To those of you who do not know Tamizh, this post is going to sound like Greek and Latin. My apologies.
“Vannakkam. Yen payir Hari. Inniki sani khizhamai. Ennakku pushanikai pidikadhu. Ennaku mollaga pidikum. Enna athai payyan payer Vish. Avvanukku oru thangai irrukka. Ava oru kutti papa. Enna mama ponnu peru Shraddha. Avalum oru kutti pappa”
So goes Hari’s recording for his Tamizh homework. My eight year old knows to read and write in Tamizh. Talking not as much, but we are getting there. My heart thumps out of joy, when he uses colloquial tamizh “Dhoni semmayya kalakaran thatha” when he exchanges cricket notes with his grandpa. It’s labored, far from being fluent, and is heavily accented but is spoken with confidence, pride and joy.
He is able to read parts of the letter that his grandma wrote to him in Tamizh. He can recite Thirukural and Aathichoodi. He intuitively gets the difference between the moonu suzhi na and the rendu suzhi na. He can write roughly 80 words in Tamizh with very few spelling mistakes. He records five sentences in Tamizh as part of his homework.
Very glad that we chose to enroll Hari in Tamizh at Sunday school. Not sure how long he will be able to keep up given that both his parents will have to refer to textbook to check his spelling, let along providing guidance around how to spell. That he has gotten this far, and understands that there are nuances to Tamizh language, has had exposure to Bharthiyaar poems and Avvaiyar patti, are accomplishments enough.
And of course, he likes to use his learnings to his advantage. If I were to get stressed out, he would come up to me and say – “mom, aaruvadhu sinam” – a line from Aathichoodi that speaks to wisdom in calming your anger.