Food for words – Asaalta!! :)

An undying quest for knowledge overwhelms the mind and soul of a brain-conscious person like me usually on saturday mornings. This week was no exception and I decided to supplement my already enviable learning database by getting to know some invaluable insight into the nuances of our singara Chennai’s local Tamil dialect.

Now, mind you, I am fiercely loyal to the beauty of this wonderful dialect and any smirks or sniggers while reading this would earn a whiplash in my mind’s durbar!

And needless to say, the internet served to quench my knowledge thirst and what you see here is a collage of wisdom points from friends who are authorities on the subject and internet fact sites.

Alright, task one, let’s start by googling for Madras Tamil. Bingo! Freebase brilliantly zeroes in on the single most important point – that Madras Tamil is a “human” language! Awesome! Freebase, we love you!

And now, for those fortunate few who would get to witness Diwali in all its splendor at Chennai – here are a few pointers for the road.

The profound use of a typical Madras Tamil phrase or idiom can be witnessed with angry road users annoyed with fellow road users. For instance:

  • Naina! Vootle solltiya? Saavugraaki

Literally means “Have you informed your folks at home that this is your last day, Guv?!” By calling the other person “naina” and asking him whether he has taken leave of his loved ones, the speaker indicates that his interlocutor is driving in a very unsafe manner. The speaker uses “saavugraaki” to emphasize the point that the accused is a sure death target, thus asserting his superior driving skills in the situation.

  • Vootle solltu vandiya?

This is a shorter version of the “Naina! Vootle solltiya? Saavugraaki!” mentioned above. It is used to indicate that the other person is driving rashly or in an unsafe manner.

  • Over scene odambukku aagathu; Vetti Scene velaikkagathu.

Conveys the immortal lesson that showing off and acting high and mighty is of no use.

There are also taunts and fight invites that are characteristically famous. A few are:

  • Kalyanathula veppanga bandhi; Unga aayavuku theriyuma Hindi?

Actually means nothing in the literal sense. It translates into “A marriage has a feast. Does your granny speak Hindi?!” The beauty of this phrase lies in the way the words have been rhymed.

  • Vuttalakkadi goya vuzhundhu enchi vaaya…

Vutallakadi is usually a rhyme filler word making no sense. Goyya means a guava fruit but is used in meaningless rhymes. It is also a term used for a moron. “vuzhundu” means fallen; enchi vaaya means “Be prepared for a fight man!” The whole phrase is used as a call for a street fight for petty reasons.



  1. Throughly enjoyed reading. Great attempt to complile some of the Chennai singara tamil dialect. (No smirks or sniggers here)

    I thought ‘enchi vaaya’ means ‘get up and come’. Vuzhundhu enchi vaaya could mean ‘fall, get up and come…’ But I’m not sure. I have never visited Chennai even though I’m a half Tamilian.

    1. LOL, Joshi… Some words together actually end up being used in ways completely different from their literal translations… 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, pal…

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