Women are often punished for being their true selves. That happens in a patriarchal household , in a patriarchal work environment or a patriarchal social setting. If a woman is ambitious, capable and talented, the opposition is often brutal in its intensity.
The Malayalam film, Uyare (At the heights), where the luminescent Parvathy plays the role of Pallavi Raveendran is a wonderfully inspiring movie. Pallavi is a beautiful, talented, committed and brilliant woman who dreams of being a pilot. But she is involved in a very abusive relationship with Govind (played so well by Asif Ali) who is insecure, envious and possessive. He is also vastly inferior when compared with her. Naturally, his suspicious and over controlling nature, his filthy accusations and demeaning behaviour become too much for Pallavi to bear. And then Govind takes his vicious revenge by throwing acid on her face.
The story depicts how Pallavi faces her agony and the manner in which she fights to overcome her trauma. Helped by her loving father, devoted friends and a supportive young mentor, she regains her confidence and gets to prove to herself that she is indeed exceptional and worthy.
The scene which struck me the most and which echoed something deep within me was when Govind encounters her again in the flight and ends up blaming her for all his misfortunes!
‘You are well settled. You even got a decent compensation. If you think you can enjoy your life while I rot in prison…!’ It is then that she throws a hot cup of coffee on his face, snarling that it will not burn as much the acid which he had thrown on hers.
It is amazing how evil justifies itself and blames everything but itself! I have witnessed it time and again in both personal and professional environments. Perhaps it is lack of a light within. Such people are totally devoid of understanding. They know only one thing: they are always , always, always right. The other person provoked them, you see?
The way evil thinks and acts is actually very predictable.
Pallavi is beautiful and ambitious.
( The abuser’s psyche : Of course, it was her fault. Since she knows I love her, isn’t it her moral responsibility to be less pretty, less visible, less vocal, less successful and exist just for me?)
Pallavi is talented and successful.
( The abuser’s psyche : It was all her doing! Why couldn’t she just understand that I am her Lord and Master since she is in a relationship with me? How dare she dress up and go out for dinner with her friends? She must be cheating me with everyone around! And she dared to ask me to get lost when I confronted her?)
Pallavi did not shut herself up or commit suicide after the acid attack.
( The abuser’s psyche : How dare she live? I wanted to destroy her confidence, her verve, her life spirit, her beauty. And yet she dares to show her face to the world? Then, how can I say that I am a man?)
Pallavi got a cool job.
( The abuser’s psyche :Why is she allowed to live with her head high? So long as she is respected, I must be a failure in the eyes of others. How can I stand her happiness?)
Pallavi is respected and admired.
( The abuser’s psyche: And I am suffering without a decent job and have to face the criminal case too! Why can’t she just withdraw the case against me? Poor me! She is at the root of all my suffering. She deserved whatever I did to her. Didn’t I love her deeply? Didn’t she lie to me and betray me? How come that she is not facing any setbacks and that life is hitting me instead? That is just not fair. She should suffer. Only then the belief systems I hold will prove true.)
If you are in an abusive relationship ( evil has no gender by the way) it is best that you get out as fast as you can. Whether it is a professional or personal relationship, never let the perpetrator get the better of you.
Learn to call a coward, a coward. A damnable person, a damnable person. Keep zero contact with people who drain you. Draw your boundaries strong. And know that walking away from abusers is something to be taught very early in life to our children.
More power to the Pallavis of the world. May we teach our sons and daughters to respect and not control. And that love which is devoid of respect is vile.