Growing Old

There is something that I have been working on and during the process, we have been discussing The Lunchbox frequently.

And it has led to this post. Yes… everyone around, like many others, has completely been taken in by the movie.

I don’t know if there is an epiphany moment for growing old. A realization that heck! I am old. If epiphany is even the right word to describe the moment.. to me it does.

Till we are 18, we look forward to every year added to our age as exciting because it makes us a year older – a ticket to being allowed to do something more than when we were a year younger. But past 18, the feeling turns to ‘why’? and not ‘why not’.

So what is that epiphany moment that makes us realize we have becomeĀ old? Is it when you are 23 and you open the door and the little neighborhood kids call you Aunty?

Is it the first grey hair? Which by the way happens much earlier than it used to.. given the lifestyle that we lead. Is it the emergence of balding pattern?

Is it hitting 30? Is It? because in today’s context everything is happening earlier so hitting 30 in terms of chronological age is just a reaffirmation of what the mind has been saying for long enough.

Is it hitting 40? refer to the logic of 30.

Is it the ailment that used to be considered ailment of old people?

Is it the realization that the sales person gives you a weird look when you are checking out a red or a maroon pant?

Is it when you are at the gym and removing weights from the bar on the bench press coz the guy using it earlier had more weight on it than you had lifted in your entire life.

Is it when a young person tells you that he/she has never felt so comfortable talking with someone your age because you sound so young (are they cracking a joke? are they saying it to make you feel good? Hell.. don’t they realize they making you feel old!)

Is it when the thought of going for a party where you will get late and drunk makes you groan?

Is it when your daughter finds out that you have the Pit Bull song on your hard disk and gives you that strange looks and says “Dad.. you listen to Pit Bull??”!

Is it when someone says that “for someone like you.. you look so fit!” (polite enough to say that someone as old as you)

What is that epiphany moment which makes us realize we are old. Old in our mind because outwardly the older we get the more we tend to get younger.. in our appearance, in our behavior.. because there are a whole lot of these brands out there which have become billion dollar brands just by telling us that we wont look old by using them. yeah so is that an epiphany when we go and buy one of their promises?

Or is it a collection/combination of many factors that makes the moment happen?

In The Lunchbox, it is perhaps the most poignant scene when Irrfan Khan describes his moment and that defining line “Nobody buys yesterday’s lottery”. Till then the excitement, that whole smile on his face when he says the word Girl Friend. That looking forward to the lunch box.. not for food but for that letter inside… he is that adolescent in love for the first time. And then… then the smell of his grandfather in his washroom (buried deep in his sub conscious) which comes flooding his senses…

Ritesh Batra.. hats off to you. You can be sure that your movie will become part of many advertising agency presentations… when they want to pitch loneliness of urban Indians or the pangs of growing old…

And yes I don’t think I have had my epiphany yet. Or maybe I did but like many other things or moments.. I didn’t realize it happened.



The Lunch Box

So this review will get lost in 100 of other reviews that this movie will be getting. Accolades and praises for this awesome 109 minutes of cinematic brilliance.

And of course now controversy too since the movie is not official entry for the Oscars.

Irrespective of all that, those who have not watched the movie… please do. Sheer food for the soul.

I am not going to give the story away except for reference to the ending (or no ending).

What is amazing is the premise. The Mumbai dabbawalas are known for their efficiency and error free delivery mechanism. Wikipedia states one wrong delivery in 6-8 million deliveries. And the premise built on that one wrong delivery which leads to a feastĀ for emotions.

Now I am not the kind to go overboard for romantic movies. Give me action any day but this movie is stunning. Romance apart, which will leave an ache. Its the characters that make for the brilliance. Irrfan Khan… by the time he is done with Bollywood, he would have set benchmarks in acting that very few would be able to achieve. Here is a man who doesn’t have to say a word and yet says everything. Nawazuddin is in the same mode and the interaction between the two… it’s like you are watching two colleagues talk in front of you and not on a large screen.

Nimmat Kaur has done a fabulous job.. handling the myriad of emotions that go through a person when faced with something like what she does in the movie.

The climax when it happens. Actually it doesn’t. The titles just start rolling and the lights come on. I noticed that most people in the theater were still glued to their seats. Waiting for more. Waiting for a closure. Because convention says that each story must have an ending. Happy or otherwise… it needs a closure and this movie has no closure.

And that makes us human beings uncomfortable. All our lives we seek closure on everything. Everything that has a beginning, must at the end be neatly tied up and resolved. Very few of us go through life not seeking a closure. And the point is.. why seek a closure? Why does it satisfy us? Wont the life be lot more interesting if one did not have a closure? It would be a continuous streaming of experiences – multiple experiences that are happening at the same time and we are not boxing them into different compartments as done and dusted. Think about it.. lead a life without seeking closure or a finality or where it must end. Why should there be an end… You should not at the beginning of an experience define how you want the end to be… that is killing the experience even before it starts…

Am digressing though.. the point of this post was to talk about a brilliant movie and exhorting everyone to watch it..


Mumbai Blasts – Wag the Dog

First up, my condolences to the families of all those who were murdered last night in Mumbai.

Next a one line synopsis from IMDb of the movie Wag the Dog – “Before elections, a spin-doctor and a Hollywood producer join efforts to “fabricate” a war in order to cover-up a presidential sex scandal.”

Bombs have exploded and people have died and as already evident we already know that it was the Indian Mujahdeen who is supposedly responsible for this series of blasts. Yes there was an alert that was sounded about possible attacks and stuff but the cynic in me doesn’t believe these stories.

Here is a government completely caught up in corruption scandals. The functioning has come to a complete stop. No policy decisions are being taken. The image of the ruling alliance is taking a beating. We as people are just going on with our lives. or in some cases rallying around the Anna Hazares and Baba Ramdevs… hoping they would provide some salvation…

So how does one deflect attention of the people from all of this. Pull out the age-old trick – National security under threat. Explode a few bombs to heighten the impact. some lives sacrificed as collateral damage but hey suddenly the focus shifts from all the evils of this government… All the spokesperson of this party start talking about how the nation has to rally as one and protect itself against the turmoil created by these insidious divisive forces. And if this is not working.. get some more bombs to explode…

Kasab is still alive and we are spending lot of money to keep him safe… so are the other terrorists involved in various other incidents… Why?? Why is it that special task force teams are formed after each such attack and nothing ever comes out of it.

I think for every ruling party, keeping this bug bear alive by feeding it once in a while is a good thing. Pull it out, dust it and juice it for a while and we the people.. living in a Matrix would forget about everything else that is wrong with our country…

The strange thing is that life will move on… there will be more blasts… more investigations… more “terrorists” leading a cozy life at the tax payers expense. This wont end because it is not meant to. Every political party is the same.. so are those who say they will root out the evil… No one is really bothered about the country because we are not bothered… everyone will just continue to lead their own selfish lives.

Those who have not watched the movie… I recommend you do… it is an eye opener.. that is the tactic Bush used when he attacked Iraq… and what happens in this country all the time…