Alone, But Not lonely
By Anitha S
02 February, 2013
Sundari is alone in the convent at Madurai sitting in the sparsely furnished room on conditional bail. Her friends Xavierammal and Selvi with whom she shared many a laugh and tears, anger and anguish since September 10th when they were taken to Trichy jail has gone back to Idinthakarai. She is happy that they have reached back home, Xavierammal to her mother who really worked hard and Selvi to her son in 10th Class. But she is also pining for her family, her 2 little ones, Shyamili and Saheer and her quiet hardworking husband. He calls her often to ask about the ingredients to be added to some dish he would be cooking for the children. She is really proud of her family, who have shown extraordinary strength to support and be with her during some of the toughest days in their life.
Feb 1st 2013- there was hope that she could be released. But after signing in the Police Station in Madurai, she got news that it might take a few more days to be released. Sundari walked back to the convent gates silently and slowly. Though thankful for all the blessings and support, she wished to be home. Last week, many people visited her. The best was the visit by Salai Selvam from Madurai who got connected to her by V.Gita a supporter based in Chennai. Sundari visited her house, picking up fish from the local market. They relaxed there and Sundari made fish curry after many days. She loved the way Selvam’s daughter, 7 year old Nila kept talking.
“ What a special name she has. And how well she talks. I realized that I miss my Shyamili a lot.She seems to have grown in the months I have stayed away”
Selvam told her about her initiative to create a Reading space for children in Madurai called Koolangal where children can be children, play and read, talk and laugh, draw and paint. Sundari was excited thinking of the carefree childhood in the village, running to the beach sometimes with food for fishermen returning from the sea, sometimes with friends to play. But since the Porattam started children were always in the Pandal as their parents especially mothers were there. She wondered if their childhood had been stolen and killed by the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant.
But she also knew that their lives had been enriched by the process, by this unique fight for justice and peace. She realized her own strength now, in being able to travel to places, face people and put ideas and demands across in the most systematic manner. She thought of how she argued with a Parish priest about the fallacy and dangers of Nuclear Power- by the end of the conversation he became silent. She told Selvam about how much she had learnt and imbibed in the past one year, how the days of seclusion in the jail and now had tempered her thoughts. She would now not go back to her village and remain an idle woman. She had found new meaning and hope in life, in the way to bring up her two children, in the future of living in the village. She now had some concepts about development and progress, the needs and wants of the community and the real democracy that a country like India should become.She shared with this young and energetic woman friend she was meeting for the first time her views on feminine strength and her wish to be a good mother to her children born after many years of waiting and treatment. Selvam listened amazed to the clarity of thought and determination of this “ordinary, ignorant woman from the coast”.
Today too she will travel alone to the Police Station to sign thinking of all the charges against her- sedition, unlawful assemblage, handling weapons and so on. Today too she will hope and wish ardently for the one sentence “ You can go” which will take her home. Today too she will wish to join the Samara Pandal and the Porattam which had become so dear to her and her friends. To fight for a way of life against one of the most toxic if human inventions, to evolve a sustainable and safe life based on equality and justice –Sundari wishes for all this.
When so many thoughts and dreams, ideas and concepts, contacts and new friendships keep her company how can Sundari be alone in the world?
Sundari in Madurai 2 February 2013, In conversation with Anitha.S
Comments are moderated