My red dell 1420, nicknamed Della became a wreck after we moved to Ahmedabad. Della gave up on the IIMA LAN and just couldn’t connect to the WIFI. Della ate up the already restricted storage space in my new house on the IIMA campus for a while until I started to work. Miraculously, sometime later, Della befriended the WIFI and I quit borrowing (read: stealing) R’s laptop for my work.
Last Wednesday, I sat in the Library at Raffles Millennium while my student was busy attempting the Product development test that I had set for her. I then decided to clear out the junk and discovered an unnamed movie folder. The folder brought back memories of a wonderful winter – spring transition of 2008.
I met R in the January of 2008. He wanted to do an MBA, loved ghazals and was a serious movie buff. My thoughts about him being a real and not a ‘wanna be’ movie maniac were confirmed when he brought a 300 GB external hard disk drive with him on one of our dates. He asked me to bring my laptop along and that day I was gifted a folder with over 50 of R’s all time favourite movies. The main folder was neatly divided into ‘seen’ and ‘not seen’ and I was given the ‘seen’ folder so that we could ‘talk about those later.’
Once the download was done, there was a moment of awkward silence. To move the conversation forward, I coyly asked him “which is your favourite?” My question turned out to be a date spent listening to the stories of why and what he liked in the movies he had saved and spent hours downloading. I wondered all through the conversation if I should even mention any of my favourite chick flicks for the fear of sounding immature. But damn the question – our conversation ended with him asking me to watch his favourite movie – “The Eternal Sunshine of the spotless mind.” A movie that by the sound of it had irked me to delete it from the folder at the very first instance was now on my ‘must watch’ list.
With a sheepish smile I promised him I would. Somehow my smile didn’t manage to blow him out this time and I was badgered with the same question for as long as I can remember – “did you watch it?” and my answer forever was “not yet” until I could stand it no more. One Sunday evening I put on my earplugs and sat down to watch and analyse the movie. I was soon discovered by my roommate sleeping on the laptop while the eternal sunshine quite literally shone upon me. Technically I had watched the movie; atleast played it from the beginning to the end. I sent an sms out to R “loved the movie.” Yes, I loved it – I had never slept so well through a movie. He never replied and we never spoke about it again. I wonder why!
The unnamed movie folder still lay on my laptop unopened for almost three years until now that I decided to make use of my idle time here in Ahmedabad. I decided to give R’s favourite movie another try. So this afternoon while R was busy as usual, I gave up my afternnoon nap, put on my earplugs, made myself a super cup of Gujarat’s favourite wagh bakri masala chai and pushed play. I hoped to pull through the movie that as per R was almost like one man’s greatest gift to fellow mankind.
I managed to watch it from the beginning to the very end. I didn’t just watch it, I enjoyed watching it! I enjoyed it so much that I found myself looking up the Alexander Pope poem that Mary (Kirsten Dunst) quoted during the movie.
“"How happy is the blameless vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd."
The movie begins with a background score that I had initially hated during my first attempt at watching it. My toleration levels were higher this time around and I soon discovered a beautifully created storyline. The idea about erasing one’s memory about a loved one, then to realise the intense love and feelings associated with the memory while going through the erasing process and the struggle to hold onto those. Phew! Heavy but definitely worth my afternoon siesta! Can't wait to "talk about it later" with R!