Adages, aphorisms, maxims and proverbs are short pithy, catchy utterances. Alexander Pope’s poetic witticisms, La Rochefocauld’s Maxims are different kinds of sayings. All these are stylistically crisp or eminently thought provoking. Proverbs are unique in that they open windows on the culture of a speech community. Regional variations apart, they are understood and appreciated in the larger language community. The sayings are witty, telling and appropriate to the context in conversation or an informal written discourse. These are products of observation and analysis with incisive insights into human reality. And then they are unique to the culture from which they have come.
Defining a proverb is as difficult as defining poetry. Any definer of proverbs would only betray his narrowness for these defy constriction in any circumscribing effort. It is simply not possible to include all the different qualities of these expressive devices. We must finally say wringing hands in despair that a proverb is what a proverb does. When in an expansive mood we can say that proverbs are perceptions as varied as men (or, women for that matter) and nothing is unsuitable to form the basis of a proverb. These are products of a language region and everything that is seen or heard could provide an occasion for the making of a telling, apposite proverb. Telugu language region abounds in villages, hamlets and ‘satellite villages’ in the present day scenario. They represent a stance of the ‘sayer’, ‘flinger’, ‘shooter’, ‘piercer’ or what you will of the utterance. A quick example is this: taaTichetTTu needa, which is both an idiom and a proverb too. The shade of the tall palm tree is useful neither to itself nor for the wayfarer in the hot sun. This is camel while speaking of a singularly unhelpful person. The palm has given occasion to other utterances too. TaaTi cheTtu kinda paalutaagina.. Even if one drinks milk under the palm tree one is considered drinking palm ale, an intoxicant only. Then drinking intoxicants is not ‘respectable’ at all. An then there is this: taaTicheTTu ekkEvadiki entavaraku egadoyaDam? How much can one push a man trying to climb the palm tree?
There are people who have a way of exaggerating things, or making habitual overstatement (considered an Indian habit opposed to the British under statement). One comes up with the utterance golconDa miriyaaly thaaTi kaayalantEsi. The person alluded to says that pepper seeds in Golconda (name of a place) are as big as palm nuts.
Many proverbs bring in animals to provide humour and sometimes a sly sting. andaaniki nEnu; raagaaniki maaa appa This is purported to be uttered by a camel. Me for beauty and for voice and song my elder sister: the donkey. The camel is not the crown of beauty and the donkey the doyen of music.
Though I believe that uttering or poking proverbs is the habit among the now fast disappearing leisurely middle class, among the rural folk also the habit prevails. My mother coming from a remote village near the coast used to poke this: vaadana lEka olluru velutanna, vaaDakaTTanunna yaarala laaraa vaakili padilam. Ettara gampaa, dinchura kayyam. Translated roughly the woman tells her neighbours: “Since there is no altercation/ argument here I am on my way to Olluru. Co-daughters-in-law (or, even co-wives), take care of my threshold.” The woman is going to another village for lack of an engaging argument /quarrel there and asks other women to keep an eye (be watchful) of her front yard or entrance of the house. So saying she asked somebody to lift the basket to her head. Pat came the result when they said get it (a quarrel) down. Though good neighbourliness is the rule there are belligerent exceptions too.
Certain very common names of vegetables are brought into proverbs. Here is an illustration: kandaku lEni durada bachchaliki. Why should the leafy vegetable bachchali (spinach) feel the itchiness that the Elephant’s Foot does not have. This is flung when the targeted one keeps silent someone else takes offence for something said or done. Agricultural implements like the sickle is brought in at times. KoDavaleeki suugulEdu, koyyi koora kee sigguLedu. This is said of two who always quarrel again and again. VistarnTa, also called vistaraaku is a ‘leaf’ plate off which people have their meal.
There are some proverbs making use of the word: visranTa morree samsaaram morree tertcha lEmu. It is impossible to fill the gaps (while ‘stitching’ the leaves together gaps persist in the leaf plate and the household. There is always shortage of something in the common man’s household. There is another veeramma peTTuki vistaraaku Ela? Why a leaf plate for what Veeramma ( a woman not very generous) gives ( in charity, perhaps). There are some proverbs where the word kunda is used. An ordinary clay baked pot, it is used as a symbol of the human body also in spiritual discourse. Kunda baddalu koTTinaTTu refers to a statement made pointblank with no mincing of words. Simple household contraption like rOlu, rOkali are also used in sayings, which are recognized as proverbs.
Familiarity with the language to the extent of the three“r”s would not be enough to appreciate the use of a proverb or use it in an appropriate context. It needs a deep understanding of the culture. Some proverbs have similar ones in other languages. For example the idiom/proverb pogalOninchi sega lOki – from smoke into (the heat of) fire is similar to from the frying pan into the fire.
Any attempt at classifying proverbs would be as fruitful as trying to define them. Proverbs are products native to a given language. Some are spicy and enrich the persuasiveness or effectiveness of the speaker. Some have universal appeal as in: obedience of children: aDDalalO biDDalu kaano gEddalochchaka biDDala? While n the lap, kids, but they growing beards are they so? The implication is that they are not not to be expected to be obedient or loving as when they are kids. moppavachchu kaani tippalEmu suggests that it is easy to familiarize one of something , or teach, or do something but it is not easy to turn one away from that. If you make a beggar accustomed to be given alms, it would be quite a job to turn him out without giving alms. If a child is given to be pampered, it would be an uphill task to wean him out of that. There is another, which has a similar import: you can plant something but plucking it away may not be found as easy. VEstE vEpakomma, ttestE ammavaaru. When it is planted it is a neem plant. But you cannot pluck it away at will; it is a goddess. The neem tree is believed to be goddess by the rural folk.
The following are some broad heads into which proverbs could possibly be grouped:
i. those dealing with human nature
ii. those with social aspect of living and life styles
iii. those relating to matters ethical
iv. those dealing with inter family relations
v. those revealing insights into public life
For Telugus themselves there is no guarantee that all the proverbs in the language are understood automatically. With changing times, changing life styles, community living and family set ups, the younger generations and those mostly living in places far way from Andhra Pradesh and the diaspora may find themselves out of depth when confronted with these.
The proverb bataka lEka baDi pantulu may seem odd. Literally unable to live (making a living, one becomes) a schoolteacher. BaDi usually is an elementary or primary school where in those days of distant past teaching did not require any prior training for a teacher, This we can call a ‘period piece’ among proverbs which demands setting up a category for itself.
Some proverbs gently pull the leg of people who have kinks in character. For a man who is showy and pretentious with no wherewithal this is flung: ambali taagE vaaDiki meesaalettE vaDokaDu. For the one slurping gruel, another to lift his moustache (to facilitate ingestion).
For the literary translator rendering these into an outside culture poses tricky and intriguing challenges, which call for his ingenuity to meet successfully. Long explanatory notes would be needed. But for a reader they are a drag whether embedded in the text or printed to Suit Style sheets. (For example the idiomatic expression kukka muriki in Telugu signifies plantifulness in availability or ubiquitous presence and may be a dime a dozen could be a similar idiom in American English. Surprisingly the two words in the idiom mean literally kukka – dog and muriki - dirt). More surprisingly in English they say dirt-cheap. Perhaps in both languages dirt is something that is found everywhere. Relevance to the present-day is largely a matter of opinion.
In Telugu proverbs are used extensively in conversation. Usually as one grows older, the tendency to bring in proverbs becomes more and more marked. They are used as brilliant stylistic flourishes to drive home a point or even to start a discourse. Thinking of apposite proverbs and proper places to use them in come with experience. To listen to good proverbs with very accurate and expert use, one must listen to actual conversations among the old people, people with a good deal of intimacy with experience in life and knowledge of men and matters. They hit the nail upon the head and go home to men’s business and bosoms. They enrich the command over language. Here are a few Telugu proverbs in Roman script followed by their English rendering and a brief explanation.
piTTa pOroo piTTa pOroo pilli teerchindi
The quarrel between two birds resolved by the cat - by eating those two. This is uttered when two quarrel by way of cautioning them.
rolu vachchi maddela ku cheppukunnaTTu
The pounding device pounded from above complaining to the drum beaten on both sides.
The drum is the worse affected and the rOlu telling her woes to the drum is ineffectual and ridiculous
A cloth in which asafetida is packed. A person (though not very worthy) descending from or closely associated with one famous or great has some traces of that person or his family in him.
rOtilO tala doorchi rokali pOtuku vearavadamu
Putting one’s head in the pounding device, a stone with a deep dent hole in it, and getting fright of a blow. For the one having done that there is no use fearing the consequence.
danchinammaki bukkindE kooli
For the woman who does the pounding what she eats while working is the wages.
The implication is that the wages do not come to much..
aaru nelalu saavaasam chEstEe vaaru veeru avuthaaru.
Six months company interchanges the two. Being together makes one absorb the ideas of the other to the extent that there appears total transformation in both. This is usually when the change is not for the better.
antya nishtooram kantTe aadi nishTooram mElu
Better to get the blame (for an action or for help asked) before than later.
Usually the person who does a good turn is not really thanked for; or his help is appreciated.
aadi lOnE hamsa paadhu.
An insertion at the very beginning of writing. Usually said when there is a hurdle, gap or break in the very beginning. Hamsaapaadu is mark of insertion while making a correction in writing.
aakali ruchi yeragadu, nidhra sukham yeragadu.
Hunger does not know taste and sleep no comfort.
When a person is very hungry any thing tastes good; when very sleepy one does not require the usual comfort he looks for.
aalasyam amrutham visham.
Delay turns nectar into poison. Opportunity unused becomes harmful. One should not delay.
aalu lEedu, choolu lEdu, koduku pEeru sOmalingam.
No wife and no pregnancy but the child’s name is decided as Somalingam.
Indicates absurdity in wildly expecting something to be accomplished.
aarae deepaaniki velugu yekkuva.
The lamp about to go out gives sudden brilliance.
There is a saying chaavu telivi: that before death one gets brilliant idea(s).
aggi meeda guggilam
Incense on fire Usually said when a person already angry is further provoked.
Good health is great fortune
abyaasam koosu vidya.
Koosu is an obscure word. Perhaps the meaning is that practice is child’s learning.
aDagandE ammainaa peTTadu.
Without being asked even a mother wouldn’t give. Without asking, help wouldn’t be forthcoming.
adigE vaaDiki cheppEvaaDu lOkuva.
For the one who asks the one who answers is one to be looked down upon.
E enDaku aa goDugu.
An umbrella to suit the sun’s heat. This is used for one who adjusts himself to the situation. Adaptability is the quality suggested.
aishwaryam vastE artha raathri goDgu paTTmanEvaaDu
One gone new rich man demands an umbrella to be held above him even in the night.
The idea is that he expects and demands unreasonable with his riches going to his head.
anditE siga andaka pothE kaallu.
This is said of one who changes tactic: to go for the head or fall at the feet of a person.
angatlO annee unnaa, alluDi notlO shani
Though there is everything in the shop, there is ill luck in the son-in-law’s mouth.
The context perhaps is this: a father-in-law takes his (newly married) son-in-law to buy anything he wants. The young man doesn’t ask for anything since Shani was in his mouth. Shani is supposed to be “bad” deity.
antaa mana manchkE
Everything is for our good only. Normally used in comforting someone. Acceptance is a positive attitude.
aasha laavu peeka sannam
This is usually said of a greedy person. Desire is thick but the throat (peeka is literally neck) is thin (narrow) Refers to the act of swallowing.
annapu choravEe gaani aksharapu chorava lEdu.
Assertiveness in eating but not in education. Spoken of a person who is more after food than being strong in learning.
appu chEsi pappu kooDu.
Eating well enjoying comforts on borrowed money. Borrowing used to be viewed a bad quality in the past. People, now under alien influence, want to live on their future income
Appu teerchi angatanunDu’
Only after clearing dues visit the shop. A word of advice.
bathikuntE balusaaku thinavachhu.
If alive, one can subsist even on leaves. The implication is that to be alive is important.
bellam koTTina raayilaa.
Refers to a person unmoved, unaffected. (like a stone that gud,or jaggary is beaten with, sticky).
Bhakti lEni pooja patri chEtu.
Worship without devotion is a waste of leaves, A deity is worshipped, among other things, with patri, leaves.
booDidalO pOsina panneeru.
An effort totally wasted: Literally perfume thrown into ash.
BOdi talaku mokaalikee muDi
Literally, making a knot between the shaven head and the knee. This is used to speak of a way trying to bring together two disparate things for persuasion. When an attempt is made, the listener understands the absurdity.
chaapa kinda neerulaa
Refers to something done unobtrusively, secretly, literally like water creeping under a mat.
chachhinavaani kanDlu chaareDesi.
The eyes of one dead are large. The implication is that the dead one is praised beyond deserts.
chadhuvavEsthE unnamati poyinadi.
Sent to learn, the earlier mind, ability to think is gone. The implication is that while trying to learn one has lost his earlier intelligence. Studies have not done him any good.
Don’t try to corrupt, you’d end up in bad ways. Usually a word of caution not to do ill.
chEtulu kaalinaaka aakulu paTTukunnaTlu.
Holding leaves after the fingers are burnt. Usually a vessel on fire is brought down the fire with leaves between fingers for protection. The proverb refers to action taken after something harmful had already happened.
cheviTi vaaDi chevilo sankham oodhinaTlu.
Literally blowing a conch in the ears of the deaf. Referring to making a complaint to someone, who does not act on it.
chiviki chiviki gaalivaana ayinatlu.
Literally like drizzles becoming a cyclone. Usually a mere altercation may lead to a battle etc.
Don’t corrupt: you would end up in ruin. Usually a caution not to spoil a person.
Dabbuku lokam daasoham.
The world becomes a slave to money. Said usually playing up the power of money.
dEvudu varam ichhina poojaari varam ivvadu.
Though god gives a boon the priest doesn’t. Referring to the inaction of a subordinate.
daridruDi pelliki vaDagalla vaana.
For the wedding of an impecunious man a hailstorm. Reference to an unfortunate person’s bad luck.
DeepamunnapuDe illu chakka beTTkOvaali
While there is a lamp one must set the house in order. Feather the nest also. While there is opportunity one must do things for the family.
deyyaalu vEdaalu palikinaTTu.
Devils uttering the Vedas. Similar to the devil quoting the scripture.
dongaku thElu kuttinattlu.
Like a scorpion bitten thief. Referring to some criminal who cannot even complain
doorapu kondalu nunupu.
Distant mountains appear smooth. People or things appear kind or easy from a distance.
duraasa dukhkhamunaku cherchu
Greed lands one in grief. The last word if uttered as chEtu does not make sense now.
Evaru theesukunna gothilo vaarae paDathaaru.
The one who digs a pit to harm someone falls into it himself.
gaajula baeramu bhojanaananiki sari.
The sale proceeds of bangles are just enough to buying food. Reference to an unprofitable enterprise.
gOrtanta deepam konDanta velugu
The wick the size of nail (nail pare) radiance the size of a hill. This is said that even a small lamp gives a glorious radiance
gOru chuttu meeda roakali potu.
The blow of a wooden pestle on a whitlow infected nail. Figuratively a severe blow of misfortune on some already suffering.
.guDDi lO mella
Figuratively a slightly better position since a squint is better than being blind.
guddu vachhi pillanu vekkirinchinatlu.
Literally an egg heckling the young bird. An inexperienced man ridiculing an elder one.
guDini, guDilo linganni, mingEvaaDu.
A cheat, literally one who swallows the temple as well as the deity inside.
Gurivinda ginja does not know the black beneath it.
What is said of is a seed with polished red and black beneath. The one boasts does not know of his failings.
gurramu gruDDi dainaa, daanaalo thakkuva lEdhu.
Though blind the horse does not eat less. Reference to a person with no earning.
inti paeru kasturivaaru; intilo gabbilaala kampu
illu alakagaanE pandaga?
With mere dung wash of the flow there would be no festival. On festival eve the earthen floors are given a dung wash. But there must be several others done for the festival. The practice is extant in villages.
kasturi is musk that smells like a perfume. The surname is Kasturi but the house has stench of bats. The reference is to the lack of correspondence between name and quality. (No offence intended to those with the surname still extant in several families.)
kaTTe vanka poyyi teerustundi
The fire straightens the curvature in the faggot. Force or strategy removes angularities.
One should know the joint and brand it. (There used to be scorching or branding Literally as a therapeutic procedure.) This means you should identify the problem and take appropriate steps to solve it. In other words, you have to know the sensitive spot and work on it for your success.
KonTE korivi ammitE adivi
To buy is like a torch aflame: to sell a wilderness. Reference to the price one gets and one has to pay while buying and selling.
inTikanna guDi badhramu.
A temple is safer than the house. This is said when one’s place of work or stay elsewhere is better than living in his own house.
jogi-jogi raajukunte raalEdi booDidE.
If two ascetics jostle each other only ash falls. The import is that when two poor, ineffectual people join there could be no success in the enterprise..
kaasina cheTTukE raaLLa debbalu.
Only the tree that bears fruit gets stone blows. Only those who help have to bear the brunt of seekers.
kaaki pilla kaakiki muddu.
For the crow its young one is the loveliest. Suggestion is that for the parents the ugly child is not ugly but very lovable.
kaalam kalisi raaka pothE, karrEe paamai kaatu vEsthundhi.
If time is not favourable the very staff becomes a snake and bites. Adverse circumstances
Make matters worse when the times are not favourable.
kalasi vunTe kaladu sukham
Living in unity gives joy. Joint families are the most comfortable and so the
best,.perhaps even today.
Kalimi lEmulu kaavaDi kundalu
Affluence and poverty are like two pots slung on the bamboo pole to carry on the
shoulder. One who carries the pole has to carry both the pots.
kalisi vacchE kaalam vasthE, nadichi vacchE koduku puDathaaDu
When times are favourable a walking son would be born. A son is considered to be a fortune in our olden days.
kanchE chEnu mEsindi.
The fence ate the crop. This proverb is flung when the law-enforcing officer demands and gets bribes.
kandhaku kaththi peeta lOkuva.
Elephant Foot (a vegetable) looks down upon the chopping knife. This is said of a powerful person who makes light of a poor person.
karavamantE kappaku kOpam, vidavamantE paamuku kOpam.
If asked to bite the frog would be angry, if asked to let go the snake would be angry.
This is said when two disputing parties are to be offered wise counsel.
This is a suggestion: one should think of the harm first and then only of the good that may ensue. A safe way in considering the pros and cons.
kondallae vacchina aapadha kooda manchuvalae kariginaTTu.
A way of saying that a danger would be staved off. Danger coming l9ke a mountain would melt as ice.
kondanu thovvi aelukanu pattinatlu.
It is like digging up a mountain to catch a mouse. A worthless endeavour considering what is obtained by the effort.
kooTi kosam koTi vidyalu.
Learning skills to make a livelihood are many. Ten million are the attainments to get food.
KooTiki pEdaithE kulaaniki pEdaa ?
If poor to get food, does it mean that one is a low caste? One may be poor but need not be of a low caste.
korivitho tala gokkunnaTlu.
Literally scratching the head with the burning torch. Doing something dangerous.
Kotta oka vintha-paat oka rOta
The new is a wonder, the old detestable. This is a way of saying. that novelty is attractive
kukka kaatuku cheppu debba
A slap with a chappal for dog bite. Figuratively it is an act of retaliation. Tit for tat.
Fasting is a super drug. When asking to go on fast for curing an ailment.
loguttu perumaaLLaku eruka
Only god knows the inner secret. This proverb is flung when one does not know the inside (secret) story.
Manchamunnantha varaku kaallu chaachukho
Stretch the legs till the cot permits. A piece of advice to adjust with available things.
manishi pEdha ayithE maaTaku paEdaa?
Does it mean that being poor one should be poor in his heart also? One may have a big heart.
minga methuku lEdu meesaalaki sampenga noone
This is said when one does not live within one’s means. Literally, no food to eat but for the moustache perfumed oil.
mokkai vonganidhi maanai vongunaa.
If not bent as a plant would it bend when it grows into a tree? Advice to mend one’s ways when young.
morigE kukka karavadu.
A dog that barks does not bite. Said that a shouting man does not harm really.
mundhuku potE goyyi-venukaku potE nuyyi
A pit ahead and a pit behind. Said when both going forward and backward are risky.
munjaeti kankaNamuku addamu yenduku?
Why a mirror to see the bracelet on the wrist? Said when a thing is self-ecident.
navvu naalugu vidhaala chEtu.
Laughter is harmful in four (many )ways. This is said when one laughs unnecessarily o too much.
nijam nippu laantidi
Truth is like fire. To say that truth cannot be concealed or suppressed.
nindu kunda tonakadu
A pot full wouldn’t spill. The virtuous one would remain silent, wouldn’t make a show.
Nippu lEnidE pogaraadu
No smoke without fire. Unless there is some reason there is no suspicion, or talk.
nippu muttanidee chEyi kaaladu
Without touching, fire wouldn’t scorch. Meaning that doing a harmful thing only is harmful.
Oka voralO rendu kattulu imaDavu.
Two swords wouldn’t fit together in a scabbard.
ooru pommandi kaaDu rammandi
Said of old age. Literally the village asks to leave and the cremation ground welcomes.
pOru nashtham ponDu laabham
Quarrel leads to loss and friendship to gain. Sage advice to keep friendly.
Literally a little stick in a sweat drink. Said of an interfering hindrance.
paapamani paatha cheera istE goDa chaatuku velli moora vEsindaTa.
A saree given in charity is measured for length in secret by a woman. Indecent or indiscreet thing like looking a gift horse in the mouth.
pachcha kaamerla vachchina vaadiki lokam anthaa pachchagaa kanapadinaTlu
A man with liver disease has yellow eyes. For yellow eyes every thing looks yellow. This is said of a suspicious or prejudiced person.
parigeTTiutoo paalu taagae kantE nilabadi neeLLu thaagaDam mElu.
Better to drink water standing than drinking milk while running. This is said when one is in a hurry to make money or to get success.
peLLiki veLuthoo pillini chankana peTTuku veLLinaTTu.
Taking a cat along while going to a wedding. Said for doing something inauspicious.
pEnuku pettanamiste tala anta korikindata
This is said of an unworthy person doing something wrong when given a responsibility. L Lice, if entrusted with responsibility, does what it knows to do: it bites into the scalp
pichhoDi chaetulO raayila.
Literally, a stone in a mad man’s hand. This is said of an unpredictable action from a man entrusted with responsibility.
pichhuka meedha brahmaastramu.
Literally, using brahmastra (a powerful incantation to destroy) on a swallow. Using a very powerful weapon against a small person. Unnecessary use of a very strong force.
pilliki chelagaatamu, yaelukakau praana sankatamu.
For the cat, fanciful play and for the mouse, mortal fear. This is said when the powerful and the weak are involved in a squabble.
pindi koddee roTTi
Literally, the cake according to the dough. Said when one has to be content with what could be done.
pitta konchemu kootha ghanamu
Little bird loud cry. This is said when a small one speaks big words.
peruguTa viruguTa korakE
To grow is only to break This is said when grows very powerful unjustly.
punyam koddhi purushudu, daanam koddhi biddalu.
This is said of a fortunate woman. Husband according to merit and children according to one’s charity.
purrelO puttina buddhi pudakalathOnE potundi
The will, intention or desire born in the skull goes away only with the funeral fire. This is said of the unchangefulness of one’s wickedness.
rameshwaram vellina senaeswaram vadhalanaTlu.
Even when gone to Rameswaram, freedom from Shani is not to be. Said when bad luck follows one wherever he goes. Rameswaram is a place of pilgrimage. Shani is a deity supposed to be a harmful.
roTTi virigi nEthilO paDDaTTu
A luck thing happening occasions this saying. Cake breaking only to fall in clarified butter.
routhu koddhee gurramu
Literally, horse as per the rider. This is said to suggest the worker works so as to suit the master.
santhoshamae sagam balam.
Being joyful is half one’s strength. This is flung to suggest that one should be joyful, especially in unfavourable circumstances.
Sivuni aagna laekha cheemaina kuttadhu.
Every thing happens according to the Lord’s will: even an ant does not bite without His order. This is said to reiterate the potency of God and His will.
thagilinchi tamaaashaa chooDaDam
This is said of an act sowing dissension that is provoked only for the fun of it
taa chedda koti vanamaella cherachindaTa
A monkey spoilt spoiling the whole wood. This is said of one already spoilt spoils all around.
TaaDi thannu vaani thala thannu vaaDu unDunu.
There would be one who could kick the head of the one who kicks the top of a tall palm tree. This is said to tell the aspiring that there always would be people who are of superior abilities.
taanu paTTina kundEluku mooDe kaaLLlu.
Said of a wrong-headed, stubborn person. For the hare he had caught there are only three legs. Note the absurdity of the statement.
taaTaaku chappuLLaku kundEellu bedurunaa?
The implication is that hares wouldn’t be frightened by the noise of palm leaves. This is said that strong men are not easily shaken by the unworthy.
taathaku daggulu nErpuTa
Literally teaching the grandfather to cough. This is said to suggest that the old don’t need telling how to go about doing things. Coughing is natural for the old. No need to e taught. Attempting to teach is an absurd act.
thantE gaarela buTTalo paDDaTu
This is to suggest that a kick landed one in a basket of cookies When some harm is intended to one, the person get benefitted by that very pleasantly.
Theega laagithae donka anthaa kadhilinatlu.
Pull at a creeper: the whole bush is moved. This is to suggest that if a a small thing is
Disturbed, it leads to a lot of movement causing disturbance.
Thinaga thinaga gaarelu chEdu
Literally, even cookies taste bitter if you eat very many. The suggestion is that too much of a good thing does not taste good for long.
Thinte gaarelu thinaali, vinte bhaaratam vinaali
A typical Telugu saying describing a typical Telugu taste. If you want to eat the tastiest, one has to eat gaare, a cookie made of black gram dal and if you want to listen to the best you have to listen to Mahabharat read out.
vaapunu choosi balamu anukunnadata.
She thought it was growth seeing an inflammation. Inflammation is not growth. This A saying asks us to be wise in judgement even after seeing.
Unna maaTanTe ulukekkuva
If truth is said there is surprise/offence taken. Saying the truth angers.
verri veyyi vidhaalu
This is said of a person’s odd behaviour. Madness takes a thousand forms.
eddu pundu kaakiki muddu /muddaa?
Literally an ox’s ulcer is dear to a crow. This is said of the happiness of a suffering man’s enemy. If in the interrogative muddaa, it signifies that one doesn’t care for another’s pain.