Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My Adieu to the Leader

Clad in her favorite green sari she was laid to rest in peace. Her face looked all pale but she seemed as though she was calm and confident even about her last journey.

While I believe that charisma and transformational leaderships are two different and broader aspects of leaderships style what this woman has achieved seems phenomenal as she was a superlative leader demonstrating both styles. This seems evident from the fact that ‘amma canteens’ were open even on the day of the cremation of their magnanimous leader.

Her demise has made me reassess what has made me a staunch admirer of this audacious spearhead. Was it her political knack or her sparkling screen presence in over 140 evergreen films? It’s neither of them for me for I believe she has many more shades that have added to her radiances than her much gabbed roles as a Politician or as an actress.

Some years back I watched an interview in a talk show “rendezvous with Simi Garewal”
Where the iron lady admitted that she was dominated for one thirds of her life by her mother and another one third by Dr.MGR. To choose acting as a career was foisted upon by her mother owing to financial troubles and then hurled into politics by her mentor Dr.MGR.
These were not careers she desired to be in.However she managed to become proficient and successful in both these careers that she was hemmed into.

When she was asked why she chose to remain in it when she didn’t have her heart in it? Her reply was that whether it is something she likes or not, all she knows is she has to be superlative in what she gives back to these professions. This answer was exactly which drew me towards her.

As youngsters we are given a lot of choices these days, be it careers or life choices, unfortunately most of us grumble about how life has been uncannily cruel in giving us bad choices or how fate has screwed our lives. What if we all for a moment adopted her perspective towards life – ‘to try to be successful at whatever life throws at us?’

Living in social media age we all are humiliated or depressed when our picture has not gained enough likes or when your status on facebook is mocked upon.
This woman endured a humiliation of a worst kind when she was brutally attacked and molested by the ruling party members on March 25th, 1989 inside the Tamil Nadu Assembly and pledged that she would return back as the chief minister of the state. And she insanely achieved this not just once but six times since then.

Living abroad for several years now, I get deeply saddened everytime someone addresses India as a country dominated by men and how brutally women are raped in our country. But when she said “Most men are terrified of me’, followed by with a vicious laugh in one of her interviews, it made me feel proud that I was sharing the world where she was, proud to belong to a country where this impetuously bold woman existed.
All her party men touch her feet and treat her like a queen. She achieved this not by bowing down but by being forthright and appearing tough.

This is something we all women have to try to embrace from this departed leader. The moment we are seen vulnerable we are preyed upon by people who have beastly thoughts.
Audacity, cognitive decision making skills and the spirit to never give up are the qualities that have made this self-made politician and a tall leader with a purpose.

I have always wondered if she was consciously attempting to appear tough in several occasions where women generally break down.I was amazed at the way she confronted Karan Thappar and left him speechless when she was asked a lot of humiliating questions. To me she is a highly emotional and sensitive person behind this image of being tough with which she has successfully managed to shield herself with. She endured whatever came her way with fortitude.

Maybe she was actually this little girl at heart, who just wanted to hold on to her mother sari while sleeping like she did when she was a kid or a dreamy teenager who believes that one day she will be snatched away by her prince into a world of unconditional love. Maybe all she wanted was a simple life as a housewife and have kids.
But life threw her back an awful lot which she never expected and she accepted them with grace and transformed herself to face the inevitable challenges that came her way.

Her closing words during this talk show with Simi Garewal were “When I say goodbye to Politics, I will be free“. She looked rested when she was laid in her coffin with her lips slightly parted as if she was heaving a sigh of relief “That she is free at last”

I wish she is happily humming her favorite song from chori chori (1956) and resting in peace in her grave ,now that she is across the stars and perhaps not lonely anymore.

Aaja sanam madhur chandni mein hum
(Dear, let's dance in the soft moonlight)

Tum mile to wirane mein bhi aa jayegi bahaar
(The forest will come to life)

Jhumne lagega aasman
(The sky will twinkle with joy)

Jhumne lagega aasman
(The sky will twinkle with joy)

Kehta hai dil aur machalta hai dil
(My heart speaks and dances)

More saajan le chal mujhe taaron ke paar
(My beloved, take me across the stars)

Lagta nahin hai dil yahan
(I am lonely here)

Lagta nahin hai dil yahan
(I am lonely here)

Rest.in.Peace J. Jayalalitha

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