Puns are fun. There are many words having dual sense of meanings in Tulu like in other languages. One such proverb in Tulu is like this:
Bele danthina Aachari baaleda pinkan kettiye!
Freely translated it would mean: A jobless carpenter chiseled at the bums of baale.
The word baale is cited as such, since it is a pun. Baale in Tulu means (1) a kid (2) tail or end portion of a wooden boat. The word ‘baale’2 referring to the end part of the boat is akin to ‘baala’ or the tail as in Kannada.
The interpolation of the word ‘bums’ (‘pinkan’) in the proverb, is merely reflective of the rustic sense of humour of our people. And similarly, the reference to the professional, the Aachari is only incidental to the act and not of any disrespect for any community.
A jobless carpenter who could not sit idle simply, chipped the lower tail portion of the wooden boat absent-mindedly. The unwarranted work damaged the sensitive part of the boat and made it prone for sinking in the water.
It essentially means a person, indulging in unwanted, unproductive work without purpose. We can find similar shade of meaning in "Ee enchina kolambeda bela malpuniya?" .The Dictionary meaning of 'kolambe = a marshy land/field".
After years, the original meaning of the proverb cited at the beginning has been forgotten. Now it generally implies that the jobless carpenter chiseled at the bums of a kid.
*Content: Hosabettu Viswanath*
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