May 8, 2006

I was listening to some lyrics and I found my eyes watering with emotion. I realized that I am culturally “allowed” to let my eyes water at the sight of a baby, a beautiful moon- or sun-rise, at the sound of a long-loved song, on reading a beautiful poem…but men aren’t.

I saw my father shed tears only twice in his life–once, when his cousin (brought up along with him,because he was orphaned at an early age) died tragically in an accident; and when I got married and was leaving the wedding hall with the members of my new family. My brother, indeed, went off to play cards and I never knew how he felt about my leaving my birth-home permanently.

My husband never shed a tear when his mother died suddenly. Tears are “unmanly”. Amazingly, in this respect, our movies seem more balanced. The old melodramas often showed the heroes with brimming eyes (right now, I have switched on KTV and “Kalatthur Kannamma”, one of the movies of Kamalahasan as a heart-wrenchingly innocent-looking child star, is playing and there is Gemini Ganesh doing the glycerine)..but no, real life cannot have any man–or young man– showing his emotions plainly.

This was also brought home forcefully when my “adoptive” son, a 6 year old neighbour, came home from school with lots of scratches and cuts…he waited until he was safely home and inside closed doors, after a 10 km ride from school in the bus, before bursting into tears.

Have you ever seen men wiping their eyes at the movies or at a play? Even women like me are ridiculed about it!

Perhaps men should also be “allowed” to cry, instead of merely showing the depths to which they can feel when you see the beautiful poems and lyrics they can create or enjoy?