Chennai, (Asian independent) ‘Chithi’ — the Tamil word for the mother’s younger sister who is affectionate to her nephews and nieces — has come into prominence after US’ Democratic Party Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris used it in a speech to stress her Chennai roots.
However, there is another person who is also called ‘Chithi’, but may not be as loving to all children. This is the father’s second wife or the step-mother, after the death of the first wife.
The general perception of this ‘Chithi’ is that she is a wicked woman who harshly treats the children of the first wife.
There have been instances where the children of the first wife were ill-treated by the second wife, who showered all love, affection and preference on her own children.
The father is usually a mute spectator, though initially ridden with guilt, but then, over a period time, comes under the influence of his second wife.
There are several Indian movies in different languages to showcasing this ‘Chithi’.
On the other hand, there are good natured and loving ‘Chithis’, and the Indian film industry has also shown them in movies like “Chithi” (Tamil), based on the play by Vai. Mu. Kothainayaki, a popular woman writer of yesteryear.
The Tamil movie was remade in Hindi as “Aurat”, in Malayalam as “Achante Bharya”, in Telugu as “Pinni” and in Kannada as “Chikkamma”.
Also, Tamil soap opera “Chithi” on Sun TV, starring Raadhika Sarathkumar and Sivakumar, was very popular as its over 450 episodes were telecast for two years, from Monday-Friday.
And now “Chithi” season two is on Sun TV since January 2020.