Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Mouse, My Uncle!

See when you need to think up a new lullaby every 30 days, you sometimes hit a dry patch. Which is when I remembered Munna bada pyaara / Ammi ka dulaara / Koi kahe chaand, koi aankh ka tara. N loved it, especially the part about her being my star. But then Amit said, you know this is a Goan song na? And I was like, no, no way! I'd always imagined (is this a real memory, I don't know?) a Lukhnawi setting for this song, with a sweet mom and a Daisy-Irani type tyke. To think that it came from Goa was most baffling. So we called John, Amit's pal, and once he sang the whole song it sounded unmistakably Goan! The words, combined with the lovely, nasal sounds of Konkani, were soooooooo sweet! The original song goes like this:

Undra mojea mama,
aik aum sangtam tuka
mazorichea pillea laguim khell manddi naka.

Undir mama ailo,
ani pette kuxik liplo
mazorichea pillean taka eka ghansan khailo!

Which is:
Mouse, my Uncle,
Listen, I’m telling you:
Don’t try playing with the cat’s little kittens!
Mouse Uncle came
And hid under the trunk
And the cat's kittens ate him up in one mouthful!

John summed it all up for me by saying, "Bohot kadva philosophy hai!" True, of course, especially when it's said in John's cool, Cheera Bazar style. I think that's true of most kiddie songs in Indian languages – punches are rarely pulled. Like this Gujju song Amit sings for n:

Ek bilaadi jaadi
Eine peri saadi
Saadi peri pharva gayi
Talav maa to tarva gayi
Talav ma hata magar
Billi ne aavya chakkar
Saadi chhedo chhuti gayo
Magar na mooh maa aayi gayo
Magar billi ne khaee gayo!

Which is:
There was once a fat kitty
Who wore a pretty sari
Wearing the sari she set off for a swim,
Seeing a pond, she jumped right in!
In the pond was a crocodile
Kitty felt faint seeing his smile!
The sari came off in a pile
It was snapped up by the crocodile,
Who quickly gobbled up poor kitty!

(The translation has been beefed up a bit to make it rhyme – and because I know Gujju more than I know Konkani!)

I think it’s so refreshingly different from the whole Anglo/mainstream Hindi film tradition which tends to OD on the sweet.


Space Bar said...

heh! such fun! this is roald dahl-y stuff!

suniti said...

A great post. The rhythm did suggest konkani to me. But its nice to know for sure.
Gentle and politically correct songs for children is a current phenomena. By my experience children are quite blood thirsty lot and if you don't believe me, try asking them how the bad characters in the story be dealt with :) They will come up with most gruesome punishments :P

These poems remind me of the dark english nursery rhymes of last century.

Batul said...

Was reading this incredible article in 'Bombay, meri Jaan' called 'Morning you play different, night you play different' by Naresh Fernandes. Makes you realize just how much of Indian film music was influenced by the Goan music scene, because most of the arrangers were Goanese. So, not surprised that 'Munna bada pyara' is Konkani in origin.

the mad momma said...

well arent most fairytales also very politically incorrect? right from little mermaid to the tin soldier...


ask amit if he knows "dala tarvadi na ringna" ni varta. i used to trip on it when i was a kid.
it has lots of masala...
if he doesnt i will email it to you,
in gujju no less