The Jayalalithaa memorial, courtesy The Hindu BusinessLine

Those were the lines of a teaser campaign that ran several decades ago to introduce Superman. The Man from Madras Musings could not help reflecting on this when he saw the memorial of our State’s own Superwoman being unveiled. Mind you MMM must issue a clarification here that he did not share in the popular sentiment of the lady being a Superwoman but her followers made her out to be one and who knows, maybe she believed in it herself. But there is no denying that she was a person with enormous capability.

The powers that be have it that what is depicted is a phoenix, the mythical bird that rises from its ashes. MMM does not see any resemblance, not that he has ever seen a real phoenix, excepting the mall that goes by that name of course. To MMM the structure does not look like anything other than a warplane just about to take off. This may not be entirely inappropriate, for the lady concerned was a fighter all her life. MMM also sees much poetic justice in all of this. The old man, he of rising son fame, had built what he thought was a lasting memorial to himself, viz the new legislative assembly and secretariat building. The mater dei of Tamil Nadu politics, namely the personality who now lies in eternal rest under the phoenix like plane or plane like phoenix had once famously dismissed that grand edifice as a circus tent. It must have caused old man enormous distress though MMM cannot but reflect that even he, the old man that is, must have seen the logic behind such a description. Now in a comeuppance of sorts, the lady who fought against daddy, howdy and others has an outlandish memorial to herself. It is a pity the old man is not around to see it. He lies not far removed and may for all we know even now be quaking in fear over what kind of a memorial will come up over him. After all, it was he who began the practice of strange-shaped tombs, building the first of the series for his mentor also known as Elder Brother.

The above phoenix/plane was unveiled last month in what can only be described as a glorious ceremony, as befitting Gloriana herself. She would have loved the pomp and circumstance though what our frontline health workers thought of the crowds that gathered is another matter. As the newspapers are fond of writing, thousands lined the streets, as presumably did a similar number of Covid viruses.

And then, the memorial was ordered closed almost immediately after it was thrown open. The ostensible reason is that some more time was needed for getting some special displays added (if so why was it inaugurated at all?) but as everyone knows, the real reason lay elsewhere, somewhere near Bengaluru. MMM imagines that the structure is now being tested for ability to withstand a second set of three solid whacks.