Strange it is how sometimes things happening around you are not motivation enough to write but a contrived screenplay of a couple of hours on the big screen forces you to send your brain cells for a little jog or may be a leisurely saunter in the by-lanes of your mind, so far blocked or ignored in life’s humdrum.
I knew the story would not appeal to my husband, so I tagged along a couple of my girlfriends. We had seen Lootera and although he enjoyed it, he went weary with the pace. The Lunchbox seemed even tardier, like a soft uncertain wind trying to raise its head in a placid backdrop but bogged down before it can rise, managing only to rustle a few already withered or on-the-verge-of-crumpling leaves. Most people can’t relate to sentiments, especially when we are used to of motion or suppression.
I loved the movie.
Perhaps because I am, at a certain level one such leaf watching autumn slowly color my evergreen pride?
Perhaps because the idea of two people who are absolute strangers getting to bond through a thread of simple conversations, is not new skin for me?
Perhaps because as a woman I could relate to the restlessness in Ila’s form that wants to be heard, wants to be important and seeks a purpose of this all?
Perhaps because as a human I could empathize with Mr. Fernandez, a man who knows how to take care of himself but yearns to be taken care of?
Irrfan’s character is heart-warming, a face in the crowd yet subconsciously refusing to accept being one. He looked into that bathroom mirror and said that the space smelt of his grandfather and stiflingly comprehended that he was that grandfather ~ it was nothing short of a revelation for anyone who beholds such a marvelous conceptualization. He says he realized then he had turned old. Here was a man welcoming an early retirement, a man who lost his wife to old age and the same man who did not fathom when old age dawned on him. How amazingly well captured an emotion it was that only someone on this side of the fence would relate to!
Do we really realize how gradually age catches up on us? One day we are twenty and things move on, like a whirlwind sometimes and like the standstill of waters at the other. While weighed down in the twenties to establish our identity and lives, all too soon, thirty knocks at our door. We open the gates and let him in, as though it was in guise of opportunity, with a bit of apprehensions and some exhilaration too, for such a thing is anticipation. Little by little every day the same old drudgery as nothing changes and then one fine day we are forty and out of the blue everything’s changed forever.
But does the person who live inside the aging body really change? His aspirations, his fancies, his dreams, his desires, they remain ageless. He molds himself to the accepted beliefs of the society to behave in a certain mature way because that’s what adults do, to think in a grown up manner, to give up on particular things because it is the way the wheels of the society turn. He surrenders considering perhaps his aging bones too weak to stand before the frail fingers that could be raised. But the heart ~ It still remains at some threshold where it found its identity and continues to stay there. It just loses its legs or will to move on.
How empty are lives that get trapped in the wheels of earning a livelihood everyday so they have no time to stop and stare even at each other perhaps? And then some other voids that just make you stop and stare at them, having no motivation to stop doing it? Lives that have within their grasp everything a normal person should be glad to have and yet feel like sand hastening through the gaping edges of the begging palm.
I remember in the early years of my marriage I would leave little notes in my husband’s lunchbox, his office pouch, his wallet, his cupboard drawer, etc.-something that would remind him of me out of the blue and make him smile. Yes, a hopeless romantic like that. I would put up a picture of someone with open arms asking for an embrace or a sticker that said “I want you every day” in the inner cupboard door to catch his eye as soon as he’d open it. I would send him random messages of “miss you” at particular times to build the stimulation of meeting me upon reaching home eventually. I don’t know when I stopped. I don’t know when it began to seem that he had more important things to do than get bothered by inconsequential notes popping every now and then, every here and somewhere.
We give up and give in without realization.
When the protagonist says he should have looked at his wife laughing at those now forlorn serials a bit longer, my heart went out to him. Why do we realize we should have loved a little more, laughed a little longer, lived a little livelier only when it is no longer possible to do so?
I came across arguments on Twitter that stated had it been an aging woman and a young man in the same scenario, the society would have not been so generous in accepting it. Sad, that we want acceptance of the society for every bloody thing. They fail to realize that it’s not so much a matter of an old man and a young woman, or a married woman and a single man and other such classifications. Marital status or age is immaterial here. It’s the matter of two mortals trying to haul out their individuality through a reflection of similar needs in each other; the acceptance that such an unearthing of oneself is possible at any milestone in life and through our co-passengers in this journey, whether they boarded on the same route with us or not.
I was quite glad that the director here did not make a moral issue out of the entire predicament where the characters find themselves. When the man writes back to her asking if she would go to Bhutan with him, I quite anticipated a horrified Indian woman sentimentality surfacing that would go aghast at the idea of having crossed the line or even of its thought crossing her mind.
I silently rejoiced when she didn’t.
It is distressing to see people judge others without knowing what places in life they come from. What’s wrong with an old man finding a girlfriend? How is it morally a crime if a married woman finds solace in someone’s words outside the bounds of her matrimony that the dwindling threads of it fail to ensure? What right do we have to stop someone from getting happiness from whatever that redeems him unless we have better ways to ensuring it for him that pleases his hungry soul?
It’s a love deprived epoch that we live in,
Where money is easy to get and people difficult to find!
Where faces abound but familiarity fails!
Where we laugh too often but smile too less!
We live in a world where living it up is not thought as much as finishing it all up. Yes, the streaks of such ideas cross by even the sanest of minds. Like she said, we all find ourselves at some point or the other, ready to take the plunge but the depths to which we would have to fall, freezes our feet and numbs the mind. We continue where we are, allowing it to lead to a slow, excruciating death than a sudden, end-all one.
Little battles of little people. Millions of lunchboxes opening every day and so do millions of hearts. And day after day, without a second glance, with eyes riveted to some other priority each time, they come to a close. And the sun sets and the sun rises and the fan on the ceiling continues to sway.