the protests of the Tamil Film Industry for the struggle (any word of the English language seems very small to describe or even be an adjective for what they are undergoing) that the Tamils in Sri Lanka are going through was unsettling. Even if someone does not want to consider the fact that the people who are suffering are ones who speak the same language as the ones in Tamilnadu, just about a few hundred kilometers away, people are dying by the lakh. How can someone not feel the angst?
If you had watched, say Life is beautiful or Blood Diamond, the heaviness lingers long our hearts long after we come out of the theater, for just the picturization of what the people have suffered. Several people I know, stopped buying diamonds after watching Blood Diamond. Quite some time ago, while I was in school, there were people who came to inform us about the child labour in Sivakasi, right before Deepavali when I was in 6th Std. And after that, most of us quit buying crackers. Somehow, maybe it makes sense to say "catch them young" because the habit broke there. Just because it is a "shastram" to burst crackers, we buy just a pack of sparklers to burn off, and that one pack is split over Deepavali and Karthikai.
To listen to the spirited way the artistes spoke at the protest was extremely tough, because I cannot stomach a lot of things and to break down emotionally can be embarrassing for me. Everyone would say it is a publicity stunt. So I started to count. Multiply weird. And keep my emotions private and hold on until I got to the confines of my own home.
I belong to Paramakudi, Ramanathapuram. And have often heard several stories of the refugees landing up there. There was a time that Mom wanted to do something for them, go and meet them. They are people. But then, what can two women do? And fear of a lot of other things as well.
We have this gut-wrenching heart-wringing feeling when you hear/read about the suffering people are going through. There is something beyond politics, beyond borders, beyond a lot of things, that which is to just be a human being. To just identify and realize within yourself that it hurts to see someone suffer. This Deepavali was dismal to say the least. India and Sri Lanka are half an hour away by air. One end of this half hour, there would be fireworks up in the air, symbols of joy, while on the other end there are missiles, the symbols of destruction and despair. Half an hour and an ocean to make a huge difference. There was nothing to celebrate this Deepavali. And we did not.
As long as the Tamil Film Industry is concerned, it is common knowledge that this is a melting pot of people from all over India. And this is where you would find a Kannadiga, a Telugu, a Malayali, a Maharashtrian, everyone protesting for the cause of the Tamils suffering in Sri Lanka.
I was there at the protest and I was not allowed to leave before speaking... I was sure I did not want to speak, there were highly respected people on stage and I was probably the youngest there. I didn't think it was my place to speak at such an august assembly. I said so and just sang Oru Deivam Thanda Poove (at the behest of Sri Ramesh Kanna). In retrospect, as I descended the stairs that led up down the dais, I thought I should have sung Vellai Pookkal instead.
This is wishing for the chirp of beautiful birds, the zing of dewy air, misty mornings, beautiful lovely evenings, calm sleepy nights, magic of nature, happy faces, joy, happiness, brotherhood and above all, eternal peace for my brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles in Sri Lanka. Our prayers, personal regards and sentiments are with them.