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The Cynical Dreamer

Image Last night I sat watching the romance drama film “Mohabbatein”, I agree that it is embarrassingly illogical and dramatic, but well, a case analysis of case law in special contracts sucks the life out of you and extreme measures like viewing non-intellectual films is the only recourse. I had mainly three observations which I would like to proceed to enumerate. Alas, the language of my case analysis assignment is leaking into my leisurely late night writing too. But my first two observations on the movie are from the point of view of the somewhat mature, logical law student. If you are bored by now, wait for three seconds and read the next line, if you have absolutely zilch interest in a young girl’s comparison of her view of the world as a child and as a young woman, then please do close the tab, I shall not be wounded by your rejection I assure you.

The biggest flaw that leapt out of the movie, that had caught my attention once before was the character of Preeti Jhangiani, Mrs Kiran Khanna, who is the 19 year old widow of a retired Major General’s Pilot son , who was pronounced missing in action 2 years ago. I used to wonder that at what age did she get married in the movie and today when I patiently watched the entire film, my question was answered; she was brought into her marital home at the age of 17. I can’t fathom how the script writer thought that it was acceptable and okay to portray an underage, minor bride in the year 2000, the millennium, that tpo in the family of highly educated people as shown in the movie? The law student in me itches to point out the illegality of it all, my sociology major roommate might even point out that how it re-enforces the message that underage marriages are okay and there is nothing wrong with them. But I guess the audience was not expected to give such deep thought to details of this nature.

Another fact that irks me a little is one that is central to the plot of the film, i.e. Aishwarya Rai’s character Megha committing suicide because the man she loves has been kicked out of college and sent away to a place she knows not where. While I do not dis-respect people who have the misfortune of taking their lives and highly scorn people who call them weak, I really don’t think the movie should be glorifying her “death for love” and using it as a tool to teach her father, the strict Headmaster of the college the importance of love, art etc. etc. I mean let me get this straight, suicide is not a nice thing; it should be avoided at all costs right? A greater part of the population frowns upon the “Twilight” series and its second book, where the heroine Bella becomes first catatonic and later an adrenalin junkie because her boyfriend broke off their relationship, everyone agreed that a man’s love or for the matter of fact even a women’s love or the lack thereof should not make the other person lose interest in life. There are myriad of things and emotions that add quality to life, romantic love is not the only validating factor, after all who knows if one love is lost another might come your way. My questioning of the movie is on the exact same lines that the message that if romantic love is lost then life is irreparably damaged and listless is not one we want to send to people. Of course Shahrukh Khan’s character Raj Aryan is more gutsy and admirable, as after his girlfriend kills himself and his professional prospects are bleak, he still manages to make something of his life and even spread love, music and joy among his students. The feminist in me wonders if the portrayal of the female as the one who could not bear the separation was deliberate and purposeful, but then I am probably micro-analysing it and the sole purpose of the girl to kill herself was to give the hard-hearted headmaster some heart-ache.

These two observations are my opinion and everyone is free to differ, I might even agree and concede to them if they can be convincing enough. But these thoughts were what came to me at the last, my first and foremost thought was on a more whimsical note.

This movie released when I was barely 5 years old, in Upper KG, having the time of my life. I grew up on YRF romances and till date enjoy them from time to time. Slowly I began understanding Hollywood romances, albeit the censored versions on TV. Then finally at the appropriate age [don’t worry my mother was aware] I graduated to the mainstream fodder for romantic souls, Mills and Boons and Harlequin romance novels varying from fantasy, historical to mystery. Books were always a joy to me and when I discovered them to have romantic themes; I predictably got interested in them. I am now realistic and cynical enough to know that relationships are not all flowers and dates, they are painful and difficult. Observing the individuals around me I know that people one could fall in love with are not without faults, and we ourselves are ridden we faults big and small, lack of common interests or even time are the undoing of relationships. But at 5 I had more rose tinted view of the concept, the TV was full of movies that showed how people fell in love in college, like in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, or High School students with exciting love and social lives as in Hip Hip Hurrah. Years later as teen I have to still absorb all these fictional stories about American schools and colleges where apparently all students care about it is love, or better yet lust. Now of course I am aware that this isn’t so.

Having finished schooling without seeing any remarkable romances around me I am pretty sure they aren’t all that common. But as a young child between the ages of 5-10 I used to wonder if my later years of schooling would be that glamorous, after all if Gabriella Montez the nerd in High School Musical could have an epic romance why not me? But as it so happened that neither the environment nor the people around me in High School were conducive for an epic romance. The little girl I was had even seen romances based in college, like in this movie, a boys college, a close by girls one. Or other movies like Pyaar mein Kabhi Kabhi where Dino Morea is the lover boy, and finds his girl in college and they too playfully fall in love. But hello! I am through a year and a half of college and nothing like this is happening to me, it might be happening around me though so the 5 year old version of me isn’t as disappointed as she was in High School.

They say romance in fiction makes people unrealistic and makes their relationships unsuccessful, but it makes me all the more cynical as I am sure that these are just stories and highly unlikely to happen. I know that college romances often don’t last, I know that there are many more things to concentrate on like the future and friendships, and I also know that I am not just small fish, but phytoplankton in the big pond, nay the sea that my college is. So I don’t keep my hopes up, after all there still are movies and books where love is found by adults in their 20s! I still have hope, on a philosophical note, right now my motto is “Don’t search for love, it will find you if it has to.” But of course my motto will definitely change when in a decade or so societal pressures, the ticking biological clock or my own romantic nature when compel me to actively search for it.

Romantic movies like Mohabbatein or new ones like “Shudh Desi Romance” [I just can’t hide the fact that I am looking forward to it!] are a heart shaped lantern in this dark world where women and children are raped every few minutes somewhere in the country. They prove that somewhere someone has pleasant thoughts in their head and put an indulgent or wistful or even an annoyed smile on someone’s face. But till then realistic as well as whimsical fiction that is indulged in between lengthy essays and case analysis will keep my satisfied and sane. By whimsical I do not mean of the nature of Wizards, Werewolves or Vampires, I mean those stories of love-at-first-sight, uncontrollable passion and beaus who are perfect for each other without and character flaws. So I have rambled on about how differently the logical and romantic sides of me perceive the same thing, I guess the psychologist was right about this one, my Left and Right side of the brain are indeed balanced, and this regularly causes problems in decision making. So off I go to make another decision hinged on fact and fantasy…

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Now whoever is from the place that has been home to me for the past 5 years will recognise the above photo with ease as a part of their daily life and travel. As I stay up listening to music on the internet, I had sudden urge to listen to Kannada songs, now I confess I don’t know many, just a few that I heard on the radio in 10th grade (a very interesting part of my education). In fact I haven’t paid much attention to Kannada songs after that year ended. But the purpose of the last sentence was to say that, I ended up looking up these songs on Youtube, had a difficult time as I could barely spell the names…but in the end it was worth it. Beautiful songs that were a culmination of feeling homesick for quite some time. I knew I was homesick…not mum-sick…but proper home-sick, I even got sentimental seeing pictures of my school. When on the way to college while I listened to the radio, the jingle of 94.3 Radio One started playing, instead of the hindi lyrics that play up here, I found myself mentally singing along with the Kannada lyrics. I still do not remember what is the hindi version, but I most definitely know that the Kannada one goes along the lines of…Namma station nalli navu, haku hadu, baby super nodu…[forgive me for any blunders in the roman script spellings] thus cementing my opinion that I indeed am homesick. I miss the crazy windy days when a tiny person like me can get blown away, when sweaters come out in the middle of the summer and the rains create mini lakes everywhere. I was particularly missing my room in my grandpa’s house, where the large windows air-condition the room too a frosty temperature, the same windows where I used to sit and hum when I couldn’t fall asleep, too bad my hostel room window doesn’t bring any breeze in. Now that I have moved away, I regret not having learned the language spoken, every time my Kannadiga friends in college talk to each other in their mother-tongue, I get further home-sick and wish I had learnt the language so I could identify with the place a little more. I was never that attached to the city as I never saw much of it, but I guess you can’t not be attached to a place in which you cross the threshold of adolescence and live for almost half a decade. Take my advice and appreciate which ever place you live in, trust me, it could be worse and I have seen places worse than my home and my current place of residence.
So I am going to continue being homesick, plan to badger my friend from college for Mysore Pak and listen to songs I do not understand and heave wistful sighs, remembering my school days, when assignments were few, sleep was plentiful and food in my lunch box tasted good…