[Background: This is based on a true story in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, India where a yesteryear, hugely popular film-star, M G Ramachandran (MGR) started a political party, the ‘All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)’ – with ‘Two Leaves’, as a Party symbol – breaking away from the parent ,’Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)’ headed by M Karunanithi – which has the ‘Rising Sun’ as its symbol. On coming to power, MGR ruled as Chief Minister for over a decade until his death, at age 71, due to illness, while in harness. His heroine of many Tamil films, Miss Jayalalithaa, was brought into the AIADMK as Propaganda Secretary and later took over as Party Head and became Chief Minister, as well, until her death at age 68, a few days ago, on 5th December 2016, again in harness. While Karunanithi could never get near Chief Ministership in MGR’s lifetime of heading the AIADMK, he could squeeze into power during Jayalalithaa’s stints as Chief Minister, until her metamorphosis as “Amma” – when she went on to win and stay in power in consecutive terms. While MGR was married but had no children, and Amma stayed single, Karunanithi had three wives – now two, one having died – and six children. Though always wheel-chair bound he has scored well on the health front, and is still active in politics as the head of the DMK, at the age of 92. He has seen six Chief Ministers die during his lifetime and hopes to become Chief Minister, yet again! The DMK & the AIADMK are bitter rivals, constantly at other’s throats and endlessly playing the ‘Tom & Jerry’ game!].
While we watched the iron-lady of Tamil Nadu rust away despite her steel mettle, we cannot help make the comparison with a nearby well-dhothied, almost bald, yellow-shawled, iron-man, living in the neighbourhood, who may just about have the last laugh, yet! He has outlived ‘two dead leaves’ and in grand style, mind you: with more than a couple of wives, lots of family – to draw support and be wheeled about – and a never-day-die attitude, despite numerous defeats in battle. If the Hero was a boxing, stick & sword-wielding fighting one in the movies, he failed to overcome the villainous ill-health and fell prey. His Heroine and protégé followed in similar footsteps, ‘covering-up’, hiding the poor health and again failing to get the better of it, despite the support of the Gods of Apollo. Didn’t someone say, that the only thing you have true, and can control, is your mind & body? (That’s written in the script of our lives). Why then, with all the iron & steel at their command, co-mingled with self-confidence, grit and tenacity, the Hero & Heroine couldn’t win the health-war? Is it because they are just leaves – which have to wilt & fall? (Re-growth is an option – not in this lifetime). Meanwhile, the Sun is out scorching the country side and the neighbourhood iron-man, once a movie script writer, barring a rouge allergy – now & then- has kept his cool, kept his ever growing family, KEPT HIS HEALTH, and the shine is definitely a bright YELLOW, almost red (& black) on the horizon! Colours & Wives work wonders, I guess? Tomorrow is another day!
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