Yesterday, on a Thursday, I went to the movies.
Till date, as a family, as just the 4 of us, my father, my mother, my sister, and I, we have watched one movie in the theatre – Paatti Sollai Thattaadhe. At Solavandhaan theatre in Arasaradi, Madurai.
The very first movie I remember watching in the theatre is Sindhu Bhairavi. I do not know what prompted my parents to go for that movie. I must have been around 4. Halfway through I remember getting restless and being carried out, either by my mother or by my father and being walked somewhere.
The movie was released in 1985.
After that, there have been rare occasions where we tagged along with family friends, or with extended families to watch some movies. Had the rest of them not been there, the event wouldn’t have happened. In no particular order, I can remember almost all of them. Bharatham, His Highness Abdullah, Kilichundan Maambazham, Avvai Shanmughi, Thacholli Varghese Chekavar and Thevar Magan. I am not sure if I saw Oru Vaakkan Veeragaadha too.
I still do not understand the dynamics of my parents’ marriage then other than an unconfirmed feeling that it was exactly what K Balachandar movies tried to achieve in the 80s. The kind of movies that I still do not like to watch. Maybe it was his shitty movies that set the tone for the middle-class movie-going public in Tamil Nadu.
It came as a surprise when I came to know that my parents go to the movies nowadays in Trivandrum. They are accompanied by their driver.
I remember being taken, along with my younger sister, to two movies by my father. One was Raiders of the Lost Ark and the other was Jaws III. Cross-checking their release dates, that must have been the mid-80s. Coincidentally I hate Steven Spielberg with a vengeance.
Discounting Freudian associations, it is ironic that the movies I remember I was taken to as a child were movies of directors that I hated as an adult. I have tried watching their movies at various stages after I moved out and started living on my own unsuccessfully.
All those experiences lead me to a conviction that adults had no interest in anything. Adults loomed in all their depressing and sad glory.
For the longest time, I was not disabused of this theory.
I do not understand the regimental decisions that ruled my life and shaped my personality. It is a fascinating study of failure that I hope I do not inflict on Mira.
I still feel a sense of betrayal, a sense of failure, when I apply for a vacation. Even when sick, I have the urge to explain myself and establish beyond doubt that I am so sick that I cannot go in to work when drafting a sick leave mail.
At my level, my company gives me unlimited sick and casual vacations. If I am falling sick, I shore myself up with Vitamin C, Oranges, Cough Syrups till the weekend hits and then I let myself go.
I look at her sometimes wondering how I should go about making her aware of the many choices of life. The many ways life can be lived. I know some things I want for her. For her to be able to not blink twice about breaking rules – even for frivolous pursuits. For her to be able to win people over effortlessly and drag them to movies and dinner dates. For her to know that life has no rules and that any structure she encounters is only a form of many that exists somewhere.
In my struggle to show her how life can be lived, I am forced to reflect how much I am behaviorally still shackled by my formative years.
When someone pointed out that I don’t like to have fun even when offered the chance, even though that is what I keep harping about, I realized what I wanted was not the opportunity to have fun, but the ability to lose myself unselfconsciously in the presence of anyone else. In some ways I feel like Cypher from Matrix when he says “I don’t want to remember nothing. Nothing. You understand? And I want to be rich. You know, someone important, like an actor.”
How do I make sure she grows knowing what she has, what she doesn’t have, what she can have, what is out there; so that she can step on my shoulders of experience and grow?
Maybe I can live like how I preach.
Draft a sick leave, go for a movie on a Thursday, even when Neha says she can’t join me.
I went to Rampage, starring the Rock.