Ever since I was a boy, I have been singing a song called ‘Daivame Kaithozham’, which is pronounced ‘Dave-O-May Kie-Tho-Ram’. My parents taught it to me when I was about 5 years old, so I learned it by learning the syllables in the song. I know bits and pieces of Malayalam, but not enough to know what the words of the song mean. Whenever I’m feeling stressed, I sing it under my breath and it makes me feel better. Kavi wasn’t the best sleeper as a baby, so we spent a lot of time singing him back to sleep. Daivame Kaithozham was one of my standbys and he has heard it literally thousands of times. Even now, I sing it to him and Anika almost daily, though he has requested that I cut it down to weekly. (He likes Laurie Berkner’s “Moon, moon, moon” better. Oh well.) Both Anika and Kavi have heard it enough that they can mimic me singing it, though they don’t know the words… mostly just the rhythm. But, it’s the cutest thing in the world to see Anika pick up her doll, put it on the floor and start singing “Daivame…”
Anyway, I finally (after 30 something years) asked my parents what the song means, so here is the translation. I’m not the most religious person in the world, but if you replace God with whatever supernatural force you believe in, I think it’s a nice simple prayer.
Daivame kaithozham kelkumarakanam
Pavamamenne nee kakkumarakanam
Ninne jnanennume kanumarakanam
Nervazhikkenne nee kondupoyeedanam
Nervarum sankadam bhasmamayeedanam
Nalla karyangalil premamundakanam
Nalla vakkothuvan thraniyundakanam
Kruthyangal cheyyuvan sradhayundakanam
Satyam paranjeedan saktiyundakana
O’Almighty God my humble salutation, may you kindly listen to my prayers
May you always protect this poor innocent one from all my sufferings.
May my devotion to you flourish in my heart without any interruptions
May I always visualize your eternal divine form within and without.
O’ God lead me through the right path
Annihilate all obstructions facing me
And protect me from evil interactions
Provide me with serene and sober friends.
May I always impart compassion and love to all
O’ Lord provide me courage to talk only good words
May I be provided with the right convictions to do my duties
And give me your blessed strength to tell always the truth alone.