The other day my daughter told me that a ‘famous’ Malayalam poet had visited her college and her remark was, “I somehow did not like him. He is a hypocrite.”
I told her that he was indeed a hypocrite as I knew him since my college days.
I studied in Mar Ivanios College nearly 25 years ago. This poet was teaching there at that time. To be truthful, I had never heard of this poet (or was he a novelist????). My second language was French and since I had no touch with Malayalam I was not aware of the existence of a literary figure in college.
It was at that time that I contested in the college union elections. It was a regular practice for candidates to go to classes and ask for votes. Along with my friends and party workers I went from class to class asking for votes. I went to a class and one Sir did not allow me to enter his class. As I walked out, he passed a comment. He said, “Mudi yum vetti, kutti udupum ittu kure society ladiesnte makkal ivide padikundu. Nere chowe veetil valarthathu konda ingane azhinjadi nadakunathu” (“There are some society ladies’ children who comes with short dress and hair. It is because they are not properly brought up that they are going around like this.”)
I felt terribly bad. It was a big crime to call a woman a “society lady” in those days. Society ladies were ones who went to clubs, stayed late nights in clubs and had loose morals. That idiot had called my mother a “society lady” when she hated clubs and parties. I was really angry. I would have really shot him if I were not a student of that college.
My friends told me that he was a great figure and that a book of his was made into a movie. I was not the least bit bothered of what his position in the society was. I felt that he was a creep. His words kept haunting me.
The next year his daughter joined our college as our junior. She was a huge girl who wore short skirts and kept her hair short. I was shocked when one of my friends told me that it was his daughter. How could he use that sort of a language on me when he had a daughter who was worse than me??????!!!!! She looked vulgar in those short clothes as she was overweight. I understood why he passed that remark on me. Probably his wife was a society lady who had no time for his children. He must have been a frustrated man and showed his frustration on a student of that college assuming that all who wore frocks were children of society ladies.
The best thing that happened to him was that his daughter eloped with a classmate of mine. I have deep sympathies for my friend for getting a father-in-law like him. When I heard that news the first thing that came to my mind was the same words he told me, “nere chowe veetil valarthathu konda ingane azhinjadi nadakunathu.”
[I know it is wrong to put a post like this. The wound that he inflicted on me hasn’t healed till date.]