Thursday, March 20, 2014

Time Travel

Nice 2012

If you could travel back in time to undo all the mistakes or rectify situations or  simply revisit those moments, how wonderful it would be. In the movie “About Time”,when twenty-one year old Tim was told by his  dad that the men in their family could travel back in time not to change history of the world but to undo or redo something, he did not believe his dad. What Tim has to do is to find a dark place and clench his fist and concentrate on the time he wants to revisit. The ability to travel in time allows Tim’s father to travel back in time to read again and again some of his favourite books and also to spend more time with Tim. The film is a sweet story about love and time travel.

There were always things we would like to be able to undo or redo. There are always regrets in our lives but we have to move forward as what is done is done. Perhaps  if you had gone a different path, you might not be where you are now, there is no guarantee it would have been a better place.

Sometimes we may find ourselves reminiscing about those glorious days which probably never really quite happened the way we had remembered they did. We tend to feel nostalgic about the past. My younger daughter wonders how her parents had got by without computers while doing their assignments during varsity days. I guess we all make do with whatever available at the time. The ex Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew in his book One Man’s View of the World wrote, ‘There is no going back to the way the world was in the past. We cannot dis-invent the aeroplane, the Internet, the iPhone and iPads. You accept the world as it is , and find the best way of maximizing your fortunes as a society, or you are left behind by the relentless pace of change found everywhere else. The world cannot possibly stop spinning for your sake.

Amidst all the technological inventions and the web world, every man and woman has to soldier on his or her own path in their lifetime. During your time on earth, you will meet your family, your foes, the people who befriended you and the men and women who fell for you and the man or woman your family thought you were going to marry and the man or woman you eventually married. Do we all change over the years and were we changed by some of these people who had tried to change us because they felt that they knew better? We are what they think we are and they think we are pretending to be what we think we are. For self  preservation, we forget what we choose to forget and remember only what we want to remember. We do ultimately become what we think we are about with and without the influences of those we come into contact and the parameters the modern world  might have imposed on us.

Last week, I attended a friend’s birthday lunch and a friend who was present at the party lent me her DVD for the film ‘The Great Beauty ( La Grande Bellezza)’. I was definitely delighted to be given the opportunity to watch the movie that had recently bagged the Best Foreign Language Film  at the 86th Academy Awards as well as the Golden Globe and the BAFTA award in the same category. The movie opens with a quote that I have since learnt and it came from Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s Journey to the End of the Night (Voyage au bout de la nuit, 1932): To travel is very useful, it makes the imagination work, the rest is just delusion and pain. Our journey is entirely imaginary, which is its strength. The movie is a comedy that captures the grandeur of Rome. It is about Jep Gambardella, an aging journalist who wrote a novel in his twenties and has not been able to write anything of note since and for the past decades he only fills his life with parties and frivolity. The protagonist seems to  have wasted  and squandered  away his talents and on his sixty-fifth birthday, he takes stock of his life and he thinks about his past. The cinematography is beautifully executed and the mood is melancholic. During the movie, I cannot help thinking that  our lives are full of hypocrisy and shallowness at various points of our lives. While I know that we must not take life too seriously, I still believe that there is a reason to everything that happens and what we do and how we think matter. A few months ago, I was looking through some photos taken of my teenage days. One of the photos was taken with a particular cousin sister who passed away today. A few weeks ago, I  received news that she  had fallen very ill due to onslaught of a couple of strokes and she  was then suffering from fourth stage lung cancer. Her sudden illness had come as a shock to her family and relatives. Over the past years, we had only met up occasionally partly due to geographical differences. It  is very sad for me to learn about her passing as I came to know that she has unfulfilled dreams and unrealized yearning. I will always remember her beautiful soulful eyes. 

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