Awesomeness! That is the single appropriate adjective that comes to my mind when I think of Sri.Jayalalitha who was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu until last Saturday, the 27th of September, 2014. Not just mine but in many minds, many many many more minds. One can look at a person in awe for his or her virtues. Again, one can look at another in awe for his or her notoriety. Sri. Jayalalitha has always commanded our awe in almost all that she does, good or bad and the scenario that played out last Saturday evening had out-beaten anything and everything that has happened so far. A person was charged for corruption, rightfully so and justice had been served, honest justice too. Still, we feel a huge sympathy wave going around in her favour. No Facebook memes of mockery! No justice-prevails kind of sentiments. We are truly sorry for her. How did she manage that? No answer! She managed it just as she has been managing things all her life, fighting strife one side and causing strife on another, in her ambitious climb up the political ladder. Just as she will manage this situation too.
I was just twelve year old when the cable channels flashed footages of the jewelry, saris and shoes that Sri. Jayalalitha had amassed then. As a twelve year old girl, those were the only images that made me go wow and imprinted itself strongly in my memory. What did I care for corruption or tax-payer’s money wasted on a lavish wedding of her adopted son? That lady knew how to shop! That lady knew how to celebrate! That lady knew how to make all the black money glitter as vain little beauties inside her wardrobe! Awe. One word. I wasn’t aware of the properties that she had hoarded in her name. Frankly, I didn’t know the entire list, until the verdict last Saturday. How many of us do? How many of our elders, much younger then did? A sensational news 18 years ago is now but a faint memory of facts forgotten. A philosophical reminder that present is what matters.
As a convent educated state-topper in her Matriculation exam, Sri. Jayalalitha chose or was forced to choose movies for a career. An interesting choice considering the way cinema operated then, stronger hold of patriarchy in the societies of the 60s and the ill-fit that she was with her smart brain and ravishing beauty. But she fitted well, too well and won the hearts of thousands of admirers and eventually won the heart of Mr. M.G.Ramachandran who was lodged in the hearts of the population of Tamil Nadu. From an intelligent student to a pretty and talented artist, to a lover and then a spurned lover, to a secretary of AIADMK, and to the chief minister chair itself, her rise in Tamil Nadu politics was always uphill and always phenomenal in every step of the way. Never married once, she became the uncontested “Amma” for all.
She was bold. She was brave. She was corrupt. She was vindictive. Should we look up to her or look down at her? Should we clap or should we boo? She gave us no time to make judgments. No time to praise or belittle. Before we tagged her as anyone, she pulled another stunt, leaving us astonished and curious. Leaving us in awe!
This wasn’t the first time that she was sentenced to jail. She has been there before and had found her way out as well. Her decisions were completely thought-out, with plan A, plan B to plan Z. The rightfulness of those decisions could have been questionable but her decisions worked for her. That much is true. She always bounced back, bounced back with much more vigor than she had when she was stumped. An arrow stretched at the bow, flew straight to the target. Awesomeness!
In the last two or three years, she had been a good leader or that is what it seems. So many reforms! So many projects for the welfare of the state that the people forgot her past and started loving her for what she is today. A clean sweep in the last election just showed how much she was loved and respected. How much people expected from her! Just as she was rumored as the next prime-ministerial candidate, her buried past re-surfaced and hit her with a hard and unrecoverable blow! A verdict of an 18 year old case against her favor, drawing her from the heavens of the sky to the ditches of the underworld. Very shocking! Very devastating! But surprising? Not so much. This is how her life has been, the seven lives that she has lived in her single lifetime. We know that she will be resurrected again, will resurrect herself again before we stop clicking our tongues in sympathy. If you will pardon me for the blasphamical metaphor here, she is like a Jesus Christ in that aspect!
Let me leave my fact analysis here and side-track into motive analysis. It has been heard and said that in the last few months before her arrest, Sri.Jayalalitha who wasn’t exactly that much of a spiritual person was suddenly performing religious rituals at the temples. Were they just rituals of thankfulness for her election results or rituals to appease the Gods to change her destiny due in a few days? Did she know already? Too hard to believe that she would not have seen this coming. As shocking as it is to us, I am sure she would have been preparing herself to brace the situation when the worst came. Were all her sudden change of character, and noble reforms truly noble or were they a part of this preparation? If it were a part of the preparation, then she had prepared well and has got the people weeping over her arrest, making the comeback so much easier, so much more powerful. The delayed justice, though right and deserved has brought shame to the Indian judiciary system for the time that had taken to effect it. The corruption case though closed correctly is now condemned and looked at with distaste. But our convict has our sympathy! Awesome again!
What do they say about karma? Deeds that we do gets back to us one way or the other? Sri. Jayalalitha’s case is an example that it really doesn’t take a re-birth for karma to catch up. 18 years is long enough. At the rate at which our crimes are increasing, I am sure one’s own karma will catch up faster than the judicial system itself. A pauper can rise to stardom in a day. A kingdom can be brought to dust in a moment. Nothing is invincible. Nothing is impossible. If we have this warning bell sounding inside our subconscious, maybe, we will aspire to become better people than we are today. And here again, Sri. Jayalalitha leads the way!