Jaya Jaya hey!

” I have been propelled by fate into two high profile careers, both not of my choosing”


After watching a movie made on the life of the legendary Jaya amma, (Actress and six times chief minister of Tamil Nadu) I was intrigued. 

So I came back home and started doing the most obvious thing any gen Z child would do, I binge-watched all the videos I could with her in them.

And two interviews stood out the most to me:

The Hardtalk India – Karan Thapar interview.

She is brutally blunt and isn’t ashamed a bit.

Sitting opposite to the ‘encounter cop’ Karan Thapar who has made men like Mr.Narendra Modi walk out of his show within the first few minutes isn’t easy.

Being questioned ‘why’ about every decision she has made in her life from why she contested on a certain day to why she added an extra ‘a’ to her name isn’t easy.

It is close to impossible to stay to stand one’s ground when the devil’s advocate is trying out every possible thing that he can to provoke you, despite you being the chief minister of a state.

But she did, she stood firm, so well that it almost felt unreal.

On the other hand, the Simmi Garewal interview was a smooth sailing one but it left me with more questions than answers.

Jayalalitha has always been an Icon, an icon who broke barriers and said women especially women with no background rightfully have their place in politics.

One of the major reasons I say she is my biggest inspiration is because both her professions are highly unconventional, especially in that generation.

So she felt like one of the very few women who actually chased their dreams and achieved them.

However, only after watching this interview, I realized that none of what she did was ever her dream. 

After doing about a hundred and forty films she said ‘I never wanted to get into films’

The interview was conducted after she contested the three elections (won two) and yet she said “I don’t like politics even today.”

The ideal life that she would have loved to live was to spend time in her farmhouse and not having to answer a single call or meet a single person.

Generally, when we are stressed, we say things like “ah I wish I could go live in another country’’ or “oh I wanna go just quit my job” when we say things like these we say them out of frustration at that moment, because honestly how long can a person live like that? But when Jayalalithaa said she wanted to live on a farm and not pick a call, it did not sound like it was out of frustration.

It sounded as if that was what she actually wanted to do.

She said she lived the first part of her life for her mother, the second part for MGR, and said ‘I want to live this third part of my life for myself but did she?

After watching hours of her interviews I realized that she is probably one of the most competitive people I know of. Say a word underestimating her and she will take it as a challenge to prove you wrong.

A woman as strong as her, a woman who proved everyone wrong,  a woman who fought every battle that came her way, why couldn’t she live the life she wanted? Why didn’t she pursue her interests after making her family financially secure?

Did she continue to pursue acting only to prove that she could be on top?

Did she take to politics only to prove that women like her, are capable of ruling?

And in the process of proving herself to the world, did she lose herself?

letter to amma

Amma I love you,

I know you are watching me and protecting me every minute . while I miss your touch everyday but I know I am surrounded by your blessings .

I know it was difficult for you to leave us mid way but I am glad you made the right choice because we could not  see you suffering .

To be honest amma , it does not feel as if you are not here with us physically , we feel your presence every time we are home, we feel you are coming home back from work and will check on us as soon as you enter, I can feel your magic in every corner of the home.

I am part of you even before I knew my identity , so I know our bond is eternal. I know how you will react watching me from there doing all the things I do .

Watching us at this very moment , I can imagine how much you are missing Raaga and me.

I still don’t know if I have completely accepted your departure , or if I actually just did not digest the fact that you chose a new world too early .

Amma , I miss irritating you as soon as I come home , I miss you feeding me when I ignore to eat , I miss you sorting fights between me & Raaga , and I miss our family karaoke sessions because we don’t have a purpose and audience any more.

But ma I don’t want to miss you being here for me , because I know you are still there for me and that you will be there , right there when I need you  and I promise ma I will do you proud.

Amma , I’m sorry ma , even though I expressed my love for  you through tiny acts ,I  told you I love you very  occasionally, but you always knew I loved you , I still do and I will continue to .I know that you love us forever amma , but I just wish I had said it when you could reply .

I love you Amma

Amma , you are the most wonderful person I ever witnessed  , You understood me so well ; fighting cancer is not easy and I still wonder how you managed the pain so well without telling me a word about it . You’ve taught me how to be as confident as I am , you’ve taught me how to keep myself together , you’ve taught me that it’s okay to be messy and confused as long as I know I am myself , you taught me how to create my own  principles , you taught me how to be independent , but I thought independence was just standing up on my own feet , I didn’t know it would come with so many responsibilities .

More than anything ma , you are the sculptor of this statue and I promise it will make you proud .

SRILAKSHMI KANAKALA (1975-2020) You are Beautiful, Strong and the absolute BEST MA.