Thaaratu- the last lullaby.
As an Indian woman, one of the worst days for me would be the day the Nirbhaya rape occurred.
As years passed by, I followed every news article and documentary trying to give myself some closure. In one such documentary I watched the mother of the rapist speak, convinced that her son can do no wrong, I was furious, how could she defend a monster? When I sat down with a calm mind it struck me… She was a mother first, perhaps the biggest punishment for her would be to accept her son’s deeds, maybe she should be given time to reach there, also society had already blamed her for creating such a monster, after a certain point how much influence does a mother have on the actions of a child I wondered.
Years later this line of thought continued when I wondered what it must feel like to be the mother
of perhaps Indian mythology’s most famous antagonist- Raavana.
Will we ever be able to point fingers at one person and hold them responsible for how he turned out?
He had all the makings of a hero, brave, knowledgable , smart , strong, Lanka flourished under him, lord shiva’s greatest devotee. His flaw was perhaps greed, the want for power , the want to be on top.
Today we see a lot of people who want just this, do we put the stamp of a villain on them. Did we make our villain look worse so that our hero could look better?
As I explored the work that travels through the last 2 days of the dreaded war, one of the things that stood out to me is the destruction of war, it doesn't matter which side you are on but war only leads to pain, I knew this conceptually but when I lived it as a mother who loses her child, it became even more real.
This work is a humble attempt to understand that people are not black and white, we are all grey and that if monsters were created, its a reflection of the entire society, Nirbhaya’s rapist did what he did also because he grew up watching a society that disrespected women, he watched men who had power over women flaunt it.
Maybe it's time we stopped pointing fingers and start changing at an individual level.
Thaarattu begins on the penultimate day of the war. Kaikesi has not just witnessed her land being burnt down, she’s also lost her son Kumbhakarna, her grandson Indrajith, her son Vibheeshana has changed sides, in the past week her world has turned upside down.
“Ha shambho niyati kaisi?” . Oh lord shiva! What is this fate you have written for your greatest devotee? Do you have no compassion for him? A dejected kaikesi tries to comfort a distraught ravana, reminding him of
his bravery, she tries to persuade him to return Sita and end this war knowing very well that her
son will not give up! She sings to him one last time- the last lullaby.
After Ravana’s death she wonders who is to blame? Is it him? His greed? His want for power?
His recklessness in bringing Sita whereas his vengeance was with Rama or is it herself?
She wanted to get out of a life in the forest, she wanted Ravana to take everything from Kubera, she
wanted to be queen mother, did she cause this to her own son.
She ends by asking shiva, whose fault is it? Why is he considered a heartless monster? Is it my
womb? Or is it the perspective with which people saw him?
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