Monday, November 8, 2010

Telugu Lessons

My son is taking Telugu lessons in Chinmaya Mission. He goes to class every Sunday. I did not get a chance to sit with him and see what he is being taught and make him practice at home. Since there is no official home work I am taking it easy I guess. Today I had some time and he was in super nice kid mood. He blamed me for not teaching him Telugu at home. Obviously I got offended :) and I took out his book.

I saw some Telugu words and English meanings and when he is eating dinner started asking him translations. Here is our conversation:

Me: I will say a word. If I say a Telugu word you must tell me what it means in English and if I say a English word you must give me the Telugu word for it. Got it?
Son: Wow! I love this game. My teacher always plays this game with us :)

(Wow! I am smart :D)

Me: Store
Son: I don't know.
Me: Okay. It is called Angadi (My son wrote this word in the book)

Seriously? Who calls a store Angadi these days? My grand parents never used this word I guess and I am taking their standard because my grand father was a Telugu Pundit. He used to say Dukanam I guess. They really need to update the syllabus. They might have taken the words from pedda balasiksha. They need to teach words used in the current real world so that kids can communicate when they visit India. Hmm. I decided to escalate this issue to the concerned person to get the syllabus changed :-D

Son: Ask me more mom.
Me: Okay okay.Pen.
Son: I don't know
Me: it is called Kalamu.

Son: Then what do you call a pencil amma?
Me: Umm. I don't know it is just called pencil.

Son: How come? When pen is called Kalamu pencil must have some word too. Kids in Hyderabad don't use pencil to write or do light saber fight? (he is too much into star wars these days)
Me: Of course they do.

Son: Then how come they don't know how to say the word which means pencil?
Me: For some words they use English words.

Son: Amma, it would be so funny if in Hyderabad people use English words instead of all Telugu words when they speak right?
I laughed and said: then it would be English not Telugu.
Son: Ya... you are right. Then why do people in Hyderabad need to learn Telugu at all?
Me: Hmm...... Okay we are getting distracted.

(He has been to Hyderabad and my grandparents village. So he thinks Hyderabad is the only place in India where they speak Telugu :)

Son: Oh I know - They should call it - Pencilu with a "u" at the end. In Telugu every word ends with "u". Even Telug(u). Haha.. I discovered something amma. Did you realize that Telugu ends with a U :)))) (giggles)
Me: Great discovery son. Let's move on.

Arrow - Banamu.

He is writing these words in Telugu. I remembered last year when he first learnt to write the letter - na in the word banamu. He said this is how you DRAW the letter ana - you draw the number 6 and another reverse 6 next to it. Then on top of 6 you need to make a letter C and a reverse C on top of the other 6 and remember to join the 2 C's on top. The C's must look like clouds :)

He is enjoying learning Telugu sooooo much. He says Telugu letters are artsy :) Anyways coming back to word translations:

Me: Okay now what is eggplant in Telugu?
Son: Chittakaya.
Me: Do you mean Chikkudi Kaya?
Son: What is Chikkudi kaya?
Me: It is a vegetable - it looks like a pea pod, the one we have in our backyard.
Son: Uh uh! You said a bad word.
Me: What did I say?
Son: You said pee...
Me: No, the word I said is PEA as in Green Peas. Not Pee Pee.
Son: Giggles....Ohhhhh now I get it. (he is just messing with me. He knew what pea pods were)

Since it was the week of Diwali they taught him the word Fire crackers.

Me: What is a Fire Cracker in Telugu?
Son: Chittakaya
Me: What?
Son: Chittakaya.
The way in which he sounded it out was so cute :)

Me: Lol. No think again. Okay let me help you. You used chittakaya once already. How can two different words in English have the same Telugu word?
(I thought I was smart to give this hint :)

Son: Why not? In English HERE and HEAR sound the same. But they mean different things. So when I say chittakaya for both eggplant and fire cracker it sounds the same but when you write it it is different :)


Me: Okay, firstly there is no word chittakaya. So think of something else.
Son: I know. I just made it up in my head. I like the sound of this word. So I am going to use it for everything.


Me: That's not going to work. If you want to learn Telugu, you need to take this seriously.
Son: Okay! Okay!
Me: Fire cracker is called Tapakaya.
Son: See chittakaya is close :)
Me: Okay, let's move on.

What is Curry?
Son: Rice
Me: What? You are giving me a English word. Give me Telugu word for Curry.
He says Annam :)
Me: Okay Curry is not Annam. What are you eating now?
Son: Kura Annam.
Me: Yeah, that means?
Son: I don't know. Hmm.
Me: Okay Curry = Kura.
Son: Ohhhhhhhhh now I get it.

Me: Cool!

Me: Bag is Sanchi
Son: Amma, burglars take big "sanchis" with them when they go to rob a house :)

The lesson ends with this. That was enough Telugu for a day :)


V said...

Nice post..amazing how u remember the whole conversation as such and write it beautifully..
ROTFL on the ending with "u" part..:) louuuved the way he described how to draw telugu letters..
Way to go Pranav !

Mytreyi said...

You write it so beautifully. speically how to write telugu words..
and when will you stop saying move on when you dont have answers:-)

Anonymous said...

very nice to read.
like this pranav can easily learn
sanskrit also.

Pencil - Ballapam
Telugu word - "KANIKI"

Guess who is this ?

Madhuri said...

Hey V,

Remember, you too said the same thing about Telug(u) letters ending in (u) all the time. At that time actually I got offended and thought - "you are commenting based on the few words you know". But when my son said it, its like he is like you :) Meaning someone who has no clue about Telugu. (sad sad, very sad). Now I am instrumental in teaching him. This morning started teaching him A for apple kind of equivalent in Tleugu. A arati AA AAvu....

My husband is saying he might become a Telugu Pundit soon and we might have to honor him with some Gandapenderam - it is the heavy round gold anklet kind of thing given to supreme pundits in kings courts :))))He went to the extent of thinking it might become hard for him to walk with that :D

Madhuri said...

Hey M,

Haha. So you observed "move on" :) What to do. I should not reveal that I am forgetting Telugu or do not know some words right :)

Actually some anonymous said Balapamu. I knew this word man. Kaniki I never knew :) From now on I will Google before I answer him ;-)

Madhuri said...

Hey Anonymous,

Actually I am teaching him Sanskrit not as a language but I teach him meaning of all the Sanskrit slokas. He loves to hear the meaning. And he actually relates to some words saying that they are same in Telugu. I did not leave the opportunity of explaining him how Hindi and Telugu originated from Sanskrit giving some examples :)

Now thank you for reminding me of Balapam. I knew this word :-D

But Kaniki - never heard. Did you Google it? Or you knew this one?

A lot is based on that.

As for guessing your identity, hmm...I have 2 names in mind. Not 100% sure. Hmmmm....

Madhuri said...

Hey Anonymous,

Balapam is not pencil. Palaka Balapam. It is the light brown chalk kind of thing used to write on a slate :)
I did not find the meaning of Kaniki when I googled. Let me find out from my mom or aunt to confirm :-D

Rahul said...

it was a great post akka.....

Pranav seems to have inherited the scholarly genes - he is already inventing new words :)

While reading this post I wonder if our folks had to survive us like this when we were kids!! ;)

And, atleast for our generation and the next(yes, I realise we are already old to be called the now generation ;)) I guess Telugu isn't something that naturally comes to our minds - coz we dont think in telugu :( At times, specially when we need to talk more formal platform - for example, I found it really tough to talk in formal telugu (not just colloquial slang) to talk continuously for an hr or so when I was doing my Radio show:(

Good akka, u are training him in telugu!! may the tradition of language continue!!

Madhuri said...

Hey Rahul,

Welcome to my blog!

Yeah, mom always says that we were not as inquisitive as this generation. She also says that I entertain too many questions from him :) But I have so much fun just talking to him.

You did a radio show in Telugu. Wow! I am totally impressed. That sure is difficult.

My peddamma is here right now visiting and she uses grandhika Telugu. I am having tough time responding to her in pure Telugu myself (my son says I talk funny when I speak with her). He says she speaks different Telugu and he can't understand her :)

Anonymous said...

Nice Post Dear,another good one again.I loved the way he figured out how to write ana... kid.
BTW..I disagree with you in one thing..In my Opinon... Our generation and the comming generations should now the Real Telugu..otherwise we can not understand so many Intresting Padyalu,kavyalu etc., our ancestors wrote...ofcuorse we should also know vaduka bhasha..coz we want our kids to speak in telugu......

but still...its my opinion though...wht say?

Madhuri said...

Hey Anonymous,

Umm. Today's kids should know the Telugu. Agreed. But since my son is born and brought up here, it is very less that he gets to hear Telugu. In India it is different. Kids learn a lot by hearing people talk and more than that by watching TV. The very less Telugu he hears is when me and husband talk.

That is regular Telugu. My point of exposing him Telugu is I want him to communicate easily and not feel left out when we visit India. To communicate with his grandparents and cousins and have fun.

That said, he will enjoy learning the Kavyalu and Padyalu. Agreed. In fact he is learning them and he loves our culture, mythology, the slokas etc.. I teach him prati padartha tatparyam of each and every sloka and padyam in Sanskrit and Telugu. But those are a separate stream.

When learning the meaning of most common words if he hears store = dukanam chances are he can relate to the word next time someone talks or uses it instead of Angadi. If he shows interest and tries to learn in future there is this immense knowledge out there online which he can reap.

What say???

Anonymous said...


Thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. So hilarious....
Keep that coming in.


Punam said...

Dear Madhu, nenu kooda nerchesukunnanu ... somewhat.. he he Pranav is funnyyyy and really, soo cute. Annnd smarrt too. :)
Miss you a lot, Madhu!

Madhuri said...

Thank you Pavithra & Poonam.

reddy said...

I am looking forward to all this fun too when our lil' girl ( 3wks now) grows up..I know for sure her mom is going to be all gungho about desi stuff!!! Enjoyed your experience..keep it coming!-Thirumal Reddy

Anonymous said...

this is appreciable.!!!!!!i like it.

Madhuri said...

Hey Thirumal,

Welcome to my blog!

I am sure you will have gr8 fun with your kiddo. Parenting is such a wonderful experience. You need to experience it first hand to understand :)

Madhuri said...

Thanks Anonymous :) Not sure who you are though!

Bakuganesha said...

I was trying to imagine how he pronounces this word.I had diffenrent versions.
I want to listen how he pronounces this word.
I apprecaite your efforts of capturing all these small things. They sound so nice and soothing.
When Pranav grows up I a sure he will be happy whne going through these.

Madhuri said...

Hey Ravi,
Bakuganesha :)
Ya next time we call remind us, I will make him say :)

Ya, every conversation with him is worth a post in my blog. Can't find time. Today our topics varied from Meat eating people, American's God to visit to Danushkoti to see the rock bridge and find out what color is Lord Rama :)


Anonymous said...

very good and cool,thank you for your sharing.

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superted143 said...

very funny.i enjoyed similar experiences with my sister's son. his name is also pranav. To say bus he will say "bathhu".
My friend suggested your blog.i looked at your blog and completed to read almost 90% of your blog at stretch without a break. i could have finished that 10% also but by that time it's already 4am and i ahd gone to give send off to my sister. i started at night to read and end up in morning. your anlaysis with diffrent aspects of life is so good. but what i really impressed with your posts is that the the way you expressed your inner feelings and thoughts.It is simply superb.I am waiting eagerly for your new posts.i hope you dont disappoint me.

Madhuri said...

Hello superted143,

May I ask which friend suggested my blog to you? I am curious :)

It has been a long time since I wrote anything. I might revisit sometime later to post some new ones.

Thanks for your comment.


Anonymous said...

Nice one. STORE means DUKANAMU. So what u learned in your childhood is correct. ANGADI means MARKET ( not store).