Short Summary of “What His Girl Friend Said to Her” A.K. Ramanujan

The theme of this poem is the herione waiting for her lover’s return. As in all the poems of aham literatures, the heroine as well as the hero are nameless and are by convention referred to as thalaivan and thalaivi. The heroine usually unburdens her mind by pouring out her feelings to her girl friend who is called thozhi in Tamil. Since the theme is patient waiting on the part of the heroine, the landscape has to be by convention, mullai, the forest.

1.1 Cassia trees: These are trees which usually flower at the break of the monsoons and are therefore associated with the arrival of the monsoons.

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2 gullible: The trees are gullible in the sense that they respond quickly to the untimely sprinkle of the rain, mistaking it for the real monsoon. They respond to it by putting forth flowers far ahead of the season. Should the heroine too be equally gullible and mindless? So asks her girl friend. To quote Ramanujan himself. “Trees have only one sense (touch) and mistake an untimely sprinkle for the real monsoon.” The woman should use her other senses, not make the same mistake.

1. 4 the desert: The desert or palai in aham poetry is usually as­sociated with long separation. There is perhaps a suggestion of uncertainty about the lover’s return but the girl friend counsels patience telling her that it is too early for his return.

1.11 long arrangements of flowers: This is not an instance of pa­thetic fallacy as may be supposed. The poet only draws parallels between the behaviour of the plant world and the world of the humans so that the impatience and impulsive­ness of the trees become the metaphor for those of the heroine.