Apart from her eyes, who knows what their anguish is? In this article, I will present a brief synopsis of a song from the film “Aval Oru Thodar Kathai“, directed by K. Balachander

“கண்ணிலே என்ன உண்டு கண்கள் தான் அறியும் கல்லிலே ஈரம் உண்டு கண்களா அறியும் என் மனம் என்னவென்று என்னையன்றி யாருக்கு தெரியும்”

“Only my eye knows what it has. A stone may have moisture in it. Are our eyes aware of that? Except for me, who can feel my heart?” a lady questions her beloved. 

The man enquiries his beloved what is in her eyes to perceive the purpose of her fieriness, to which she retorts that only her eyes can sense what they have in those. And as a response to his question, she asks if he is certain that the eyes can sense the presence of moisture in a stone. Just like the eyes that can not see the moisture in a rock, the man can not feel what is in this woman’s heart. Thus, she says that she only knows what her heart is. 

“நெருப்பென்று சொன்னால் நீரிலும் அணையும் நீரென்று சொன்னால் நெருப்பிலும் வேகும்”

“If we speak of fire, it will be killed even in water. If we speak of water, it will be boiled even by fire,” she speaks out here.

As she bakes this verse with the words ‘water‘ and ‘fire‘, she clarifies that her character cannot be inferred. The fire can be eaten up by the water, which can also be heated up by the fire. Therefore, it is unfair to consider that the fire is strong and the water is weak, for they both have the power to eradicate each other. 

“நான் கொண்ட நெருப்பு அணைக்கின்ற நெருப்பு யார் அணைப்பாரோ இறைவனின் பொறுப்பு”

“The fire that I have is the fire that does douse. I am not sure who will extinguish this. God is the one who has the onus,” the lady adds these scarry words. 

The fire she has is not like the fire that burns habitats and browns liquids. Rather, it is the fire that does smother another fire. As the sole breadwinner of a large family, this ageing lady does endure being fiery. Thus, she does pacify us that her fire of anger is only to satisfy their fire of hunger. Yet, she does expect her everlasting fire to be extinguished by any family member. At last, she asserts that only God can do this favour for her.  

“சேலைக்குள் ஆடும் மங்கையின் மேனி மேனிக்குள் ஆடும் மனமெனும் ஞானி ஞானியின் மனமும் ஆசையில் தேனி நான் ஒரு ராணி பெண்களில் ஞானி”

“Playing inside the saree is this lady’s body. Swaying inside that body is a sage called the heart. Just like others, the heart of the wise is a bee in wish. I am a queen and wise among women,” the lady does lament. 

Even if it is a fire, it has a thirst. The lady admits that inside her, there is a heart full of desire. The poet relates the heart of the lady with that of a bee. It is because, unlike other bees, the worker bee is famous for its sacrifice. Forgoing its lust, this bee feeds its family. That is why the poet does equate this fly with the lady. From the final line, we can learn that even if she has an obligation like a queen, her sage heart has an expectation akin to every woman. 

“கோடையில் ஓர் நாள் மழை வரக்கூடும் கோவில் சிலைக்கும் உயிர் வரக்கூடும் காலங்களாலே காரியம் பிறக்கும் காரியம் பிறந்தால் காரணம் விளங்கும்”

“A day in summer may get rain. An idol in the temple may gain life, my man. As time goes on, the action will be born. If it is born, you will know the reason,” she says for certain. 

Sun may be replaced by rain on a summer day. An idol of the god may come to life one day. Over time, there will be a change. She does rationalise her feelings by saying these. Then, she explains that the man can realise the reason for her behaviour once the transition happens to her. 

He who wants a rose must respect her thorn.”

This is the quote of Andre Gide. If a man can admire his lady’s allure, why can’t he accept her anger? Why does a man question this emotion? Isn’t every woman a human? 

Put this aside, and look at the lyrics! It was written by a man named Kannadasan. His pen honours her thorn. The Man Specialised in Veena melts us with his music. And are there any joys that can not be given by Janaki‘s voice? 

About the author

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Reshma Selvaraj

Hello, my name is Reshma Selvaraj. I am a graduate with a bachelor's degree in English. I am from a village called Kombadi Thalavaipuram in Tuticorin, a southern district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Tamil is my mother tongue. Though I studied English as a second language during my schooling, I enjoyed reading English poems and essays. As years passed by, I enrolled to study the literature of English in a college. That was when I began to read a lot of books both in Tamil and English. Thus I started to have a dream of becoming a writer. I have already written and published two short stories. The first short story, entitled “I have an interview tomorrow”, depicts the life of a disabled graduate searching for a job, and the second short story, titled “Aval Oru Maram”, defines the deforestation happening in the Western Ghats of India. This blog is to show the world that I am becoming what I wanted to become, and I hope that it will help you to become what you want to become.

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