We lost our chief minister last night. Ms. Jayalalithaa has had her fair share of bouquets and brick bats, but she has my heart on two counts.
She broke the glass ceiling of Tamil Nadu politics and ascended multiple times to power in a state that revels in public misogyny. Her name calling has risen from “whore” to “Amma” (mother) in two decades – the side disturbance is that a woman needs the cloak of motherhood around her to be respected in these parts. Not many women can pull that off in a state like mine.
Being of “upper caste” by birth, she broke the caste bias and ascended to power in a state that, for nearly half a century, took anti-upper caste sentiments to unbelievable heights – anyone in my age group would know how difficult it was to secure admission into top colleges merely by virtue of being of the “upper caste”, despite scoring high. Her name calling has risen from “Pappathi” (derogatory term for a Brahmin lady) to “Amma”. Again, not many women can pull that off in a state like mine.
Yes, she was despotic, but she could not have done what she did, in a male dominated society that attempted to attack and possibly disrobe her in the assembly, but by being strong, unyielding and ruthless. Love her or hate her, she was an enigma, and I salute her for making us, women in Tamil Nadu, believe that we can.
Remember how I ended the previous post with “I hope there are no surprises this week”? The moment those words fell out of my fingers, they took on a life of their own. Awoke on Monday with the uncertainty of the civilian situation post cardiac arrest of above leader. The day was a bit messy, not as much physically, as mentally.
And to top it, my maid’s daughter chose to go into labor when the city was shutting down, and with arranging for her transport to hospital and what not, the rest of the day was a bit blurry. Happy to say that the woman delivered a baby girl (who, I suspect would be named after the chief minister who was on her way out at exactly that time), but the downside is that gobblefunkist is without a maid for the next week. No biggie. I love washing clothes and dishes (RIGHT !). The delivery and associated maid-leave was not really a surprise given that I was given notice 9 months ago when the girl got pregnant, but I was hoping she would deliver on a weekend.
Dare I hope for no more surprises?