I am burning – Ainkurunuru113


Reworked on one of my old posts. Author – Historian Venkatesh Ramakrishnan reached out to me on this poem. Now he is trying his hand on Sangam literature translations! Welcome to the club. This is one of the cutest poems in Sangam literature. Thalaivi is getting caught by mother.  The situation is beautifully portrayed in few lines.

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அம்ம வாழி தோழி நென்னல்

ஓங்குதிரை வெண்மணல் உடைக்கும் துறைவற்கு

ஊரார் பெண்டென மொழிய என்னை

அதுகேட் டன்னாய் என்றனள் அன்னை

பைபய வெம்மை என்றனென் யானே.

Long live my friend! Listen to me

Yesterday on the shores, where tall waves break the white sands

the village women pointed at me and said ‘(that) girl’.

My Mother hearing the banter asked me ‘Is it so?’

I said softly ‘I am burning (with love passion)’

 

Alternate interpretation and translation

Long live my friend! Listen to me

Yesterday on the shores,

where tall waves break the white sands,

village women pointed at me and said ‘(that) girl’.

My Mother hearing the banter asked me ‘Is it so?’

I said softly ‘yes it is us (me and my lord)’

 

Alternate interpretation and translation

Long live my friend! Listen to me

Yesterday on the shores,

where tall waves break the white sands,

village women pointed at me and said ‘(that) girl’.

My Mother hearing the banter asked me ‘Is it so?’

I said softly ‘my god! (I am caught)’

Poet : Ammuvanar
Translated by Palaniappan Vairam Sarathy

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The interpretation difference is due to santham pirithal or splitting on words, some versions have எம்மை and other have வெம்மை. வெம்மை – Vemmai – means – burn/heat etc. , எம்மை – means us or my lord or what a world. Using any of these interpretations would still make sense. Hence the beauty of this poems.

Tall wave breaking the white sands, here alludes to the gossips which break her love meetings. Now that she is caught she wont be let alone anywhere and only way forward is marriage proposal from hero to her family.

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அம்ம வாழி, தோழி! நென்னல்

Listen – longlive – friend – yesterday

ஓங்கு திரை வெண் மணல் உடைக்கும் துறைவற்கு,

Tall – waves – white- sand – break – shore

ஊரார், ‘பெண்டு‘ என மொழிய, என்னை,

Village – ‘(that) girl’ – so – say – me

அது கேட்டு, ‘அன்னாய்‘ என்றனள், அன்னை;

Hear that – ‘exlaimed (something like aai sound’) said , mother

பைபய ‘எம்மை’ என்றனென், யானே.

Softly – mylord/burn/heat/we (me and my lord)/what a world – said – me

வரையாது வந்து ஒழுகும் தலைமகன் சிறைப்புறத்து நின்று கேட்ப, ‘நெருநல் இல்லத்து நிகழ்ந்தது இது’ எனத் தலைமகள் தோழிக்குச் சொல்லியது. 3

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