Life and Death

Yesterday dawned bright.

It was Nelson Mandela’s 95th birth anniversary. The entire world celebrated his birthday while he was in hospital, making a speedy recovery. It was good news. He is an icon of hope and an inspiration to me and a lot of other youngsters.

Who wouldn’t appreciate and admire a man who refused six offers of freedom from prison life, for the good of his fellow country men? Thirty seven years in a 2m *2.5m cell and hard work in a lime quarry, no wonder the whole world looks up to him!

I once came across a famous quote from his autobiography, ‘Long Walk to Freedom’,

“In South Africa, it is hard for a man to ignore the needs of the people, even at the expense of his own family”.

(Read the whole chapter here)

This was something that moved me a lot. Those words weren’t merely a combination of letters; it was his life, and to take it all and still rebel! Just the mention of his name brings a fond smile on many faces. That’s how much change he has inflicted in us all. I witnessed how much people appreciated him when he made his public appearance in the closing ceremony of the FIFA World Cup held in South Africa back in 2010.

Nelson Mandela

Musing on this, I spend the rest of yesterday, until I heard a bad news. Vaali, the great Tamil poet and lyricist died at the age of 81. The news came as an absolute shock. He was the only poet to have penned lyrics for four generations of actors. Over 15000 great songs he wrote and movies in which he worked are yet to be released.

His death struck me unlike any other deaths. I never realized how much I appreciated him until I heard that he had stopped breathing. I had never thought of a poet like him growing old; I always felt like he would be around forever, penning introduction songs for actors yet to arrive.

In everyone’s personal favourite songs, (whatever the genre, situation and period) will be a majority of Vaali’s words. We may not realize it, but it is so. That was his specialty.


It indeed ended a sad day.


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