Women of Steel

The year started off with perseverance and oozes of energy.

The story goes like this. Well, it’s not a story to begin with. I must say this, it was an eye opener for mortals like us who just get waned away with dwindled pleasures.

I met 2 women. Well, I can say they are well past their prime. In fact, prime was gone long time ago and here they were, smiling at me, with unsurmountable words of wisdom and a gentle swagger that defines their aura.

These young, old ladies are miracle women to our generation.

One is 97, the other is in the pink of health at 102.

Now, those are staggering numbers.

Age has always been a subject of enigma, distortion and privacy. Face it, we hate getting older. Every birthday is a kind reminder to your ageing lifeline. Yet, we flaunt it with our ego and prejudices. We don’t like being taunted, though.

They have a memory of a whale and the eye of a hawk. They remember everything, doesn’t matter who it is. Like-able or not, memories are still memories.

Memoirs of a 97 year old-

The name of second child of her third grandson, the last time she visited London, birthday dates of almost all family members and an eye for details. If guns were blazing, I would give it to her hands down.

The tale of a 102 year old-

She crossed borders in Rangoon during the war ravaged times, with her children in her arms. But she charms you with her diaspora of memories and faith in God. She had few suggestions for me – take care of your family and respect your parents, they are the reason for our existence and success today.

Words of wisdom these days come in from all quarters but this one was one of it’s kind.

Meeting both of them gives you utmost satisfaction for the very reason we live – to love life.

At this age, I would be sipping Coke in my grave!

Both of them have stark similarities.

They have been through the worst, understand and paved the way through life with limitations and tenacity. Most importantly, they have this insatiable urge to live. And, that is the sole reason for the magic they exude.

Ladies, you aren’t merely the Women we celebrate. You are the giants for generations to look up to and take pride in our tormented and illustrious legacy.

The Reluctant Princess

She was born and raised in a wealthy family. She ever had to worry about anything in life, literally. Born with a silver spoon and platinum cradle, all she had to wait for time to turn towards her path of glory. She had it all, precariously.

She had a penchant for charity and philanthropy at a very young age. She was extremely fond of children, the ailing poor and the differently abled. She had this uncanny ability to connect with people and the masses. Amidst all her flirtations and the gorgeous life she was blessed with, the human candor of one of its kind.

During her college days, she became an avid follower and participant of the charity works the college indulged in. In fact, she made it her own and was integral part of the socio economic genre. Not to forget, she was a brilliant student of academics and life.

In the final year of college, she fell in love with one of her professors and a member of the elite in the state. It was a whirlwind romance, and they got married immediately after. The marriage produced 3 children, and they were the most talked about couple in the town. Well, as it seemed to the naked eye.

The romance and the much adulated marriage turned sour in 5 years. Differences started creeping in their relationship. The professor was accused of infidelity, and she was guilty of neglecting her family values in pursuit of her greater vision. Neither could accomplish the trust and understanding between each other despite multiple attempts of reconciliation from both sides. He was distraught and digressing, she was adamant and falling apart. The marriage was dying. The kids were torn between their parents, and too young to understand the gravity of their parent’s miseries.

She multiplies her philanthropic assignments and starts staying away from home. Under immense scrutiny from friends and relatives, she disjoints herself from all emotional attachments. She however, stays in touch with her children and visits them as and when time permits. After 8 years of marriage and 3 children, their divorce gets finalized by mutual consent.

She moves to a different city, continues with her assignments and projects, visits her children and takes them to vacations. Her assignments and philanthropic work attain immortality as she gains widespread acclaim and adulation in the public eye. But happiness still eludes. She seems to be progressing towards her vision but feels a void inside – mentally and spiritually. She smiles for the people but the sorrow is exquisitely visible.

She starts going around with one of her partners and financiers. Initially friends at work, the relationship grows wherein both start thinking about their future, seriously. She is still not ready, but advances nevertheless. Her former husband and his family feel demolished by her decision. But she doesn’t care. In fact, they both stopped caring for each other years ago. Nothing of substance was left in their relationship.

On a vacation in a cruise with her new found ‘love’, she is trying to bask in the torched sunlight. They look happy with each other.

The same night, a sea cyclone hits their cruise. Badly hit, the cruise sinks. Both of them die in the aftermath, their bodies are recovered the next morning.

Her former husband learns of this accident and exclaims in a typical way. “Death chose her”.

He continues to live with his parents and children in his hometown. He is still wealthy, and owns large businesses in the state. He remains unmarried.

*Inspired by true events

When fear is pain

When he went through the ordeal around the same time last year and came out with a courageous smile, I saluted his tenacity and positivity. I was reassured. He has a long life ahead.

One year down the line, and today, I have been thinking hard. After this phone call, I sat and was sitting for a while. Is that it? A man has all the steel to live, but fate is disposing it all.

I fear losing people who are close to me. In fact, I am shit scared. All my notions and spectacular energy falls flat on my face as this fear is taking me apart. It is pain for him, probably more pain than you and me can ever imagine. But, for me, I am scared.

I still have faith. In God, in whoever and whatsoever that is supreme and all powerful and beyond human. Could be science, could be anything else. I don’t know. But I still believe he will sit upright, stand up and talk to me like he did for the last 17 years.

I don’t want to win battles. I want him to live.

Taramani – Redemption

A ‘run of the mill’ Tamil film is the usual order of the day, but for films like ‘Taramani’ who try to lend a magic hand beyond furnished boundaries.

Don’t literally sit on the title and wane about the correlation. I think correlation lies in the subject, not in the title. In fact, Harry Potter did not make any sense to me till my little sister and the more intelligent sibling taught me the ropes to understand the finer nuances of a novel and it’s biological adaptation.

Coming back to Taramani. Yes, the title has few connected dots to the name of the suburban railway station it is named after, but that’s it. It rather throws light on the vanity of our relationships we practice in our urban lives. Director Ram juggles, protrudes, yells and mingles the eccentricities of human nature. Needless to quip, our lives are a bi product of our desires and foolish needs. And our growing attitudes towards leading life and judging people around by dress rehearsals is another precarious feather in our pervert hat.

Losing love, procuring another one before losing it for sheer stupid reasons of male ego, treating a lady like a substance. ‘Taramani’ deals with sensitive ethos, few of them very real and very inconvenient to have a conversation on. For instance, seldom does a girl talk about her gay husband to an absolute stranger, even if the stranger happens to be overtly receptive. You can, but generally you won’t.

With a screechy script, relevant narration to some irrelevant depictions, some fresh cinematography and stellar performances from the lead actors, ‘Taramani’ is a watchable film.

But ‘Taramani’ tells me an important story – the railway station will live on forever, like our dreams, filth and caricatures.

Am I Home?

It is 1970. Civil War. The longest running and perhaps, the most ignominious in the history of human tragedies.

No war in the history of mankind has been kind. In fact, the ruthlessness lies in the aftermath, not in the ways of war.

In the wake of demands for a separate state, separate constitution and independence from the autocrats, innocent lives were lost and several rendered homeless. Thousands were displaced and we have never seen them again. I guess, we will never see them. But hopes don’t die, they are not meant to die. 

I have hopes too. I hope to see the light at the end of the unknown tunnel. I hope to see my family again. I want to see my daughter going to school again. I want my wife to wait for me when I return from work. I want my parents to feel proud that their son is doing well for himself in life. I want my siblings to visit us every week for dinner. I want the kids to play around in the garden. I want those moments back. I want to live those moments again. I want to live again.

As it stands today, we are separate souls in search of our soul mates. Our families are scattered or lost, our homes have been bombed, our workplace is a no-place now. Our industries are dead because we have no one to run them. Our economy doesn’t exist, or may be it does.

The war has ravaged our spirits, along with our land and its wealth. I feel I have lost my identity. I feel the credibility of being an accomplished is lost. I have the urge to live but how? I have the insatiable in me to survive but for who? Yes, the war is for us. But am losing grip over the factual representation of this calamity. Am I fighting an enemy in flesh and bones or am I battling my demons within? No sleep, but I have lost sanity.

Our city has turned in to an island of gaping quicksand. And with us, everything around is dying. Obscured death, if I can say what it is.

30 years later…

I am in Chester, UK. I own a convenience store, managed by me and my wife. My son is a freelancer and occasionally visits our store. My daughter is married to a British and they live in Liverpool.

Yes, I have a life. My family has been returned to me amidst chaos and catastrophe. In fact, I am one of the few who have emerged alive from the clutches of war and violence.

I feel, I have seen it all. But I am still not home. I know for a fact, I will never make it. 

There is no home, we have enclosures and we are breathing.

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