|Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring in David Lynch's Mulholland Drive|
Over the past few days/weeks, I have been trying to catch up on a few films that I’d planned on watching eons ago. The joy of entering a multiplex is almost lost on me. So, the laptop screen presented itself as my savior. Less than half a decade ago, it was my trusted CRT monitor with its big ass picture tube, yoke and accompanying CPU that nurtured my film-going experience. I remember those days following the millennium when I first got addicted to cinema. Every day, I would aspire for the high point of raiding the pirates at Penta Menaka, which was then the equivalent of what we now refer to as a shopping mall.
My waypoints on these trips would be predestined. I’d get off the bus, head straight to the mall, go down to the basement and turn right into my favorite pirate’s den. My dealer’s face would light up like Tungsten as soon as I’d make my way in. I’d reciprocate his gesture and ask him, what’s new? He’d ferry me to a comfortable corner of his store and hand me dozens of titles that would instantly send me into a tizzy. Forget about the kid in a candy store syndrome, this was more like a junkie in withdrawal, begging for his latest fix syndrome.
Well, those were the good ol’ days. Of course there was torrent, but that would be like going on G-Talk instead of actually meeting somebody in person. No amount of internet research could make up for real world learning. And that’s something I learned firsthand during my pirate raids. The dealer would always have something new to show me. Some obscure European or Asian filmmaker I had no clue about would find his creations comfortably nestled within my dealer’s stock in trade.
Of course, I loved to return the favor. After all, this was a democracy and a free market, all rolled into one. Monopoly wasn’t really the idea. Live and let live. So while my dealer would brainwash me into parting with up to a grand or two on occasions, I would regale him with my take on why he should stock himself up with the entire David Lynch collection. I’d tell him about how cool Mulholland Drive is, and how Blue Velvet is like the most trippy mind screw ever. And he’d take my word for it. And he’d stock himself up with titles that I loved.
And I’d tell him to push those movies ferociously into the market. It might have been my latent wet dream to conquer the world. And maybe run into a cinema junkie on every street corner who’d badger me with stories of how Eraserhead messed up his mind. And I’d walk away with a self affirming nod, gloriously proud that my work in this world was done.
A lot has changed since then. I don’t dream of Oscar glory. I don’t dream of walking down the red carpet in a tuxedo, with a lovely lady on my arm, waiting with bated breath for my name to be called out as they announce the Best Picture. I am not looking for approval any more. I just feel a need to live for what it’s worth. Maybe trip down some villages around my country. If possible, see a few oceans around the world as well. I had dreams of writing a screenplay some time back. A long time back, actually. Some days, the dream returns. And I hope to succumb to it. Some days, I just feel like writing one good book. I do know how it feels to have strangers come back to you on something you have contributed to the literary space. I just don’t know how I’d feel to have penned something that would strike a resonant chord in a million hearts.
I guess it might just be an amplification of how I feel right now. I’d read somewhere that the Internet is just an extension of your real self. If you’re feeling lost in the real world, going online would make you only more miserable. And if you’re cheery in the offline world, the virtual terrain might just about be another happy place. Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad, Poor Dad fame likened this phenomenon to money. He says money makes happy people happier and sad people sadder.
Of course, like every other thing in the universe that’s been conjured up by man, there really aren’t any absolutes. And coming from a narrator as unreliable as me, you should know better than just base your beliefs on blind faith. I’m no Leonard Shelby (Memento) or Tyler Durden (Fight Club). I am not even Charlotte Rampling’s Sarah from Francois Ozon’s Swimming Pool. Heck, I am not even Kevin Spacey’s Verbal Kint from The Usual Suspects. But I do hope to belong to that esteemed pantheon of individuals whose intents outlive their actions, or vice versa.
To leave you with some food for thought, I’d like to refresh your memory with a lovely scene from The Matrix. It transpires when Morpheus takes Neo to see the Oracle, who gives Neo some bad news. The dejected Neo however, finds a reason to smile as The Oracle adds as an afterthought, “You don’t believe in all this destiny crap. You make your own destiny. As soon as you’ve walked out that door, you’ll feel just fine. Now have a cookie.”
|The glorious Gloria Foster as The Oracle in The Matrix|