Saturday, May 18, 2013


Amour, as the word “love” in English has connotations with subtle difference and feel. Some words even defy transliteration and are unique in its meaning, spirit, tone and the evocative passion they convey. Though I’m not capable of critiquing a film except as a lay person, I felt empathy and warmth while also failing to find the “le mot juste” for the affection, concern, the impassioned silence the film reflected in the relationship between the aged couple.

The film flew back to my mind when a casual conversation with another threw open the genuine fear and apprehension that can stalk in old age or in midstream if one is incapacitated. I wonder if someone can be fearless and an optimist in  face of  the perils that are hand in glove with old age.

He had a blissful marital life for many years. The tempests that oft startle couples from the slumber and casual moorings that threaten to corrode marriage and to fade out as storms in a tea cup was not strange to him. But he says there was no love lost.

He was a future trader of petroleum and churned dollars with every snap of his fingers. He lost some and often heavily too. He reveled in this gamble and while success serenaded and tangoed with him, he delighted himself. Though, it mattered the least to him he was beheld by many with envy and also as the cynosure. A happy man with an envious family and wealthy too! However the crash a few years ago saw him sucked into the whirlpool and when he surfaced with desperation he saw that the castles he built were washed away in the deluge. It was devastation.

“Yes it was fearsome, but was not as devastating as perhaps the possibility of losing one’s …….” he paused and continued,” A lonely winter of life is frightening.  What would one cherish most, the loving presence of your wife, the affection of your kids or the glitz and relationships that wealth brings? Relationships are, I’m afraid, my friend like swallows in high summer. They fly to distant safe lands when the frost set in and gloomy days loom.” He did not wait for my opinion; he walked out of the room and was gone.

I was spontaneously overwhelmed by the humaneness of the film I saw the day before, “Amour”. I did not need more insight into his story to unravel what he alluded.

The central characters, the old octogenarian couple are retired music teachers living a life of intense bond and affection. When the wife is crippled by repeated strokes and is sinking into miserable physical existence the love and bond among them is tested considerably. It is finally his sheer humanness, courage and unflinching love for her, his wife that leads him to smother her with a pillow and end her agony.

My thoughts went after the stranger who spoke to me a little while ago and agonized to guess his destiny when he sails into the winter of his life, solitary, cold and shivering. But, did I see in his eyes a shimmering flame that may keep him going?
"Begging for love can only add on to beggary", his parting words resonated.


jijo moolayil said...

Congrats, beautifully written! Anilji, if u haven't watched Michael Haneke's "White Ribbon" it's worth watching, an open-ended drama film which would take us into the mysterious psychic world of children.

Usha Menon said...

Anil this is very soullul and poignant story. I read the sentence "It is finally his sheer humanness, courage and unflinching love for her, his wife that leads him to smother her with a pillow and end her agony." at least ten times.Great pathos and compassion.

NRIGirl said...

Hard to believe that this too is Amour! May be it is.

adithyasaravana said...

I read this blog several times. How optimistic can one spend a lonely old age?..
Many times I tell her." I don't know whether I love you, but I don't know to conduct myself in this world without you".
I need to watch the movie.

Musings said...

@jijo moolayil

Thanks jijo . Noted the suggestion, I'll see the film .

@ Usha Menon,

Thank you. Appreciate your critique. Indeed the film was poignant , telling the helplessness of human beings and then the sheer determination and love boundless.


Yes it is , if you have not watched please do. Moments when we are forced to cross the threshold and then do the drastic.

@ adityasaravanan,
You said it well. But who knows how each of us may fair when it comes to such moments and situations?

Insignia said...

Loneliness..... Many a times, we confuse being alone with loneliness.

Its love that that has pursued him to smother her and relieve her of the struggles. He is not lonely thereafter. Her soul is with him, beside him. He was being unselfish in letting her live on this earth with her physical troubles end; because he did not want her to be his companion and endure her struggle. Instead he liberated her and thereby himself. Very touching

....Petty Witter said...

So poetic, so poignant, so beautiful, so like Amour itself.

anilkurup said...

@ Insignia,

B,Soul or what ever, the pathos is discernible.

@ Petty Witter,

Thank you. Guess you saw the movie