WHAT IF?

During one of those coffee break with colleagues, a question popped up. What kind of movies do you like? Everyone chipped in. Genres like action, sci-fi, love stories *cringe*, thrillers, superheroes etc. And alongside came very valid reasons for their respective choices. Me too with chipped in supported with facts from IMDB regarding records, nominations & awards. Elaborate attempts were made by everyone to prove why one is better than others. Why musicals are boring or superheroes are for kids & teenagers or romance is dead & corny these days. As usual, break time was limited & we returned to our work-spaces. However, a brief discussion still ensued till the end of the day between two of us as we did not have much to do in the later part of the day. Since we sit next to each other so we could still talk when the daily conference call was still in progress. We could pretend to listening to folks in the call easily while continuing with our debate. As call got over, we had to leave for our homes but we decided to at least walk together till the exit of SEZ & then depart.

So while in the lift, she asks me, “OK forget the choices & this discussion, tell me one movie which you thoroughly enjoyed recently. Make sure you impress me.”

“La La land” without much thinking I responded. I guess answer is going to be the same until a similar movie drops in. I think I have already annoyed few people with my love for the movie & everything about it. Be it the choreography, music or its artwork. And I had spotted my next victim.

“Oh nice, I saw it recently too. Loved it. Money, effort & time, a lot of which was in traffic, very well spent. What did you like the most about it?”

“I guess the execution. That is how art is supposed to be as per me. Simple storytelling with simple yet effective execution.”

“Ehh, don’t know what’s that supposed to mean”

Inner me tells me “You could have said acting & music. That’s how movies are measured in our country, isn’t it”. Anyway I tried explaining “Well see. Did you feel the story sort of blew your mind? Have you not ever seen a movie where struggling people achieve their dreams?”

“Well yes, Pursuit of happiness comes to my mind on that.”

“Exactly. Moreover, was their love story any different? Boy meets girl & there are lots of songs, for us it should be Deja-vu with the kind of movies we make here”

“I guess I didn’t notice. True that.”

“Did them floating in the planetarium made any sense? No! right, but that is the beauty of art in my view. It just shows you the things you already know in a different light I guess. It is more effective when you sort of connect with that simplicity, e.g. characters in a movie.”

“I guess yes. It was so beautiful on a 70 mm screen but the ending sort of broke my heart somewhat.”

“I liked that bit somehow. They were too different in terms of personality so…”

“That’s quite sadist to be honest.” In a hurried voice she shot back.

“Come on, that is a movie” I tried to play it down.

“Yeah, but you could root for them to be together” She had no intention of letting it go so soon.

“May be, but isn’t life is like that. Beautiful but heartbreaking in its own way at times.” I tried to avoid it using an open ended philosophical rambling.

“Was it the coffee you sipped or did it have something in it?” asked she with a puzzled look.

“I think the free coffee did the trick on a fine Bangalore evening” I just had to clarify.

“But again, elaborate?” obviously not convinced with my initial bit of rambling.

“Well in a way that you do not always get what you want. Tell me one thing, are you in that phase of life where you exactly wanted to be at this age? Are you satisfied with your job, weight, height, traffic, city or any damn thing” I tried reasoning some more throwing in my favorite; existential crisis argument.

“No. Of course not. Is anyone?” the obvious answer came.

“That is the point. Or are you with the exact person you thought you were going to be with at this moment of life?” I tried extending the previous argument to a more personal note.

“At this exact moment, that definitely not. That person would know how to drive & drop me home instead of making me walk after a day’s work.”

“Duly noted” I admitted with a poker face “But you get my point. I guess I saw a reflection of my own life in that ending. That the goals you set for yourself do not end up being achieved. At least not all of them. Be it career or personal life. Or how many of goals are mine and how many of them have been due to just being in this rat race of life with everyone. Also it did not preach me most annoying lesson of life — it’s going to be okay or something similarly irritating like another happy ending. It just sorts of left me hanging, pondering over it.”

“May be. I was occupied with the ending so didn’t see that way. Along similar lines, have you read The last leaf, O Henry?”

“No but I saw its adaptation, Lootera so I guess I know the story.”

“Yeah, your hypothesis may work there as well. Two personalities, who weren’t for each other. But I wonder what reflection would you see there?”

“Let me think for a moment” taken aback but somehow came up with “When you got something or someone, may be give your best. Live in the moment may be”.

“And then fall off a tree or get shot at by police I guess.”

“That’s witty” I had to confess “But why not, the ultimate heartbreak of life, death !!”

“For a moment if this hypothesis were true, I guess that’s why people may like love stories. Because they relate to it & want to live in that fantasy for a bit. They see a, what’s that word you overused”

“Reflection” I said with slight embarrassment.

“Yes, I guess of their self or ideally where they would want to end up.”

“Yes if you put it that way then may be.” I could see my own argument turning against me.

“Again, an art genre, however inferior you may claim, it’s simplicity touches people in a different way. May be life is heartbreaking in a way but this genre may be give them hope or just fantasies for a brief moment in lives. But boy they could be corny”

“Fault in our stars or Notebook?”

“No, they were nice. Faults is a best seller”

“Notebook too I guess. Don’t get me started on Faults. Two cancer patients sneaking around for two hours or for a complete book, isn’t depressing?”

“Not sure about depressing but insensitive for sure on your part for saying that.Art has different meanings for everyone”

“Well yeah, that is true. But I can judge them for what meaning they derive” I tried to take some advantage of that.

“And they are free to judge you for your inferences.” She took another shot.

“Point duly noted.” I said admitting slight defeat.

“But tell me one thing” she wasn’t letting it go so easily “If you say so, let’s say life is that way, do you mean to say we live a life of compromises?”

“As in ?”

“So you say most of the time we do not get what we want & you start reflecting time and again. Doesn’t mean everything in this life is a compromise for most of us?”

I didn’t have an answer ready despite all the effort I put for few seconds. Still I it a shot “Well, for a lack of word may be yes. But I genuinely would not want to label it that way.”

“Me neither”

Awkward silence ensued for a brief moment but then we arrived at the exit of SEZ. So usual goodbyes happened. But she turns around and ask, “So tell me one thing, let’s say you have accepted that life is heartbreaking in its own way”.

“Yes for sure”

“Do you still wonder about what ifs of life? And then think through them, no matter how old they are.”

“Of course I do & I guess everyone does it.”

“But if you claim to accept life for what it is, isn’t that exercise pointless”

“I do not know but I would ask few more people on this for their opinion. And I would say bye at that” Annoyed at my own argument turning against me, I waved my hands & literal white flag at her.

“See you tomorrow at our heartbreaking office to feed ourselves in this heartbreaking life.” Was her parting shot.

I plug in my iPod, turn on the radio &started to think whom to ask this question. And this song being played was hinting at few what ifs of years gone by.

Like what you read? Give 1otherface a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.