Jacintha Morris has just been introduced to the many charms and harms of the web. The latest ambassador of cringe pop, the 50-something writer and amateur singer is baffled by the things that the Internet has thrown up after her video Is Suzzaine a Sinner created ripples on the net over the past few days. “I didn’t know that YouTube was such a huge and popular medium; that people from other countries would watch my video. I only had Kerala or India in mind,” she admits in a heavy Malayali accent over the phone.
If you have been living under a rock and not caught a glimpse of Morris’ so-bad-it’s-good piece of work, it features a woman going through different stages of her life, while being constantly scrutinised for it. She croons, “Bosom straight, hips swayed, all men cheered and waved. She greeted all in a husky voice, old men melted to their youth, all of them breathed through their mouth, but sudden blood gush only to soothe.” The video has garnered over 11 lakh views in a week — but that’s not good news. “Till the time it hit three or four thousand views, people were appreciating it. Then when the numbers went up, people were disliking it.
There were some who created fake Facebook profiles of me and uploaded pornographic pictures on it. They said all kinds of things. I am not very tech-savvy, so it was my daughter and son-in-law who told me about what was happening. They were crying on the phone because I have been tagged in a dirty manner. They said ‘you don’t know what kind of a mess you are in, people are laughing at you.’ I got goose bumps. I almost collapsed.”
Interestingly, Morris’ daughter features in the video herself, where she plays a teenage version of her mother. She isn’t the only family member. The men ogling in the video are Jacintha’s brothers-in-law, the nuns are her sisters and the judge, her brother. “They were all supportive and really enjoyed the video until I got this negative feedback. My son-in-law asked me to pull down the video, but how could I? It was my dream project, something I had invested so much in!”
Of course she took it down with the help of her friends, but by then many other websites had picked it up and it was already a sensation. What irked her further was that trolls compared it to Taher Shah— a Pakistani singer who Jacintha hadn’t heard of before. “I didn’t know what to say!”
But Jacintha wants her work to be seen for what it is — a voice of women and reason. “Suzzaine is representative of many women in Kerala. I have interacted with many women in my career as a government employee. I see a pattern here, that these women in their childhood and teens were not bad. So what happens to them when they get old? When they grow older they are tagged as bold, women who don’t care for family or husbands. Is Suzziane really a sinner? I want people to think about why this happens.” Jacintha believes it’s the men. “Of course I haven’t mentioned that in the video because I don’t want another charge saying I am a man-hater,” says Jacintha who has authored eight books of poetry and short stories.
We ask her if the episode has left her bitter and if she’ll get back to doing other creative things. “There is a wound and it will take time to heal. But I am a creative person. The creative juices will flow one way or the other. It’s a divine flow.”