As a movie buff, I’ve seen all kinds of movies. Movies that have made me laugh till my stomach ached, those that made me weep like a child and those which win all kinds of awards. Yet, the ones which are closest to my soul are the ones which tugged the deepest chord of my heart, ones which left me with unbridled hope and joy. Cinema, for me confirms something about life itself.
One such film for me is the Before Sunrise trilogy directed by Richard Linklater starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawk. It starts on a train travelling from Budapest, a 23-year-old student Celine sits near Jesse, a heartbroken backpacker on his way to Vienna to catch a flight home to America. He’s reading Klaus Kinski’s memoir All I Need Is Love while she’s holding a collection of erotic short stories by French intellectual George Bataille. Conversation flows. And it continued in two sequels. Celine and Jesse have kept the audience enthralled with their conversations through two decades.
I recently saw the final installment Before Midnight which takes off nine years after Before Sunset. Celine and Jesse are married but it is a marriage fraught with imperfections; their flaws mirroring each other. They squabble; fight, debate yet the conversations never stop. The film got me thinking about conversations and how granted we take this every day exercise.
Here, I will make a confession. Each day as I plank myself on my work desk from my home office I feel getting gripped by a surging melancholy. It’s got nothing to do with work (or lack of 😉 ), I’ve a rather lofty title of writer/editor/ social media manager under my name but working remotely often alone I end up missing one of the most important things in life—conversations. The irony of my life is that I am constantly communicating to the world through social media. Each morning my friends, family and acquaintances have to deal with frequent updates that I so unceremoniously bestow upon them. Much to my surprise some of them respond too; I should consider it a job done well but the melancholy refuses to leave.
Often I find myself, “conversing” with myself, the walls, and the trees outside simply because I’ve a genuine fear that I might lose the faculty if I don’t use it. I feel in this age of instant communication, we’ve somewhere lost the art to hold conversations. I say this with a touch of nostalgia; some of the best memories I’ve are where conversations were the real heroes, the bridge that made a stranger a friend, an acquaintance a companion and the bond that lifted the mundane out of life. Conversations are a journey in self-discovery and imperative to discover others.
The best things in life thus are not things but people and the conversations we have with them. The best things are the endless streams of story-telling that connects us. It transcends cultural boundaries and as Celine and Jesse prove is an aphrodisiac that cements relationships.