Saturday, January 22, 2011

Nestless on the Branches of Memories

“Please give this to our son Rajan. I trust only you.”

She didn’t utter a word after that. Cold death had already touched her. The next day after her death, I had a nap on the couch. The weight of that packet of coins, which she entrusted to me, was still in my hands. (From “Memories of a Father” by T.V. Eachara Varier)

Piravi is 1988 Malayalam feature film directed by Shaji N. Karun bagging 31 awards. The film is thought to be based based on the 'Rajan Case' that occurred in Kerala during the time of the emergency in 1978. The Chief Minister of the State attended a college function where a boy sang a song against him. The boy was caught by the police, brutally tortured in the police station where he died. After the Emergency, the boy's father filed a case against the government thus sparking off a big debate.

Plot: Raghu is one of two children born to Raghava Chakyar and his wife. Born quite late in his parents' marriage, Raghu is brought up with immense devotion and love until adulthood.

Now studying in an engineering college far from home, Raghu must return home for the engagement ceremony of his sister, but fails to turn up. His father Raghavan waits endlessly for his son to return. Raghavan takes daily trips to the local bus stop, waiting all day in the hope that Raghu will eventually come home. Soon it emerges, and the family come to know through newspapers, that Raghu has been taken into custody by the police for political reasons.

Raghavan sets out to try and find his son, and he eventually reaches police headquarters. However the police pretend not to know about Raghu, or his whereabouts, and furthermore, deny the fact that Raghu was taken into custody. Raghu's sister eventually comes to the realization that her brother probably has died as a result of police torture, but hasn't the heart to tell her father. Raghavan slowly begins to lose grip of reality, and starts to dream of his family reuniting once more.

(Plot summary from Wikipedia film review)

Words of Rajan’s father: “I was caught inbetween the father and the son, or rather, my father and my son. Did my father wait for me like this? Will my son go away like this? My father, the late Sri Premji, acted in the role of this father in the much-acclaimed film Piravi. In my journey through this book he was with me, telling me how painful it was to act out the role of a father who lost his son, but went on waiting for him. My dear father walked along with me into this wilderness, holding my hand. At the end of it, here I am looking back to see whether my son is still there or not. I now know that no sun sets. There is life even after death. Memories are the branches where the dead nest.

It is raining. I too am drenched. The rain cleanses everything, but scars of old wounds remain; they cannot be washed off that easily. Because of these scars, the struggle should continue, to recreate us as more beautiful people. The day has not dawned yet. It is still raining.” (Concluding words from “Memories of a Father”)

“There is life even after death. Memories are the branches where the dead nest.” Will he able to nest on the branches of the memories of our generation even after he is dead and gone….?!

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