-in-law by mistake? Nope, it was Dad all right because the pronunciation seemed a bit bonkers.

"Huh? Wha... wha... WHAT?!" This is all I could manage.

"Yenna vishesham?" He repeated cheerfully.

"What do you mean?" I asked, still stumped.

"You don't know 'Yenna vishesham'? You're married to a Tamilian and you don't know what is 'Yenna vishesham'?????"

"I know what is 'Yenna vishesham' all right. How do YOU know 'Yenna vishesham'???

"Of course I know what is 'Yenna vishesham'. Do YOU know what is 'Yenna vishesham'??" He laughed.

Okay, this was going nowhere.

"'Yenna' means 'what' and 'vishesham' means 'special'. So you're asking - 'What is new/special?' Okay now? Happy?"


"What correct? Of course I know it's correct."

"But you didn't use it in a conversation. I did." He said proudly.

"Well, I don't randomly use it to impress people. I use it when... erm... it's... needed."

Dad had gifted me two books on how non-Tamilians can learn Tamil in 30 days. Viv is a terrible teacher when it comes to Tamil and the only useful stuff I learn is when the in-laws come over, so my Dad thought he could supplement my education with the books. Word of advice -- Do NOT believe a word of what those book titles say. 30 days my foot. Sure I can now almost pronounce 'kozhambu', almost differentiate between kannadi/munnadi/pinnadi and nariya/periya/seriya and almost insult people by calling them 'korangu', but I am still far away from really knowing the language. The last thing I needed was my Dad learning more Tamil than me.

Anyway, I let the incident go and dismissed how thrilled Dad had sounded at his 'victory'.

Until this evening when Viv sent me an sms, saying he was going to get home late from work.


Quick as lightning, I messaged back, "Yenna vishesham?"

Viv's response was in Singlish, which loosely translated to emoticonspeak is this --> :O


Now I just have to call Dad and ask him if HE has ever been sarcastic in fluent Tamil. Ha!


Kavity said...

Hilarious :)
Nanna tamizh kathukkongo :P

Arun said...


buddy said...


and yenna vishehsam is also used by gossippy maamis to pulverize young women..just fyi

Neha said...

hahaha!! i can so relate to this post.. my hubbie is terrible in teaching me to speak bengali.. and now my mom knows more bengali because she converses with the in laws more than i do.. and then even she will start speaking to me in bengali!! :D maybe I will speak to her in marathi and ask her if she still remembers it :D

manju said...

Kalakitteenga ;)

dandalitha said...

you know what sayesha? The normal 'yenna visesham' is just to ask "how are things?" But , when you responded to Viv on his delayed return , here , the same 'yenna visesham ' means that YOU are asking Viv the very pointed question as to what is holding him up!"

Like asking." Ki hoyeche ? late keno? "

You are mastering Tamil fast .

Sayesha said...

Thanks for the encouragement! :D


Sheesh! Will watch out for the Mamis! Hahaha! :D

Hahaa... but Bengali is easy. Even I can understand Bengali. Tamil is really tough! :(

Ok I had to ask Viv whether that was a compliment or an insult. He has confirmed and I thank you. :P

Oh nooo... this does not sound like what I meant at all! I meant it in a 'You're late. What's new?' way. I think Viv got the sarcasm all right! :D

Maryum said...

thank god u wrote.. warna maine to socha tha u forgot all about ur blog..i cheked daily like 5 times.. and still i m the 8th commentor.. shame on me :) lekin phir bhi silver aur bronze mere hoye
just one shout
enjoyed the post .. thanks

Arun said...

So, Singlish, Hinglish and maybe Tinglish; Tapori Bhasha, English, Hindi, Tamil --- just how multilingual do you plan to be? :)

Porkodi (பொற்கொடி) said...

total rotfl! why does it make think dad really meant what the mamis mean always and then changed course when you didnt get it, fearing the hypothetical newspaper..? :P

Arun said...


Raja Swaminathan said...

Ha ha ha...and a ha.
This was just so hilarious.
Never ever thought of words like kannadi/minnadi/pinnadi or nariya/periya/seriya till you mentioned them here. :-)

I totally agree that Tamil is one hell of a tough language. Am impressed that you already know so much. Just pick it up phrase-by-phrase, that is fun.

I think I know which "30-days" books you are talking about. I have had similar ones for various languages. The problem was always with me though. Never made the effort. :(

Dinesh said...

wallow! :)

Yamini said...

LOL, so you could finally use it in a conversation, huh??
and that too sarcastically... Double awesome :)

I have finally read almost all the posts on your blog... been doing that since a while...and the one post, where u wrote about "What kinda reader are you?"(sorta), i am still unable to decide....

rather i am not able to relocate that post to make a final decision :P :P

Awesome awesome blog... :)

Sudeep said...

He he..
It seems though that 'wassup' is closer than 'tell me something I don't know' kinds for yenna vishesham, right?

Maine bhi thode Kashmiri words sikhe hai, thoda concentrate karo toh samajh jaata hai context. But I have not taken up the responsibility of teaching Rajasthani (Marwari), mummy pe chod diya hai woh.

Anonymous said...

Hee hee, nothing like a funny jab at just the right time!

anshuj said...

You have got one enterprising Dad! Watch out gal!

Shanks_P said...

It amazing that a very common word in one language which is never even noticed can cause so much when used by some one who doesn't have a great hold on the language ....

Good one bhai ....

Stupidosaur said...

"Yenna vishesham?" you ask?

Its this:


My camera started its own blog!

Sayesha said...

Hehe... sorry sorry... kabhi kabhi blogger's blog ho jata hai. :)

Tinglish?? What's that? Like... "Mind it?" or "If you kham thudhay?" :D

I don't know about others, but I see one very deserving candidate for the newspaper! :/

Cooooool!! :D

Yeah I am much better now. At least I don't get confused between kannadi and takkali anymore!! :D

Close. :) Wah lao! :D

Thank you! The post you refer to is the second link at the top right (under my silhouette profile picture). :)

Hahahaha! Please teach me some Marwari!!! :D


Muahahaha! I will win. Muahahaha! :D

Thanks! :)

Welcome back! Nice new blog. Tell your camera it has two dhakkans -- one that covers its lenses and the other is the one who owns it. *burrrrnnnnnnn* Muahahaha! :D