My friend B is getting married to her true love R.
And it’s a big deal after years of fighting religion in India.
B is from a Muslim family that held interfaith marriages as blasphemy.
He’d be failing his duties as a father if B married outside the religion. And he’s that kind of a man – progressive about most things, except this little thing about his own daughter.
For years B sat through the test of getting the doting but rigid father to turn a corner.
Some days she’d think of giving up. Some days she’d decide to give up on the father and walk out. Some days she’d decide to give up on her relationship and stay home.
But most days she drove her car to the office hoping that when she gets home she’ll magically find her father and her boyfriend sitting together having a beer and watching football.
Her father lined up an international spread of eligible Muslim bachelor boys and B, respectful to her father, met all of them.
After meeting them she would go and meet R and they’d probably joke about it.
B did everything her father asked of her except actually saying yes to any of those boys.
What B knew is that this is a test. Life is testing her patience and her integrity.
Her true love towards her father and her boyfriend were put to a test and it was a test of willpower – she wanted something impossible – “I will marry him with my father’s blessings.”
It took her 8 years and a divine intervention for her childhood superman to pass on the cape to her future one.
Years of walking the tightrope B knew two things – one, the rope would end someday and she would step on the grass on the other side, holding two hands. Two, she couldn’t fall.
What if she met some charming Muslim boy and told herself, “Hey, this is much easier”?
What if after a lovers’ tiff with R she decided, “OK enough, this is too hard”?
What if R weren’t understanding enough to respect her father’s views?
Thankfully, after B was sure that this is the guy she was going to marry, there were no what ifs in her life.
That’s what a test does to you. It just shows you the truth about the choices we make. It makes us go through a process of understanding why we made that choice and why there cannot be any other.
True love always tests. And in a way, the tests reveal the truth about the love.
Sometimes it’s a test of integrity. Sometimes honesty, sometimes faith, and sometimes, patience.
I chose to love cinema. And the past years I’ve been through countless tests that question the same thing – how pure is my love for cinema?
“Are you into me for how sexy I am?”
“Umm … I don’t want to hurt your self-esteem if you base them on those parameters…”
“If you had to give up your fancy life will you still love me?”
“If you had to touch the rock bottom of insecurity will you still love me?”
“If you had to walk away from everything you’ve built so far, will you still want me?”
“If you spend all your money and can’t make rent will you still love me?”
Hang on. That’s a financial question.
Actually that’s the toughest test – the money test.
Most people fail the money test while chasing their dreams. Either before they start the journey with a “Oh no, how am I going to survive if I give up what I’m doing right now to earn that good money.”
Or, “My dreams are shrouded in EMIs.”
Or, they take a leap of faith and then backtrack somewhere down the line because they don’t have enough savings; they have a cut off mark.”
Or, worse, history is witness to people dying penniless following their dreams (and worth millions, posthumous).
Since most of the dead guys have had some or the other ‘dependency’ issues that I don’t have, I may be safe.
Plus I’m allergic to EMIs.
But still, the possibility of pulling the plug becomes scarily real each passing month.
I have some money in the bank. That money is my tightrope.
And you know what’s worse than walking that tightrope? Knowing that there’s a live band with a salad, buffet and bar counter running parallel to that tightrope.
With all your friends waving at you, “Hey you crazy one, come down, join us, there’s going to be a Lido Show!”
You just have to pick that phone and you’ll get your past life back – the money, the security, the job, the respect that the world gives you because of that money, security and job.
Instead I’m just being stupid and blind in love. Seeking some divine form of light within that blindness.
Within my blindness I see drifting fireflies.
Sometimes it’s getting the email id of a high profile movie star’s agent.
Sometimes it’s getting through to someone important on a phone call.
Sometimes it’s finding an address and landing up only to discover that people really don’t care about stories; they don’t even listen to them.
Sometimes it’s a meeting on something that involves making films but of a totally different kind.
Sometimes it’s getting a freak FB message from a stranger working for big shot at one of the biggest motion picture companies in India.
Go, meet, hear some great compliments. Talk about my stories. Log in screenplays. And wait for them to get back.
If this happened a couple of years back, I would have written a post just to share my excitement about this – that one of the heads of a big motion picture company chanced upon Un.kahi, loved it and expressed an interest in my cinema.
We had the most wonderful cinematic connection and she is reading my screenplays. It could be divine intervention leading up to my big break.
But having become wiser, I know that the irony about things of utmost passion is that you have to learn to harness it.
You have to learn to understand and respect other people’s choices and not take rejections as personal or professional. Just circumstantial.
At the end of the day everyone’s a businessperson and every decision is a business decision. And what ultimately matters is whether or not what you have fits into the scheme of things of the people with the funds.
If this works out, it will make for a magical story of how finally a movie was made. (That will be awesome – making of my story will have a story).
If it doesn’t, I’ll have to understand – just as my story does not fit into their scheme of things, they also don’t fit into my story’s scheme of things. The right people will come and stay (Will Smith – “Don’t chase people”).
Honestly, I don’t know about the external elements. I don’t know whether to go with “if it’s meant to be” or with “I can make it happen.”
I don’t know if I could make it happen because it’s meant to be.
I just know that I have to keep walking the tightrope till I get to the other side.
I know that all I can ever be is a sum total of my choices and some of those choices are responses to the tests the universe is throwing my way.
Our choices are a function of our intent. And in the end it is the absolute purity of that intent that shines through.
What I’m going through is the only way I would have ever gotten to know how much making cinema means to me – to come to a point where I am taking absolutely all life-decisions around being able to make cinema.
Maybe it’ll get harder in the days to come. Maybe the rope will begin to wear out.
It’ll scare me at times but it won’t snap.
Because life is like cinema, my friends.
There’s always some drama before the happy ending.