Anything Under the Sun
Monday, November 12, 2007
To Remarry or Not to Remarry - that is the Question.
I watched a short film in Tamil (only 30 minutes long) from the series Silla Nerangal which means "Sometimes". (Another story that touched my heart was about a crossed - eyed boy - which you can read about from my earlier post, The Perspective of an Outcast)
What I liked about the story is the direction and the way the story was relayed.
In a hall about 30 people are gathered together. An young man in mid 20s (I can't remember his name, so for convenience sake we'll call him Siva), is speaking in the mike to those who are present. He thanks his mom and explain to the others the hardship she has suffered. Thanks his younger sister for helping in the marriage arrangement, and his wife for her support.
Siva then mentions that his mother was unsatisfied with some arrangement in this marriage.
There is a flash back where the Mom is having dinner with a man ( I assume, the Father) and says "The kids have not consulted us regarding the wedding and have gone about doing as they please".
My first impression is that this was Siva's wedding and that he is not giving due respect to his parents. (Indians are very conservative as well as expect to be respected and consulted when it comes to wedding).
Another scene shows Siva and his girlfriend/wife ( I was not sure about the relationship at that time) choosing the wedding Invitations. Only 30 people are to be invited and some scenes of the parents inviting their close friends/employer are shown.
Next Siva's Sister is inviting her grandfather to the wedding. The mother is quietly sitting back as the grandfather speaks harsh words to show his disagreement to this wedding. "You are the eldest in this family and you should give your blessing" Siva's sister tells her grandfather and puts the invitation on the table, then she leaves off with her Mom.
Now for the true beginning of this story - "Why are you late Mom, Where have you been?" Siva asked his Mom.
"I've been out with a close friend" she replies.
"We have heard rumours - you are been seen going out with..." he stops.
"Well, go on. I've been seen going out with whom?" she asked him.
The mother than reveals that she now has a boyfriend. The children are upset and Siva accuses his mother of not being true to the memory of his dead father.
Only now is it revealed that the mom was widowed when she was only 30 years old and had worked very hard to support her 2 children for 14 long years. The son is now happily married and the daughter in a good position.
As with most family, especially a conservative family, this news (of the Mom having a boyfriend and wanting to remarry) is indigestible.
First her family members give her the silent treatment, next they threatened to move out. ( The sister too wants to move out) leaving her mother to choose between her family or boyfriend.
Of course, she chooses her family over her boyfriend and explains the situation to him.
When Siva threatens to move out - the Mom explains that she will not marry without their blessing and would not give up her children.
She then takes out a letter written by her late husband and hands it over to Siva, saying that this letter will explain that she is not disloyal to his late father. (Although I do not like such a pat answer with a ready letter that helps to change the children's mind, I can understand that the director has only 30 minutes to finish up this story).
In the letter, Siva's father explains that he had always loved his wife, and though she had not shown any interest in marrying him, but had only agreed because the marriage was arranged by her father, she had been the best wife any man would be lucky to have for the past 10 years.
He then stated that he trusts her to bring up their kids well. But his only concern is that she should not wallow in memories and suffer a lonely life. He hoped that she would find a man to love and be happy with.
True love means that you should be unselfish and rejoice that your loved one has found happiness again.
When Siva rounds up his speech and ask the bride and groom to the stage, the grandfather at last joins in to give his blessing.
This story has touched my heart because being a single mother could not have been easy. Her willingness to give up her lover for her children shows us how unselfish a mother is.
The scene that I really like ( A typical Indian scene) - The grandfather will mention that what her daughter wishes to do (Remarry) is disgraceful, since she has a daughter of marriageable age and that his grand daughter's life would be spoiled (meaning, they will not be able to find a groom for her) and that he will be the laughing stock among his friends and relatives.
Although, this is the 21st century, remarriage is still a taboo, when it comes to women and especially, older women.
The "Society" still has double standards when it comes to man and woman.
I remember, when one of my cousin's wife passed away, on the 40th day ( when there were some prayers held) they were already talking about getting him remarried. (The reason suggested was that he had 3 kids, the youngest being only 8 years old as such a mother's care was needed). After a few years, this cousin did remarry, although the stepmother has in no way helped to take care of the children.
However, when the husband of my relative passed away leaving 2 young children aged 2 and 4, not a whisper of remarriage was spoken. In fact, I remember that her mother in law told her that if she were to remarry, then she had to hand over her 2 children to her in laws. Till today, she is still a single mother struggling to bring up her daughters on her own.