Saturday, March 3, 2012

Raasathi En Usuru - Thiruda Thiruda

My cousin says that this song is Rahman's best ever. Rendered almost as an ‘a capella’ - a song of only vocals and no accompanying instruments - this bewitching song gives me goosebumps each time I hear it. Sung by the late Shahul Hameed, it reverabates with the folkishness of a village side singer at dusk singing for himself about his deep feelings for a separating love. Were I walking home through the fields at sunset and were I to hear a song over the orange evening and across the paddy and ponds, this would be it. Shahul Hameed, most famous for his folkish songs under Rahman, sings it passionately to perfection. And I would stop to listen again.

There is very little to be said about Rahman's composition for describing such beautiful simplicity in complex words would be ironical. But I would like to concur that this is one of Rahman's best. From what I understand, the bass guitar is used in the song and so it is not entirely without accompanying instruments, but you would be hard pressed to hear it yourself among the vocal melody.

Vairamuthu's lyrics are descriptive and evocative, justly putting the village side and yearning love in superb combination. And in this song, it is the words that is the centre of all attention. Maniratnam again has done justice with his picturisation. The situation for the song is when the female protagonist intends to leave her two male friends. One of them, the one singing the song, is the extrovert and has already expressed her love for her - but that love is unrequited. It is for the other, who also loves the girl, that she has reserved her affection. Unable to express her real love and yet unable to honestly turn down her other suitor, she makes the choice to leave both. At that point is this masterpiece …

Thanks to both Savitha for bringing this up and Kannal Achuthan for giving me very important parts of the translation. Again, I’ve taken the liberty to overwrite what she has given me just because I like it better my way - so as usual, if there are mistakes, they are mine.


Raasathi yen usuru yennathu ille hmm…
Princess, this soul’s no more mine …
Raasathi is also the name of the female protagonist in the film
Poochoodi vazhkaatthu pora pulle hmm…
Adorned with flowers you leave for a new life
Nee poona yen udambu mannukulle hmm…
When you leave, my lifeless body will be buried in this very earth ...
Raavodu seithi varum vaadhi pulle hmm…
And this sad news will reach you in the morning
... so please don’t go, come back
Raasathi yen usuru yennathu ille hmm… Ah…ah…ah…ah…

Kaara veettu thinnayile karikku manjal araikayile
You were grinding sandalwood paste on the porch of your terraced house ...
Chorus:Manjale araikum munne manase arachavale
Chorus:... before you finished with that, you had ground my heart to a powder
Karisa kaatthu odayile kandaanggi thovaikayile
At the canal by the black soil, you were washing your clothes ...
Chorus:Thuniye nanaike vitthhu manase pulinjavale
Chorus:... you left the clothes to soak, but it was my heart you wrung
Nalla kalatthu mettil enna ilutthu mudinjukkittu poonavale…
Now you have tethered me to this plough alone, and you bid goodbye
Chorus:Porave porave than butthikketthu porave than
Chorus: She is going having lost her mind to her troubles
Kalyana chelayile kannire thodachikuttu pooravale…
She leaves, wiping her tears on her sari like a departing bride ...
Chorus: Porave porave than pothikkittu poravathan
Chorus: She leaves, all covered up, wrapping within her, her true feelings
Naan tantha malligaye nattathil potthu vitthu
Discarding my gift of jasmine flowers in the river …
Arali poochoodi aluthabadi poravale…
She leaves wearing /poisonous/ arali flowers
arali here denotes the poisonous quality of the arali plant

Chorus: Kadala kaatthu kulle kai adichu sonna pulle
Chorus: In the groundnut plantations, this girl, she slapped my open palm and made promises …
Chorus: Katthule yeluthanam ponbalingga sonna solla
Chorus: … these women’s words are as good as writings in the air.

Tottu tottu pottu vatche chuttu viral kaayaliye
The finger that dabbed the vermillion twice and dotted your forehead has still not lost its new color …
Chorus:Marikolunthu vatcha kaiyil vaasam innum pogaliye
Chorus: … The hand that laid the marigold in your hair has not lost its fragrance
Maruthayil vaanggi thantha valavi innum valayiliye
... the bangles that I bought her in Madurai remain as good as new
Chorus: Mallu vetti matthiyile manja kara marayiliye
Chorus: … The turmeric mark on the new dhoti still remains
Antha kaluthu themaliyum, kaathoram matchatiyum parthatu eppo…
When will I see the nape of that neck, and the beauty spot by the ear
Chorus: Parthathu parthathu eppo paurnamiyum maruthatu eppo
Chorus: When again, when again, when will the full moon dawn again?
Antha kolusu mani ciripum kumari ilam ciripum kertpathu eppo…
When again will I hear the music of your anklets and the soft laughter of this young girl
Chorus: Kertpathu kertpathu eppo kira thandu poopatheppo
Chorus: When will I hear it again, when again, when will the green crops bloom again?
Karuvelang kaatthu kulle karicang kuruvi onnu
Suthi maari katthuthamma thunai yettham kaanam innu
In the dry forests, there is this black sparrow
Who sings out of tune with sadness that his partner has gone missing

Chorus:Kadala kaatthu kulle kai adicu sonna pulle
Katthule yeluthanam ponbalingga sonna solla

Raasathi yen usuru yennathu ille hmm…
Poochoodi vaka patthu pora pulle hmm…
Nee pona yen udambu mannukulle hmm…
Raavodu seithi varum vaadhi pulle hmm…
Raasathi yen usuru yennathu ille hmm…


11 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for the lyrics, and the meaning! It's one of my favorite Tamil songs..

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  2. Amazing translation.. among the best I've read so far..

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  3. Listened to the song after a long time thanks to stumbling upon your blog

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  4. Thank You so much for this description, only never knew about this style before. This always remains second favourite among innumerable ARR gems (after Nahi Saamne in Taal).

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  5. A beautiful cover :) http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=2jHJH6rGJ3U

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  6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIVdXBVyPW0

    Listened to this cover...... and then the original, and though I like the cover better, the original is brilliant as well.... Thanks for the lyrics, loved this song inspite of not understanding a word of Tamil... this just made it better :)

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  7. Thanks for helping me catch up with the missed lyrics as well as meaning... :) :) :)

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  8. Thank you for the lyrics as well as a lovely introduction!

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  9. Pha....... Amazing lines & comments..

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  10. What a beautiful song! Thank you so much for the translation.

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The language that the lyrics or song originally is not in my language of regular use. So there are a couple of reasons why the translations might appear wrong: either I understood it wrong, or I utilized my poetic-translation license to interpret it as I saw it in the context of the song and the surrounding lyrics. Either ways I would like to hear your views about it also, and will be updating the translations with ideas that I like or that I find better. So please leave behind your thoughts. Thanks for your time!