Ganga is a young woman from a staunchly orthodox Palakkad Iyer family. She lives with her in-laws in an Agraharam with her baby daughter. All is well with Ganga, until she receives news that her husband has been murdered in Saudi Arabia.
But all is not lost for Rasiya, for then she comes to know about the only way she can free her husband – if the wife of the murdered man signs a letter of pardon. If Ganga signs a letter of pardon.
This forms the setting in Kamal’s Malayalam movie, ‘Perumazhakkalam’ (roughly translated as ‘Rainy Season’) which sees Meera Jasmine play Rasiya and Kavya Madhavan, Ganga. The narration is poignant, and the ever-present rain in almost every scene of the movie brings out the pain all the more – for isn’t a rainy day a gloomy reminder of how even the weather is not cheerful? The rest of the movie depicts the struggle of one woman desperate to save her husband’s life and another who has already lost her husband and holds in her hand the life of the man who killed him.
This movie got me thinking on this amazing human emotion called forgiveness. It is amazing because it is hard to comprehend from where can a person find it in him or her to forgive someone for their wrongdoing. It can be as simple as a case of misunderstanding between two close friends or as grave as the situation brought about by the story above. What makes the story less complicated, perhaps, is the fact that Raghu dies as a result of an accident, when Akbar was beating up another guy who owed him money. In a scenario like that, we, the viewers, feel that Ganga should sign the pardon and free Akbar because it was not intentional! But Ganga’s words to Rasiya conveys a different pain – ‘You can stand in front of me and cry for your husband’s life. And I might even give it. But if I stand in front of your husband and cry for my husband’s life, will he be able to give it to me?’ The question leaves Rasiya speechless. But her determination in reaching Ganga, more specifically the woman in her who knows what it is to become a widow, does not falter.
I read somewhere that forgiveness is giving up my right to hate you for hurting me. Sounds fair enough. When I’m hurt, when I’m being betrayed, the least I can do is be angry with the perpetrator. The least I can do is refuse to forgive him or her and let the person bear the weight of their mistakes for the rest of their lives. The least I can do is let myself bear the weight of that hatred and anger for the rest of my life. But the best I can do is to forgive. And get it over with. For didn’t the Lord ask us to pray thus? ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’. We ask God to forgive us like we forgive others. When God forgives us if we truly repent, why can’t we, humans, do the same? Simple answer – because we are not God! Not even close. Which probably reiterates the notion that to forgive is divine. Because it takes a lot to let go of our anger/hatred and tell the person that we forgive them for their trespasses.
Picture: Kavya Madhavan and Meera Jasmine in ‘Perumazhakkalam’
Update: I’m told that Nagesh Kukkonoor (‘Hyderabad Blues’ fame) has used this very same story in his recent Hindi movie, ‘Dor’. Reviews on the www tell me the movie is worth watching, so maybe I will.