“No matter how many friends you have, parents’ love will be more than all of them put together.” But what if your parent is the reason for your death? I recently watched the Netflix anthology series Paava Kadhaigal directed by some renowned directors such as Vetri Maaran, Sudha Kongara, Gautam Vasudev Menon, and Vignesh Shivn. Each episode filled me with tears and anger. When did honor overtake humanity and human emotions? Just a warning… there will be many spoilers here, in case you haven’t watched this one of a kind of a series.
This series features honor killing its main backdrop with different scenarios. Starting with the first episode, it showcases the journey of life and death of a transgender and an interfaith marriage during the late 1980s, when a concept of a third gender was never present. Well, it fascinating that nothing changed in 40 years. Every time the main lead named Sarthaar was bullied by some drunkards on the street, it reminded me of a typical day in a woman’s life in the current society. The only difference is that if a trans-woman goes through the same, they leave her to rot in shame for a mistake that was no fault of theirs. Every scene in this series sends chills down my spine. But one particular scene, which broke my heart, was when Sarthaar cries for help from her predators. They heard her crying, screaming, and begging for help, but none showed up to help. How inhumane could one be?
Sadly nothing has changed even in 2020. I also am guilty of this sin. Every time I see a person from the LGBTQ+ community, there rises an ingrained fear in me, and I have ignored them for a very considerable time. A sense of inclusivity is something that our society lacks. Skipping to the last episode of the season, a father kills his daughter in the name of honor and respect in this society. Every scene broke me down as a person and made me feel guilty for my judgments over a particular issue that I had no clue about. Tamil Nadu has become numb to such cases due to their frequency of occurrence.
Is there something called unconditional love in this world? Will we ever accept the differences among people? Following these two comes the most common issues that I face as a woman even in broad daylight, sexual harassment and child rape. In this episode, there was this line that said that “the honor of the family is a burden that a woman carries all her life, and it is impossible to keep it down.” Why is the system this way? Who kept the community’s honor in a woman’s vagina?
Is integrity such a big deal?