Moved to tears watching ‘the scent of a woman’ starring Al Pacino in Netflix. Too late I know. I don’t want this to be a review of the picture. I am using the filmy quotes just to record my perspectives. Hugs to Charlie Simms played by Chris O Donnel who takes the tough road risking his Harvard admission from the prestigious Baird not wanting to sell his soul for gain – even if he earned the place on merit. His entire future is at stake, given he is from humble Oregon. He is on scholarship at his school. The rich creamy society boy George Willis so easily succumbs with his weak mind, sells his soul without a regret to save his ass. It shows how some of us are BORN DIFFERENT. How our priorities determine who we are. And how some of us would rather slog it than have it cheap and easy with a price tag on our soul. Al Pacino’s riveting closing dialogues just bore into my very own soul. Says he, THERE IS NO PROSTHETIC TO AN AMPUTED SOUL. That is how pathetic are those who sell their soul, who trade in their integrity, who have no shame, no dignity, no honesty, no strength of character but actually have the audacity to justify their smallness. It may have just been a picture but it gives you still a great message. Its what some of us stand for. Fight for. I may not be the naive Charlie but I could very well be that colonel Slide! I am that!
We don’t read books or watch pictures for nothing. If you sing Bharathi, you must try to live like Bharathi. If you talk about Sangam literature, you have to try to adhere to the code of morals and ethics – the basics at least, in today’s context. VALUES ARE EVERYTHING. UNCOMPROMISABLE. UNTRADABLE. UNCHANGEABLE. You have to do justice to whatever you preach. You have to practise what you preach.There is no use going to temples or performing Pujas when our fundamentals are not sound. Following the right path, speaking your mind, alienates you from the rest. You are alone. Still, you are the only one who has the courage to call a spade a spade and you know that. It is worth fighting the lone battle than join the comfortable crowd of spineless cowards who are all sold out. The pied piper led hundreds of mice to their cursed destiny. There is no comfort in numbers so far as ethics are concerned. A clear conscience is priceless. The Puja phalan for those who sell their soul is like the water they may try to fill in a pitcher that has a hole at the bottom. Whatever you pour in will drain away in no time and it doesn’t matter what efforts you put in. It was the very first lesson on Aanmeegam for me, on why it is important to lead a clean life. When the roots are shaky, you cannot build a superstructure over it. My parents raised me in their absence. They never lectured me on anything. I felt this way even the very next day after my mother passed away when I was still in school.
All of us are aware of changing times and what that demand of us. I, more than anyone living abroad for over a quarter century in multi-culture society, am painfully aware of where one must draw the line. What you can trespass and what you may not violate even if your dear life is on the line of fire. We have a word for that: honour. Which in turn earns us something irreplaceable: respect.
Never mind. If someone has to be tutored on value systems, then they bombed grandly in the final exams already, before even the classes started or the bell rang.