Movies have always held fascination for me. I don’t remember when I didn’t hear about, read about or see one. Somehow watching the actor and actress romancing and doing heroic acts thrilled me. What I could never do, they did with all the bravery.
I could never stand up to my mom. She always had the upper hand. So when I saw a movie, I could always identify with the bold hero standing up against a tyrannical ruler or villain.
My mom was a strict disciplinarian. She had fixed timings for all works. And movies didn’t feature in her schedule. My dad liked watching movies and he always booked the tickets for the entire family. But since we were too young, my mom felt we should be left at home sleeping. She made sure someone baby sit us.
There was only once when we kids went with our parents to movies. But since I didn’t understand the goings-on, I slept off. That was the end of future theatre visits.
It was when we close friends were in Grade 9 that one of us suggested we view the latest flick. We all were excited. We planned how we could achieve this goal. And lying was just the start to it.
I told my mom we had drama practice and I will be late coming home. The school bus will leave me home so she shouldn’t worry. She asked about the timings and I assured her I will be home around five.
My dad used to give me pocket money that was saved daily in my piggy bank. I took out everything. The bank as empty. We friends pooled in our resources and bought tickets. It was the high point of our lives at that point. WE WILL BE GOING TO THE THEATRE TO WATCH A FLICK ON OUR OWN.
We had to bunk the noon classes but we managed it. When we reached the theatre it was freedom and excitement all around. To our dismay, the door keeper wouldn’t allow us in seeing four young teens without parents. When we saw a couple gaining entry, we stuck like glue to them and entered.
We had the time of our lives. We lived the roles of the hero and the heroine. That was our world. But that fun was short lived. When I reached home, it was too late. My mom was worriedly pacing about. When she saw me, she took me to task.
“I have been to your school three times. There was no drama practice. The watchman said the school closed at the regular time. Nobody was there. Tell me, where have you been?”
I was too shocked and scared. I stood there in dumb struck silence. When she saw I wouldn’t open my mouth, she told me she was going to lodge a police complaint about my disappearance. Cops were a big word to us kids. Scared, I told her that we four went to the movie. That was my THE END. She could never slap me on face. But she gave me the thrashings of my life then. Whenever I remember that day even now, my back stands sored.
Then she asked me where I got the money to buy the ticket. I had to tell the truth of breaking my piggy bank. That was the complete THE END for me. She thrashed my bottom too. Till today, when I think of that part, my bottom stands sored.
She took me to my room. It was then she noticed Marilyn Monroe flying skirt poster among other decorating the wall. She lunged at it and tore it half way. Away went the skirt but Monroe was still smiling brightly. Mom did the same with other posters.
Mom’s actions left me dumb. And her words, “I will strangle this woman (Monroe) if you ever dare repeat what you did today. (Mom didn’t know Monroe was long dead.) If you have any plans of becoming like her, I will break all your bones starting from your legs. You will never go to school too.”
The last was like breaking the camel’s back (mine). School was my life with friends. I could never miss it. I completely forgot the movie I had just viewed. My worry was mom shouldn’t stop me from going to school. Considering her she could.
That night I slept without dinner. From next morning onwards, she dropped me to school and she picked me up. I had straightened. My lying, bunking and spending the money were all forgotten before my mom’s thrashings. I never ever forgot that day.
But that didn’t end our fascination for movies. We actively collected photos of film stars. We discussed and we dreamt. We friends had the time of our lives when we entered college. We had grown up. Rules had relaxed. There was no night curfew. My mom trusted me.
Movies still are my dreams. My reality is my mom and my boss at work. Even today when I watch one, I live my dreams through them. They are for entertainment. They are for enjoyment. They are away from our real world.
Monroe till today remains my favourite. I have watched Chinese films (Jackie Chan, Jet Li). I have enjoyed East Indian flicks. (Shahrukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan). I have seen movies practically in all languages although I don’t understand them. But they all end up being one and same – they live our dreams. I understand dreams very well.
When I watched the Oscars on Feb 22, I saluted the winners. Millions of people world over live their dreams through these actors. These actors represent our aspirations. I never aspired to become an actress but before washroom mirror I had enacted scenes. (Who doesn’t?)
I am sure you too will remember the first film you saw. You too have a role-model in these actors. Care to share your experiences with us? I have already narrated mine.