Wall clocks with Tamil numerals showcase the beauty of the language


The clock with Tamil numerals

The clock with Tamil numerals
| Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Automobile engineer N Bhoopathi Raja is smitten by Tamil. He is constantly thinking of ways to showcase the beauty of the language to the world, and his wife’s business enterprise Venba Angadi is his tool. What started as a venture to source and sell unique gifts, has transformed into a store that focusses on products featuring Tamil letters and numerals.

His latest addition, is the Tamil numerals wall clock.

“I worked on this idea for 10 years before it became a reality,” says the Coimbatore-based 40-year-old, speaking about the clock. It features Tamil numerals from zero to nine, and comes in wooden and plastic variations. Bhoopathi wants to popularise the usage of Tamil numerals. “Other languages such as Marathi and Kannada use their own numerals; these are used even in Government buses in the respective states,” he points out, adding that this was the case in Tamil Nadu till the ‘90s.

Venga Angadi’s Valluvar pins

Venga Angadi’s Valluvar pins
| Photo Credit:
Special arrangement

“Once personal computers came in, we switched to Hindu-Arabic numerals since it was easier to enter into the system, and people found Tamil numerals confusing,” says Bhoopathi. He recalls the Tamil Internet Conference held in Chennai in February 1999. “It was after this conference that the layout for a Tamil keyboard was brought in, and numerals were included,” he adds.

Venba Angadi’s clock is an ode to these numerals, that he says, have remained the same for the last 100 years. “I hope the clock encourages children to learn Tamil numerals,” says Bhoopathi, who is father to two girls aged nine and five. Bhoopathi has employed the format that is now available on mobile phone operating systems. “This will make it easier for people to understand it,” he says, adding that he makes it a point to use Tamil numerals on his iPhone. “I bought my phone in 2013 and by default, it had Tamil numerals. I use them the way everyone else uses Hindu-Arabic numerals. To do so, all one has to do is change their phone’s language settings to Tamil.”

He is now working on a clock that features the Tamil uyirezhuthu. “This will make it easier for parents to teach children the Tamil alphabet,” he says. Venba Angadi was started in 2016, with the venture’s other popular product; a Tamil calendar that Bhoopathi is distributing for free at Government schools in Tamil Nadu. They also have the Thiruvalluvar-themed diary, Thiruvalluvar stickers and pins, customised Tamil name boards, and bamboo products with Tamil inscriptions.

Bhoopathi’s love for Tamil was instilled by his mother, who, he says, was a voracious reader. He adds: “Tamil is the language I think in. Everything that I do is in the hope that my daughters grow up with the same love for the language.”

For details, visit venbaangadi.com.

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