Nandita Das

Letter from a friend

  • July 26, 2005

Here’s a letter that I received from a very dear friend. I felt an urge to share it with everyone on the blog.

Dear Nandita…

This email is written in a sombre mood, but I’ve been thinking of you since London.

7th July, 14th July, 23 July (Egypt), when next and where next? As this question plagues the Western world, I am haunted by the four mothers who lost their sons on 7/7-four mothers who gave birth to those sons-four mothers who even if they never wore hijab, will be in purdah now for the rest of their lives.

I imagine conversations they are having with eachother, with themselves. These are not the Palestinian mothers whom we have

occasionally seen blessing their sons before they embark on their suicide missions. These are mothers who were busy selling fish and chips while their sons were planning mass murders. These are mothers who were clueless and therefore ordinary. I heard the Jamaican mother (in purdhah and sunglasses) addressing the world on television; apologizing to the world, grieving for her son, and for the mothers and fathers of the victims of the London attacks. I felt so sorry for her. I can¹t explain it, but it made my heart break.This is all it takes now. Four young lads with backpacks saying Khudahafiz at King’s Cross station and then boarding the

tube. Four English lads, not bearded mullahs raised in madrasas of NWFP. Nabeel knows these neighbourhoods in Northern England. He lived near Leeds, and went to Leeds Uni. In another generation, he would¹ve played cricket with these boys. Few days ago, Nabeel wandered into the conservatory and said, I don’t want to care about the bigger things, it’s all bollocks anyway, I just want to focus on what gives me joy and pleasure in my life. It was an apathetic sentiment, totally unlike Nabeel, but that morning, I know he meant it.

This kind of violence reminds me of those demons in Amar Chitra Kathas of our childhood days. I forget the demon¹s name but he was a terror to behold-blessed so that he could not be slain at day or night, neither on earth nor in water, naked nor clothed, and each drop of his blood that touched the ground would gave birth to a 1000 more.

It makes me so so sad. Despite the periodic stabs of pain in one¹s chest, one moves on. And eventually forgets. But somehow I can’t get the mothers out of my mind’s eye. I want to write a short film. A mother’s letter to My Son – The Terrorist. xx Shuchi

Virata Parvam


Director: Udugula Venu

Language: Telugu

Character Name: Shakuntala

Key Cast: Kundan Alexzed, Chakrapani Ananda, Banerjee

Feastivals and Awards: NA

Film Stills: 9

BTS: 11