A very happy Janmashtami (Gokulashtami, Sri Jayanti) to everybody!
This year is very special for me because I have my own Bala Gopala to play with! I am, of course, referring to my little grandson who is now 8 months old. The representation of Krishna crawling with butter in his hands, that would be about that age, wouldn’t it? You know that mischievous look that artists add to His eyes? Well, my little grandson has the very same look sometimes! The other day, I was tucking him into his bed for his nap. I neatly tucked in one side and walked around the cot to reach the other. By the time I did that, little Rohit had pulled the cover out and sat up, eyes twinkling and laughing at me! By the time I went from one side to another a few times, this had become the best of games 🙂 I finally told him firmly that he could sleep with no covers for a change and walked out of his room with a smile of my own, very proud of the little one’s bout of mischief! Ah, there you see is a conundrum of sorts, this pride in a child’s mischief, what’s that about? Is it because the mischief represents an agile mind and a sense of humour which we do take pride in?
My darling grandson has other tricks up his sleeve too! He has this way of looking away from me, as if gazing seriously at something far away. I would try to get his attention by making silly sounds or calling his name but he would keep his eyes averted. But I know his attention is on me as a little smile lifts one corner of his mouth 🙂 All the adults around him are totally attentive to him, so where did he learn this trick? Native mischievousness, that’s what! Oh the love I feel for him when he plays this game with me! My heart overflows!
This is the emotion that Oothukadu Venkata Kavi wants us to capture and direct towards our bala Gopala, the divine child who will play games with us forever. The Kavi has done a brilliant job in conveying the pride in Yashoda’s ‘voice’ even as she tells her friend, ‘Only you will praise Krishna!’ What a perfect balance between pride and frustration in Yashoda’s description of her son’s doings!! Set to Raga Sriranjani, this song is popular with dancers as there is a lot of scope for abhinaya.
To enjoy this song, please listen below to an old recording by T.N.Seshagopalan.
I am also very fond of this version by Maharajapuram Santanam.
I was really keen to include a dance video, but the best I found is this very short version by the talented Harinie Jeevitha. Hope you enjoy it!
Footnote (Lyrics and Translation) :
Composer : Oothukadu Venkata Kavi
Raga : Sriranjani
Language : Tamil
நீதான் மெச்சிக் கொள்ள வேண்டும் (alt: வேணும் )
எங்கள் நீல நிற மேனி மாதவன் செய்வது
நிமிஷம் போவது யுகமாய் ஆகுது
காதாரக் குழலூதி கன்றோடு (alt: கன்றுடன் ) விளையாடி
கண் முன்னே வந்து நின்று ஆட்டமும் ஆடி
ஏதேதோ ஜாலங்கள் செய்வதும் ஓடி ஓடி
எழிலுரு மங்கையர் மனைதொறும் (alt: மனைதனில்) புகுந்து
களவாடிடும் எனதாருயிர் மகனை
செய்யும் துஷ்டத்தனத்திற்கோர் எல்லையே இல்லை
தேடிப் பிடிக்க என்றால் (alt: என்னால்) சக்தியும் இல்லை
கையும் களவுமாக (alt: களவுமாக்க ) காலமும் வல்லை
ஆனால் காலம் தவறாது கோள் சொல்ல வந்து நின்ற (alt: வந்த )
மாதர்க்கு விடை சொல்ல நேரமும் இல்லை
கட்ட எண்ணிக் கயிற்றைத் தேடியும் காணோம்
கைக்கான கயிறெல்லாம் அளவாகக் காணோம்
மட்டம் என உரலோடு கட்டிடத் தோணும் ஆனால்
மட மட எனும் ஒலி செவி புக வந்தால்
மருத மரம் இரண்டை காணவே காணோம்
nI dAn mechchi koLLa vENDum (alt: vENum)
engAL nIla nira mEni mAdavan seivadu
nimisham pOvadu yugamAy Agudu
kAdAra kuzhal Udi kanDRODu (alt: kanDRuDan) viLaiyADi
kaN munnE vandu ninDRu ATTamum ADi
EdEdO jAlangaL seivadum ODi ODi
ezhiluru mangaiyar manaitorum (alt: manaitanil) pugundu
kaLavADidum enadAruyir maganai
seyyum dushTattanattiRkOr ellaiyE illai
tEDip piDikka enDRAl shaktiyum illai
kaiyum kaLavumAga kAlamum vallai
AnAl kAlam tavarDadu kOL solla vandu ninDRa (alt: vanda)
mAdarkku viDai solla nEramum illai
kaTTa eNNIk-kayiTRait-tEDiyum kANOm
kaikkAna kayirellAm aLavagak-kANOm
maTTam ena uralODu kaTTiDa tONum ANAl
maDa maDa enum oli sevi puga vandAl
maruda maram iraNDai kANavE kANOm
(note – the alternate word usages do not change the overall meaning so I have not translated them)
Only you (nI dAn) will praise (mechchi koLLa vENDum) Krishna (implied)! With the doings (seivadu) of our (engaL) blue-skinned (nIla nira mEni) Madhava, each moment (nimisham) which passes (pOvadu) becomes (Agudu) an eon (yugamAy)!
Only you will praise (implied from pallavi) my (en) dearest (Aruyir) son (maganai) who plays (Udi – literally, blows) the flute (kuzhal) to our heart’s content (kAdu Ara – literally, to the solace of the ear), who plays (viLayADi) with the calf (kanDRODu), who also (-um) comes to stand (vandu ninDRu) and dance (ATTam ADi) in front (munnE) of one’s eyes (kaN) , and who does (seivadum) all kinds of (EdEdO) magical things (jAlangal), who runs constantly (Odi Odi), getting into (pugundu) all the houses (manai+tOrum) of young women (mangai) with elegant (ezhil) forms (uru) and stealing (kaLavADum)!!
There is no (illai) limit (Or ellai) to the mischief (dushtatanattirku) he gets into (seyyum, literally does)! There is neither strength (shakti) nor has the time (kAlam) come (vallai, contraction of varavillai) if He is to be (endRAl) searched (tEDi) and caught (piDikka) red-handed (kaiyum kalavumAga)! Nor do I have the time (nEramum illai) to answer (viDai solla) the ladies (mAdar-kku) who never miss an opportunity (kAlam tavarAdu) to come (vandu niDRa) and complain (kOL solla)!
In spite of searching (tEDiyum) for a rope (kayiTRai) with the thought of (eNNik) of tying Him (kaTTa), it can’t be found (kANOm, literally-not seen)! And all (ellAm) the ropes (kayir) which are found at hand (kaikkAna) aren’t long enough (aLaVAga kANOm)! Finding (implied) something of the right measure (maTTam ena), the thought would come (tONum) to tie Him (kaTTiDa) to the mortar (uralODu). But then (AnAl) a rustling sound (maDa maDa enum oli) would be heard (sevi-ear puga-enter vandAl-come to), and the two (iraNDai) Indian Laurel trees (maruda maram) would be visible no more (kANavE kANOm)! [Note: This refers to an incident from Krishna’s childhood]
8 responses to “Needaan Mechchi Kolla Vendum”
Happy Janmashtami Suja
So happy you celebrated with a real Bala Gopala at home
Yes we can relate so well with
All of oothukadu kavi s songs describing the lord in his mischievous mood .
Thanks for the link to TN Seshagopalans rendition ..
Thank you Padma 🙂 A lot of my fav songs are by the Kavi, his descriptive phrases and rhythmic patterns are so appealing!
Great post. I dont know if I’m digressing. I just wanted to check if any of you have heard the album “Thirth” by TNS. These are songs on Tirupathi. I got this as a cassette years back. As they say, some of the best things are free, we got this as a gift when my mother subscribed to some thing. I had guarded it even when cassette players went obsolete.
Years later I laid my hands on a cassette player and managed to convert it into a digital version. Would love to share it. But it is such a huge file as I could convert the complete side A and then moved on to side B and not song wise.
Let me know how I can share it as it is a gem. One of the finest of TNS
Thank you for your comment. No, I have not heard that album. TNS from that time was wonderful though, wasn’t he!
Thank you 🙂
Happy Janmashtami to you too. When you have a Krishna at your home, what else do you need to celebrate. Every day is a celebration, isn’t it.
Want to comment on your translation, which you do of every krithi you feature. Usually the krithi is in Telugu, a language which I don’t know and just read your translation to understand the meaning. Since this one is in a language I know, I read the original and your translation and I can appreciate and marvel at how well you do this. You bring our nuances which might escape attention on a casual reading. For eg “Kadhara” in anupallavi sounded odd to me as my instant translation was healing the ear, after reading your splitting of the word as Kadh aara. . Your words of bringing solace to the ear is a nuance I would have entirely missed.
Before following your blog, I cared not for the words and simply enjoyed the music. Now, with some understanding of the meaning I find the enjoyment is uplifted. For that I have to thank you.
Sriranjini is a lovely ragam. Whenever it is featured in concerts I yearn for Marubalka and more often than not, it is the krithi that is sung. Very enjoyable. Surprisingly I have never heard this one you have featured here in a live concert. But then I am listening only for the past 6-7 years, which is nothing 🙂
Thank you Ramesh! As always I find your words very encouraging 🙂 I am not really qualified to translate you know..I have never even studied Tamil in school, it was just what my Amma taught me at home. So it is always with a certain sense of trepidation that I put up my translation, hoping that I haven’t made any great blunders! It is an affirmation when you find the nuances that I try to bring out in the translations add to your enjoyment.
I think even in Carnatic Music, there are ‘trendy’ songs and ragas, don’t you? I get startled sometimes on listening to some songs, remembering them from my childhood and wondering why I haven’t heard them in recent years! Similarly, if you listen to old concerts, rare ragas were not sung much. Now musicians launch into full Alapanas in rare ragas – which I quite enjoy at times but still.. I do like Sriranjani and will come to Marubalka one fine day 🙂