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Sweet Kaaram Coffee Is A Nuanced, Feminist Telling Of Women’s Inner Lives

A widowed elderly woman, her daughter in law, and granddaughter - run away on to a road trip together. What follows is Sweet Kaaram Coffee.

Sweet Kaaram Coffee, a Tamil web series on Amazon Prime Video, has a simple base story. Three women from three generations, a widowed grandmother, a middle-aged mother, and a young daughter leave home overnight, on an impromptu road trip. As the story unfolds, they open up to each other and shed their inhibitions, truly understanding what they actually meant to one another.

It’s a beautiful, feel-good series and I wouldn’t wish to reveal too much. But I would definitely want to tell you why it’s novel and a must-watch for us women.

For starters, this one is something every woman, someone like you and me could relate to. These days, unfortunately, most OTT series tend to stick to the cliche, portraying independent women as foul-mouthed, career-crazy, alcohol-drinking, and cigarette-smoking creatures. Sweet Kaaram Coffee is so refreshingly different at many levels.

A road trip

The grandmother is done receiving sympathy from her family, she’s fed up of being treated like an invalid, when she’s capable of taking care of herself. The daughter is cross with her boyfriend who believes she has no future in women’s cricket.

But the series belongs to the woman of the house, a daughter-in-law, wife, and mother, in pursuit of perfection. She’s the last one to agree to the trip, but the first to be accused. Of being reckless and enticing an old woman and a young girl into a journey she desperately wanted. She’s forever made to feel guilty, so much so, that she feels her husband wouldn’t care less if she was even run over by a bus. But she puts this behind her and realizes her true worth during the journey.

Nuanced storytelling of women’s inner lives

There is no shouting from rooftops, no preaching. It’s all so subtle, at many points I felt like real life playing out onscreen. Just how many times in a day does it happen, that your husband gaslights you, mocks your inadequacies, and passes them off as harmless humour? Our children hurt our feelings, and fail to reciprocate our love, but we prefer to overlook. Do we not age-shame women, especially widows who wish to give love another chance? A young woman’s colour and figure still overshadow her talent, don’t they?

There are little moments that highlight the importance of a little appreciation, a small compliment, and some compassion. The three women open up freely about their pasts and their sexual desires, laugh at naughty jokes, set out on little adventures, fearlessly navigate their route, and taste freedom for the first time. Most importantly, they stand up for each other. I particularly like that one instant where the mother advises the daughter, that when you are confused about what to follow, career or love, choose what would make you happy. There are no set rules for happiness, working or not, it should be one’s own decision.

A different kind of MIL-DIL

Also, contrary to what most Saas-Bahu Indian melodramas show, the MIL and DIL share a realistic and cordial relationship in this one. When her son reprimands her DIL over the phone, she grabs the phone and states calmly, “Son, your wife has chosen not to be your maid anymore.”

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Sweet Kaaram Coffee is full of such mild and sweet moments that carry home some important messages. About love, marriage, and parenthood. This I believe is feminism in the true sense.

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