Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Certain characters I have come across in both real and surreal life have captured my imagination and left an ever lasting impression, much beyond what words can express. They have at times inspired me, delighted me, shocked me, scandalized me, saddened me, traumatized me and sometimes taken my senses to dizzying heights so much so that I haven’t been able to prevent myself from being involved with them deeply in a kind of intense and platonic or more accurately a spiritual relationship .. lest anyone misunderstands.. Why is it not just platonic but spiritual? I suspect platonic is more applied in a man-woman context and that’s not the premise here!!!

None of these characters are perfect, in fact it is their imperfections and aberrations which has left its mark and provoked my thinking, endearing and embedding them into my conscience. These are true to life characters. To me, anyone who appears to be too good and flawless stands the risk of being too good to be true. Let me wrack my brains a bit now…. What exactly does Bacon say in his famous essay ‘On Truth’ - “Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl, that showeth best by day; but it will not rise to the price of a diamond, or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights”

So that debate continues in my mind…..

There are many who asked why my tag line is ‘Gone with the Wind’. The reason is ‘Scarlet’. If you wiki, you will know that Scarlet is a bright red color with a hue that is somewhat towards the orange. It is redder than vermillion (interestingly translates to Sindhoor for all Indians who know what it is and what it stands for). It is a pure chroma on the color wheel one-fourth of the way between red and orange. [2] Traditionally, scarlet is the color of flame and it is also considered the color of human blood….somehow not sure how flame and blood may be the same color.

Vivien Leigh in the movie - Gone With the Wind
(photo courtesy - wikipedia)

No, I am not talking about Scarlet that impressive color, I am talking of Scarlet the indomitable character from Margaret Mitchell’s classic Novel, Gone with the Wind – all of flesh and blood and no less of flame or raging fire…..almost an anti-heroine. I have to confess much to the astonishment of many who believe have known me for some time as much to the surety of a few who have experienced me , if there is one woman I admire ardently for all that she is , it is Scarlet..Sometimes I think she is my spiritual companion, sometimes my devil’s advocate and sometimes when the lines grow thinner, there is no more duality, she and I; we become one.

In the novel set in chaotic times of the American Civil War years, Scarlet O’Hara is introduced as a spoilt, headstrong, selfish and rebellious 16 year old girl who struggles to find love clouded by her own interpretation of life’s myriad emotions and values. Nevertheless she is an absolute fighter in one shot and a reckless opportunist in another. She is confused about who is really her love object but is clear that what she wants is nothing short of the best in life, even if it means jeopardizing herself at times.

During most trying times, she takes complete charge and defends her family and the honor of her loved ones against the union soldiers, carpetbaggers and starvation itself. At a very defining moment in her life, she realizes - There was no security or haven to which she could turn now. No turning or twisting would avoid this dead end to which she had come. There was no one on whose shoulders she could rest her burdens. Her father was old and stunned, her sisters ill, Melanie frail and weak, the children helpless, and the negroes looking up to her with childlike faith, clinging to her skirts, knowing that Ellen's daughter would be the refuge Ellen had always been.

That reckoning was her moment of truth. She was seeing things with new eyes for, somewhere along the long road to ‘Tara’ her home, she had left her girlhood behind her. She was no longer plastic clay, yielding imprint to each new experience. The clay had hardened, some time in that indeterminate day and that night was the last time she would ever be ministered to as a child. She was a woman now and youth was gone. And at the end of this road, there was nothing--nothing but Scarlett O'Hara Hamilton, nineteen years old, a widow with a little child.

In her challenge to resurrect herself and rise from the shambles, she does not comprehend that she was drunk, drunk with fatigue and whisky. She only knew she had left her tired body and floated somewhere above it where there was no pain and weariness and her brain saw things with an inhuman clarity.

Having toiled hard and conquered hunger and poverty, to having survived a marriage of convenience to bail her family from misery and debt, she finally marries her worldly admirer Rhett Butler, but her apathy toward him in their marriage dooms their battling relationship, and she again returns to Tara to find consolation and to sow the seeds of hope and win back the true love of her life. In the final pages of the novel, there is no one more convincing than a broken Scarlet, unabashed standing atop the ruins of her vanquished life and declaring ever so sprightly ‘Tomorrow is another day’.

Scarlet awes me with her ability to look things in the eyes and call them by their right names...she continues to inspire with her unconventional outlook to life, her inconsistencies and her blemishes..she makes me want to emulate no matter how ever controversial her words, deeds and motives.

Thus my tribute to Scarlet, my alter ego.