Life & Style

Two outlets in Karamana agraharam are promoting the use of Sanskrit

Sakthi H at Hotel Annapoorna

Sakthi H at Hotel Annapoorna   | Photo Credit: S Gopakumar

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The agraharam has been working towards becoming a Sanskrit-speaking village

“Gosh! what language is this?”, went a post on my Facebook page, along with a signboard displaying the menu outside Hotel Annapoorna at Karamana agraharam. Shalyapoopam, mashavadakam and soopavadakam might baffle many but those familiar with Sanskrit will know that it is idli, uzhunnuvada and parippuvada, respectively.

The menu board at Hotel Annapoorna in Karamana agraharam with names of dishes written in Sanskrit and Malayalam

The menu board at Hotel Annapoorna in Karamana agraharam with names of dishes written in Sanskrit and Malayalam   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

At this no-frills hotel, the star attraction is a board with the names of dishes written in Sanskrit and the corresponding ones in Malayalam. Sample this: Chayam (chaya), Caffee (kaappi), Dadhivadakam (thairuvada), Vadakam (vada), Dosaa (dosa), Bharjaha (bajji), Bhooribhojanam (meals/shapaadu).

Sakthi H, owner Surya Narayana Iyer’s grandson, says that this is their way of contributing to the efforts that are on at the agraharam to make it a Sanskrit-speaking village.

Since 2018, the agraharam has been working towards this objective under the initiative of MH Sastrikal Smaraka Samskrita Padana Pracharana Kendram, which has been teaching Sanskrit to the residents of the agraharam and those interested in learning the language. “People of all ages are part of this movement and so I thought we should also pitch in. Even though it is considered the oldest and most systematic language, its significance has declined due to lack of patronage,” says Sakthi. He adds that staff members working at the hotel, which has completed 52 years, are slowly warming up to the idea.

Although a few customers were amused by his attempt, there were many who took photos and selfies. “It even became a hit on the Whatsapp group of hoteliers. Perhaps, the day is not far when a customer will ask for palanduvadakam instead of ullivada. That would be very interesting,” laughs Sakthi. The temporary board has now been replaced by a permanent one.

Suresh Raman Nair

Suresh Raman Nair   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Suresh Raman Nair, who runs Bharath Rice Market, a provision store at the agraharam, has Sanskrit names of 19 products displayed there on a signboard. So, soap becomes phenakam, toothpaste is danthaphenakam, sugar is sita and thandulaha is rice.

Sanskrit names of provisions on display at Bharat Rice Market at Karamana agraharam

Sanskrit names of provisions on display at Bharat Rice Market at Karamana agraharam   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

“Many are coming forward to learn the language. When such an interesting initiative is happening in the agraharam, I didn’t want to keep out of it. Initially, when I had put up hand-written slips, customers were curious about the products and some thought that we had stocked some new products,” says Suresh, adding that he is also learning Sanskrit as and when he can.

“Since it is not possible for me to attend the regular sessions at the agraharam, I have joined the Whatsapp group for the same,” he adds.

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Printable version | Dec 16, 2019 12:43:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/outlets-in-karamana-agraharam-are-promoting-the-use-of-sanskrit/article29785175.ece

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