A chubby kid who ate more than required and more than any of his brothers got him to earn the name “yettadi kundan“. He was never a smart kid at school but was brilliant at any games/sports, he had the capability of charming and tricking himself into winning any game. And often played the “youngest child” card at home to be awarded with extra variki (rusk) from his grandfather.
With an innocent smile pasted on his face, he managed to outwit everyone in the village and made them believe that he is the “Good boy”.
He failed (9th std) once in school, I still remember how his face looked when he had to confront his parents. The chubby kid with a pavaam (innocent) face, who always got away from facing the consequences never confronted his parents and continued to study and finished school. Unlike his brother, from palavadi to pattam (nursery to degree) he learnt everything in Thamizh.
Yettadi kundan came to Chennai, his first every actual living in a city prior to which he hasn’t lasted more than 10 days in a city. Having had less exposure to a city, he doesn’t have much of an idea how it works. After much struggle and millions of interviews, he landed a job and starts to go on in life without expecting any help from his brother.
English was unknown to him, he barely could frame a complete sentence, the pronunciation and grammar was french. All this never affected him. He didn’t attend any English speaking classes to learn, he just followed his good old trick. He was smart, throughout his life in village he learnt by “observe, try and learn :P”.
Its easy for people to say ‘he is from village and cant speak english’. He lived with his bother and his friends for an year or so, none of them bothered to have helped him to improve. They were all already settled in good job and were good at english, he also didn’t ask for their help in the language either.
It took many years for me to understand that English is not everything. When I look at him, I think of how many kundans, pattikattans, oor nattans comes to city and struggle and survive in this corporate jungle. I know many of such villagians who are extremely talented but are snubbed by those who spoke English fluently. I firmly believe that villagians will grow and they will find a way to lead cause their learning is far more superior than classroom learnings, they have got the actual experience practically. They are street smart, they will never survive in an existing style, they define their own. You cannot observe them and learn, you cannot study them that is why the so-called villagians assumptions about them. They look odd at first and they will remain odd.
Remember, odd ones stand-out!
Bridge – This is how he pronounced the word “Fridge” at first. Even now I hear it as “Bridge” if he pronounces the word “fridge” properly.
To Yettadi kundan and all Pattikattaans and Oornattaans.