It’s Not About The Movie, Silly

This one is for the ladies. How many times have you been stuck, not doing anything, simply because you had nobody to do it with? Now now! Don't get funny ideas. I'm talking about all those times, when you wanted to travel to some far off place for a vacation, eat at the new restaurant serving Moroccan food, or simply go for a movie...but couldn't because your friend or significant other couldn't or didnt want to join you. And you simply didn't have the guts or gumption to go it yourself. 'Log kya kahenge' was perhaps uppermost in your mind. 

I faced a similar situation during my days as a single woman in Ahmedabad. I love watching movies. But lack of a friends circle kept me from the movie halls. Till I decided 'what the hell. I'm living alone. What's the big deal about watching a movie alone?' People thought I was weird and crazy. Single woman going alone to watch a movie! But it was a wonderfully liberating experience. To do something one liked to do without being dependent on anyone.  

It looks like I'm not alone anymore. There are more free thinking women like me. I'd like to introduce you to one such. My good friend Ipsita. A superwoman who juggles many roles successfully - professional par excellence, full time mom and of course a shoulder to cry on when the need arises. Among her many talents are those of writing. She has amazing clarity of thought, superb articulation and impressive command over the English language. 

So here's my first guest post by Ipsita. 


It’s not about the movie, silly

To be fair, Deepak, my husband takes me to a movie about ninety percent of the times that I want to. He peacefully works on his blackberry whether it is Kahani or Barfi, occasionally quipping gems like Agent Vinod should have been titled Travel Agent Vinod! I sometimes suspect that he enjoys two interrupted hours with the love of his life, blackberry.

Yet, my decision to go and watch English Vinglish alone elicited strange responses from within me that questioned the basic foundation of marriage and the idea of companionship.

Jaadoo, my seven year old son, had told me in no uncertain terms that movies gave him headaches. Deepak was in some strange part of the world, that I thought only Herge’ would be interested in as a nice setting for a Tintin adventure. I do not have too many friends and my best friend was preoccupied. So, I decided to go for the movie alone. I don’t know if that was the only option or the most obvious one.

I got ready and went to the theatre for the 10 a.m. show, timing it in a way that Jaadoo’s routine was not disturbed. As I drove through Road no 2, Banjara Hills, I caught a glimpse of fellow carwalas- serious, business like, no nonsense. Many appeared to be deeply engaged in serious conversation in their empty cars - bluetooth of course ! Unlike me, they all had a sense, well ok, a look of purpose in their demeanour.  I felt a little, (borrowing from Punjabi) ‘wela’ - one who has nothing to do. Whatever the statistics have to say about unemployment rates in India, not too many people are so jobless as to watch a morning show on a weekday.…but I felt happy and free and I how loved that feeling.

At the theatre, it was a smooth run, first in the short queue, easily available tickets. No surprise there. Lazily picked up a cup of cappuccino.  My fellow movie watchers could be broadly classified into three categories - college types making the most of their new found independence of bunking classes and giving a damn; lovers who sought two hours of privacy and comfort; housewives, kitty party types who kept gushing over Sridevi’s saree  and commenting on her botox.  In this crowd, I was neither here nor there. But it did not matter, really.

This feeling- that ‘it really does not matter’ was so liberating. When I first thought about it, this innocuous idea was met with resistance from strings in my own head that got pulled in various directions. I had grown up ‘knowing’ that eating fuchkas (golgapps, panipuri) and watching movies –cannot be done alone. Given this, does this state of ‘having to watch a movie alone’ have deeper implications?  Does it symbolise an assertion of independence. Or does it mean that I have given up on the idea of finding companionship? Does it mean that I am lonely, forlorn? Something inside me tells me, Easy, Madam,  Easy, remember the ad from the 80s?

Well, the answer is a both Yes and No. Finally and fundamentally, we are all on our own. Depending on others, however close, for happiness is an invitation to disappointment. Making others responsible or rather accountable for our happiness is just not fair. Why weigh them down with our expectations? In this particular case, why hold on to reluctant companionship by dragging a tired and an unwilling family to a theatre.  

Finally, ‘movie alone’ was an experience in guilt-free self-indulging. Not having to think - is the child getting tired? Is the husband getting bored?  And it was quite liberating - glances trying to ascertain if it was a case of ‘boyfriend not turning up’ - notwithstanding.

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9 Responses to It’s Not About The Movie, Silly

  1. anilkurup says:

    "Kuch To Log Kahenge
    Logon Ka Kaam Hai Kehna...."


    Besides,
    There is an element in solitude, a rare moment that only solitude can give , grab it and one can enjoy the bliss, man or woman.

  2. Sudeshna says:

    Wonderful post....Ipsita......I've heard about you from Deepa,and today, got an opportunity to know you more tangibly.

    It is a rare treat ......to get the company of solitude. So....you have not really given up on 'companionship' ....... rather you enjoyed exploring the different shades of companionship....

  3. Jack says:

    Ipsita,

    It is those who have absolutely narrow vision that point a finger at a woman doing something so innocuous like seeing movie or visiting restaurant or eating golgappas alone. As long as she is aware of her safety there is no harm being at her own to enjoy good time. I agree with what Anil quoted in couplet above. Do you blog?

    Take care

    Deepa,

    Thanks for introducing her.
    Take care

  4. yes...Ipsita has terrific command over english which she mixes up with all sense of humour that i know very well and at the same time people here have to excuse me for my Vinglish as i am a pass out from a bengali medium school.. given the fact that she has written in a lighter note her experience still many questions were hidden in the beautiful experience narrated here by Ipsita..all about social status being seen from a birds eye view for a forced single woman.. Punchline of the whole story or the realistion that"Making others responsible or rather accountable for our happiness is just not fair. Why weigh them down with our expectations?"lovely writing...get us more like this......

  5. Sandhya says:

    I admire your guts which I don't have even to buy a coffee alone in a coffee shop! I always tell myself that it is high time I started going to movies and restaurants alone...ooohum! Don't know how to take the first step!

    You are a good narrator, Ipsita!

  6. Renu says:

    I never think much before going out alone anywhere.rather like it..specially window shopping..I get tired if i have company because then we have to linger around for other's interests too.

  7. Well I dont know whether I sound weird, but I have been done this since I started earning, specially when I would be in a different city.. The one detrimental factor which prevents me to explore new eating joints all by myself is cost factor. Eating alone in an expensive restaurant gets pretty heavy on my pocket, so would prefer a company.. Anyways have defnitely enjoyed my 'me only' explorations in cities and restaurants and catching up a movie..

  8. AMODINI says:

    I so agree - the ability to do what you want alone is very empowering - whether you actually do it or not hardly matters!

  9. Sandhya says:

    I haven't seen you for a long time! Hope you are well, Deepa!