When almost everyone is celebrating ‘Mothers Day’ with the customary praise for motherhood, I decided to look at what motherhood means to me. According to me ‘Mothers Day’ is for mothers to realize what it is to be an epitome of love and sacrifice. This post is for my twin angels who gave me the indisputable status of a mother perennially supplemented with joy and pride.
If you are someone who loves revisiting your childhood this film cannot be missed. ‘Moggina Jade’ is a Kannada film that will touch you irrespective of the language barrier. When I encountered the film a couple of years ago, I was shedding gallons of tears, an act that I quite enjoy doing while watching films. It is not a sad, dark, depressing story at all…but an emotional tale that will trigger one’s tear glands. The winner of the piece is the little girl around whom the story is knit. She will just completely bowl you over with her innocent face and living of the role not to be mistaken for acting.
Seven year old Priya (played by baby Shreesha) lives with her parents and grandparents. To her company is her cousin who moved in with his grandparents after his mother’s demise. Priya’s parents belong to the breed of hardworking and aspiring couples who work on a relay race kind of shift system with the aim of an improved standard of living. Priya’s grandparents are the naïve, diffident soul’s dependant on son and daughter in law for their existence. And finally the last immovable character is Priya’s house, a typical middle class humble home. Innocent that she looks all that Priya wants is simple things in life.
Priya’s mother, played by the Nayi Neralu star Pavitra Lokesh, hails from an affluent family, and thanks to her love marriage gets engulfed in a middle class life much to her dissatisfaction. Leading an almost robotic life to make extra bucks to buy a dream home is her sole agenda. In this process gets eschewed the little desires of her daughter as she imposes her tastes and wishes on the little one. First bombshell being a short hairdo much to the tears and disapproval of Priya whose long pending unrealized desire is to dress up traditionally with a her hair decorated with a plait of jasmine buds as is the custom in some parts of Karnataka. The argument being the universal rhetoric ‘I know what is good for you.” (My mom had a good taste but that never let her decide things for me or my sister. I remember, when as kids we had gone to pick up clothes for Diwali, a little girl had come to pick up her birthday dress. The girl was fond of a particular dress but her mother strictly declined her choice along with a few strong words that made the poor girl turn silent. May be the price of the dress was beyond their budget but the girl will never be able to come to terms with her disappointment. Are mothers listening?)
Priya’s grandmother wants to fulfill her desire but when household expenses are calculated and budget allocated strictly spending on bit expensive jasmine buds was out of her reach. It is also not an important expense to ask her daughter in law who is already hell bent on chopping of her grand daughters tresses. Nevertheless she tells the flower vendor to get her jasmine buds when it is seasonal in order to fulfill her promise to her granddaughter who is upset when her grandson gets a bicycle from his father and step mother.
Priya’s dad is the typical henpecked husband. Someone who is caught between the nagging needs of his wife and his parents who are dependant on him. A small argument between his wife and father was reason enough for him to be persuaded to move out of the house. Since their dream home is in the final stages they take refuge in his mother in laws friend’s unoccupied bungalow. There starts the loneliness saga of his daughter dear. To divert her melancholy they take her for a holiday. The grandparents who are equally distressed being away from their grand daughter come to visit at that time, guess what, with a plait of jasmine buds. They leave the plait and homemade sweets and savouries to the maid in the house who is about sixteen years old. The maid tells Priya’s dad about their visit. She understands a rift in the family and thus takes advantage by not disclosing what the visitors brought. She takes the plait to her home and for a fee dresses up all the young girls in her neighbourhood and takes pictures in a studio. And the sweet and the savouries were safely tucked away in a cupboard. When little Priya sees her once munching murukku she hesitantly gives her one. Later one night Priya asks her dad for murukku and to his predicament as to where he get it at that hour she tells it is in that cupboard. One look at it he recognizes his mothers labour and his maids cunningness. He also sees the much rented and worn out plait with dried up buds. He immediately takes and it discards it in a garbage bin at the end of his street.
The next day Priya sees the little gypsy girl camped closer to her house, wearing a dried up moggina jade. She immediately runs upto her and requests her to share the plait with her for a while. Unaware that the dried up moggina jade was weaved with love by her own grandmother Priya wears it with so much of happiness. A scene that will swell up your eyes and give onions a run for money!
However the joy is only short lived when her mother finds her in that trance and admonishes her for her behavior. This is later followed by the little girl leaving the house, the parents in shock and in the mood to realize their mistake, the girl lost in the city, then picked up by a stranger in a bike, leading viewers to invoke all gods for help, and finally found safely perched in her earlier school watchman’s shoulder brought back to her grandparents home welcome with a sigh by her parents. And wait no prizes for guessing the end. The little princess does let her hair down to bridge the huge gap between tradition and modernity.