Rebels of the Romans

Written on the last day of NaPoWriMo:

I tried merging a war scene with poetry, and I think it has ruined the ‘poetic’ aspect in the poem, but here it is anyway. I had to try something new.

Mounting onto their horses, they rode ferociously

They knew they had to resist the Romans;

Catevellauni as they were, ‘the brave warriors’

Spilled out on either side, encasing the brutes within.

Arming themselves with every last spear,

And stripping themselves of clothing;

Coating themselves with a sea blue dye,

They lashed out at their foes, like the waves of an ocean.

Their united army looked like a gargantuan beast

One that cannot be slain with a single cut.

The foes looked red, what with their uniforms,

And retaliated with all their might.

Though their foes were outnumbered,

The army in red had a determination so strong.

They had great weapons, great brains

And had a silver spoon while they were born.

The Catevellauni were all rough lads

They were hunters, peasants and merchants.

While the mighty Roman legions had

Only those who fought well – warriors.

The Catevellauni charged forward

And shocked the entrapped Romans with sharp daggers.

The Romans hurled back flame-arrows

To protect their own skin.

The Iceni marched out of nowhere,

Into the human walls that encased the foes,

Where the Romans took out their arrows

In fear of losing their lives.

The javelins of the Iceni

Were strong and caused chaos.

The combined forces of the Catuvellauni and the Iceni

Put the Romans down.

And like barbarians did they celebrate

When they finally won the war.

It was the beginning of a new millennium,

And it had to start with war.

The wild Britons loved freedom

And so the Catevellauni and Iceni went to hunt

Later, the Venicones and Silures joined them

For the victory party.

Note: The Catuvellauni, Iceni, Venicones, Silures, etc are the british tribes (Britons) that fought against the Roman rule in England before 43 AD (before the establishment of the Roman rule in Britain — in AD 43 or so).

Additional info you may like to know: The Romans were civilized, while the Britons still led barbaric lives. They used some kind of dye to coat themselves with before waging war, to frighten their enemies. The Romans were the ones who used the sturdy tortoise formation to stand united against their enemies — the one that Amish has written about in his ‘Shiva trilogy’.

The British tribes along with the ones in Gaul (modern-day France) were called the ‘Celts’. Celtic languages are still spoken in Ireland, but my guess is that the original Celtic languages might’ve gone through a lot of transformations.

And yes, history is interesting. 🙂 Do read some.

Whose poetry alone survived…

Yesterday, in Maria’s blog, I read a post in which she had written about John Keats. Intrigued, I googled a bit about his life and came back to write a post on him myself. I was inspired to write about him because life had nothing but hurdles to offer him, yet, he had accomplished a lot within the short span of his stay on earth, unlike many of us.

John Keats was born in the eighteenth century, and was the eldest of the four children his parents birthed. His father died when Keats was very young, leaving the family devastated. His mother, however, doesn’t seem like a woman who stuck to the moral etiquette, and didn’t stay around her children for long, either. She ran away from her family, leaving her children to be tended by her mother.

But when she later came back, she couldn’t stay with her children for long, because The Mass Killer of the olden times, tuberculosis, had got to her. This might have come to Keats as a heavy blow, but he continued studying. It must have been very hard for him, dealing with an unforgiving life… his parents dead, his siblings in need of care, himself all alone… but still, he wrote poems! He had a deep interest in the arts and architecture, and even after he left school to study surgery, his mind always kept coming back to poetry.

And he did write many poems.

He even managed to fall in love with a woman – Isbella Jones – and began writing sensual poems thinking of her, young as he was. And later, he fell in love with another woman – Frances Brawne – who would’ve become his wife, had he not died. When John and Frances were getting intimate, and were slowly but surely falling in love, life decided that John had lived long enough without any mishaps and there had to be something to interrupt his smooth going. And so, his brother, Tom Keats, fell sick… and life had succeeded in preventing Keats from enjoying life further, preventing him from being carefree.

Yet, his love towards Brawne had never once changed. He wrote her letters telling her how much she meant to him, but Tom Keats’ death had brought even more gloom into his life. Imagine having nursed a tuberculosis patient in vain. But she continued to be his distant dream, and he hers. As his health went down, Keats was advised by his doctor to go south and live in better climatic conditions, and so he went, leaving poor Brawne alone, but Rome did nothing to prevent his downfall. He lay in bed for many months, sick.

This site says: Keats’ agony was so severe that at one point he pressed his doctor and asked him, “How long is this posthumous existence of mine to go on?”

One fine day, he finally extricated himself from the mortal flesh that bound his poetic soul and floated towards the gates of heaven. And that marks the end of the 25-year old poetic celebrity. He had written about three volumes of text before he died. Could I be able to do that? Doubtful. But none of his work was popular back then. His books had starting being published only four years before his death… and he had sold only 200 books until he died. But a few decades later, people dug out his work and began appreciating them. Thus, his works were able to survive, though he was not.

Looking at biographies like these make me feel that I’m a freaking parasite living off my parents’ hard work, and more than that, it makes me guilty because I haven’t achieved anything yet in life. Even though Keats died at the tender age of 25, he had written so much that he could finally die in peace. His poems would one day find their way to the world packed with awed fanatics. But if I die tomorrow, I will die as a plain old ordinary South Indian who whiled off her time in the net. Not that I even have the eligibility to be compared with this genius, but I’m just trying to face the facts here.

Sources : Wikipedia and Biography.com.

Faith: the K-Drama

The Daily Post asked me about the last time I really had faith in something. Whether I had faith in anything, I myself do not know. I however, have written this post to discuss with you people about something my best friend strongly loves… having faith. And there’s this K-Drama, which, according to her, had portrayed the meaning of ‘faith’ really well.

Faith… In this drama, the Korean star Lee Min Ho is a General who’s supposed to take care of the King, putting his own life on the line. But, he also happens to make promises with his own life. And when he fails to keep his promise to the female MC, he’ll make her stab himself to death!

Faith_590x330
From the left: People acting as.. King of Goryeo, Queen, warrior Choi Young, the Doctor (Yoo Eun Soo), the villain, the villain’s sister!

The story is all about one thing… faith. Blind faith. Something that cannot be found in real life. We all (K-Drama fans in our college) did see the drama. Most of us had labelled it ‘boring’ by then, and went on with our works… until my friend unearthed the Drama from the depths of her laptop’s folders and finally thought of watching it. Okay, maybe people still consider it boring, but she still finds a great deal of hidden meaning in it. She says she wants to meet someone as trustworthy as the General ‘Choi Young’ in this serial. She likes things like keeping promises with one’s life. She always tries to fulfil the promises she makes.

The Drama is mostly packed with action, but the whole blood-lust and vengeance shown in this drama will be compensated with the unending love between the two main characters. A love so pure. A love so gentle. A love full of… faith.

In the drama (it’s a fictional time-travel thingy), the female lead character is from the present, who is kidnapped by the male lead character to the past to tend to their queen’s wound and make her live. Since medicines of today are unmatchable, she finally cures their queen and would be about to go back to her own era, when the King issues an order that she shouldn’t be allowed to go back. He would’ve realized her value by then.

And because our warrior here, who had captured the doctor and who couldn’t return her back, he’d promise her he’d somehow assist her in going back whenever the gate to their era opened. After this, the series shows us olden-day Korea – Goryeo.

And twenty two chapters or so later, in the end, the doctor (female MC) would’ve made up her mind to not go because she loved this warrior guy, but she needed a few doctor-ish tools to cure him. He’d be badly injured. So, when the gate opens, she’d leave her love dying, and run to the present era to grab her tools. But when she returns, the gate would lead her not to the era in which her love had been dying, but to an era even earlier… perhaps a century before where her love lived. Or rather… had been dying.

And what does she do? She waits till the gate opens again. After it does, after many years, she walks right in… and to the era where she was craving to be. And this is where the faith part comes in. Her love would be waiting for her… even after she had run away at his time of need… and this is why the story is named that way. Faith, indeed.

And if my friend gets to know that I wrote this, she’s going to kill me. Because this series is her most favourite one, and I have written it with just the teeny bit of enthusiasm that I could muster while thinking of this drama. She would’ve preferred something better, I know. She would want me to add a few sentences from that drama… she would’ve wanted me to write with extra passion… that’s how much she loves it.

Evolution of the Tamizh language

 Shivs photography - Tamil Script in Brahadeeshwarar temple.
Shivs photography – Tamil Script in Brahadeeshwarar temple.

Inspired by a line from a worried student’s recent post, I decided to write a blog post on ‘the origin of the language’, but later changed my mind… I finally decided to write about the Tamizh language instead, since this would be a rarely discussed topic.

Anglicization of the word ‘Tamizh’ has resulted in ‘Tamil’, because the letter ‘’ (‘zha’ is not even the correct spelling. It simply has no equivalent in any language that I know of…) is difficult for the non-Tamizhs to pronounce. Nowadays, it seems like the Tamilians themselves are not being able to pronounce it properly – my mother is a very good example. She pronounces it as ‘ya’ instead, just like a few people do. There’s no blaming her, anyway. She was raised in a completely different city, far away from where her parents’ hometown was. She never studied Tamil, even in her school. She took up Hindi and Telugu instead.

Alright… I seem to be going out of track.

It seems that Tamizh has evolved through three major stages: Old Tamizh (Tamizh Brahmi), Middle Tamizh, and the modern-day Tamizh.

Inscriptions of Old Tamizh in caves and pottery date back to the 3rd century BC. It was the only non-Sanskritized language back then… Pure, and full of itself, very much unlike the present-day form. It is said to have been evolved from the proto-Dravidian language that had been spoken millennia ago. This language must have been the origin of Tamizh. Tholkaapiyam seems to be the oldest work in Tamizh Literature, and its oldest parts were written in about 1st century AD.

Then came the Middle Tamizh (called Sen-Tamizh in Tamizh, meaning ‘superb or best’ Tamizh… pardon my translation, it’s very rough…) at around 8th century AD. Middle Tamizh underwent major transitions and was Sanskritized, hence the similarity with other languages in modern India. The Pallavas seem to be the reason for this transformation in the language. Most temples that have survived the millennium have inscriptions on them, and they must’ve been written in Middle Tamizh. I have tried to comprehend the letters and try to form words, but failed to do so. Many such inscriptions can be found in the Brahadeeshwarar temple, also called as the big temple, which had been constructed at around 1010 AD by the most revered king, Rajaraja Cholan, for constructing this fantabulous temple.

It seemed odd… I could almost figure out a few successive letters in the temple, but never understood their meaning when they were put in succession. I mean, there seemed to be no continuation, and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why the few letters that looked a bit like the modern ones would carry a different pronunciation. Maybe they did not, after all. I’m not a language analyst or whatever. Anyway, experts might be able to translate it out and find sense in it, so it doesn’t matter if I can’t understand those alien-ish yet familiar script. I’d like to learn to decode translate it, though.

Most temples that stand strong until now had been constructed when Middle Tamil prevailed. In Sen-Tamizh, the use of the letter ∴ had ceased, Wikipedia tells me. It’s funny, because even in modern Tamizh, when we learn the letters, this symbol is still found, but no one ever uses it… in Tamizh. That letter has recently found a use, and by putting it beside the letter ‘pa’ will make it ‘fa’. And this is needed because English has the letter ‘F’, and if an English word has to be written down in Tamizh. Because of the extended use of English in Tamizh Nadu, this letter is gaining popularity again because most of the shops put up even English words in Tamizh letters on their boards.

The modern Tamizh had evolved around the 17th century, and must be very much different from the proto-Dravidian language that it had originally evolved from. It has adapted itself to the English-type punctuations, which was not allowed in Old and Sen-Tamizh. And today, people in different districts of the state speak different dialects (that too, colloquially), mingled with English. And I’d probably be the worst of all, speaking a mixed language of colloquial Tamizh, English, Telugu, Hindi, Korean and a little bit of whatever language I learn whenever and ultimately calling it… ‘Tamizh’.

I actually make new words combining two languages. No one else except my mother can understand that. (Or maybe they could, if they knew both the languages that I use to create my new word)…

Alright, back to relevancy.

So… Modern Tamizh, I’d bet, is nowhere near the beautiful, independent language that it used to be. Though the language has undergone a lot of change, I doubt the script and the letter-structure had been completely modified. It seems that the Old Tamizh still has an influence on the modern-day Tamizh, because Tamizh script is different from the other languages. Hindi, Telugu and the others seem to have the same kind of letters, but Tamil has very few. It’s very unique. And I know this because I have learnt all three specified.

And Malayalam must have originated from/split from Tamizh, too, because it has a similar letters. And we must be thankful to the Pandiya and Chozha (Chola) dynasties for preserving and enriching the Tamizh culture and literature, and the Chera kings for doing the same to Malayalam.

But with the modern-day English craze, the ancient language of the Tamils that is sometimes even compared with Sanskrit will soon evolve into something else, and might also bring a few English and other words into its vocabulary.

Source: Wikipedia.