A Letter to Amrita from the Movie ‘Thappad’

Dear Amu,

I know that I’m just a stranger to you but after knowing your story, calling you Amrita just didn’t feel right. I felt an unfamiliar kinship with you even though we probably have nothing in common. I am just someone who adores you from the crowd, who is in awe of the person you have become, as you took a fearless stand for yourself.

At the beginning of your story, it was truly baffling for me how efficiently you were able to manage all those household chores. I took you as someone who was content being a housewife, happy with the simplicity of her life. You also mentioned that it was your choice, but was it really?

I want to affirm to you that Vikram was at fault when he felt entitled enough to direct his corporate frustration at you. No one deserves to go through that and it’s a pity that it took an actual instance of physical abuse for everyone to see the covert signs of violence that had been leading up to it. It became a moment of awakening. But, at what cost?

Humiliation and mortification are still secondary emotions, but the hurt that you must have felt at that moment is incomprehensible. To add to that, people’s indifference to it and their overemphasis on covering it up to keep up appearances was truly heartbreaking to see and I am sorry that you had to go through that.

Amrita, all you ever wanted was respect and happiness; it’s a shame that no one truly understood or supported your decision to separate from your husband. It was commendable how you stood your ground, voicing out your opinions about all the unfair things that happened and touching the lives of so many people around you. However, I do wish you did not have to go through something so painful all alone.

Earlier, I mentioned that I adore you and it’s because you always did the right thing even when the outcome wasn’t happiness. I respect that despite all odds, you stood your ground throughout the harrowing process of the court proceedings.

I love how, despite all of this, you were able to find your true self that had gotten lost behind all the societal expectations and burdens. More so, it was exceedingly exceptional to see you become so independent and bold by learning to drive and getting your own little house.

The cruel reality of society has been revealed by your story. I realised that as a society, we have always had assigned roles for each one of us since our birth.

Men: entitlement, women: obligations. Women have been taught and are still being taught that they are supposed to be the more understanding and patient ones, trying to keep their marriage together; even at the cost of their own happiness.

If only men were also taught an equal sense of responsibility and accountability!

Your decision didn’t overturn the entire patriarchal structure around us, but it sure was a start.

I am proud of you, Amu! You made sure that everyone understands that it is never “just” a slap. I was also relieved to see that you finally got your well-deserved apology from Vikram. The impact of the stand you took for yourself truly overwhelmed me. If I imagine myself in your position, I feel a little less scared now to do right by myself. 


Your admirer

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