Monday, August 20, 2007

A United Venture

The year was 1996. The air was thick with excited whispers coming from all around. The atmosphere was charged with anticipation as we saw the words “The Lion King” appearing on the huge screen. We all gave a whoop of joy and settled down in our seats to watch what was to be one of my most memorable movie experiences.

Fast forward 11 years…

The year is 2007. The air is still thick with excited high pitched noises. And this time we see the words “Chak De India” appearing on the huge screen. I can feel the same childish enthusiasm creeping into me as I settle down to watch a movie that has broken my Lion King record.

So you raise your eyebrows and think that surely, there can’t be any similarity between Chak De and Lion King. Well, that’s true. There isn’t any similarity between the movies. The only thing that’s similar is the fact that I saw both movies with my entire class. And I think that’s what made these two movies stand way apart from the others that I have watched.

After weeks of mundane routines and classes, my Class-Rep came up with the idea of doing something together. As a full class. Still reeling over with notes from the previous IC {Indian constitution} class, one of the girls screamed out, “United we stand, divided we fall!” Ha! United, my foot, I thought. Some of the girls barely even know the names of their fellow classmates. Why on earth would they want to do ‘stuff’ with strangers? And that too, watch a movie? I mean, think about it. A movie is most often screened in a dark theatre for over 2 hours. What is so “united” about seeing it together anyway? The only united factor I could think of is that we would all stare at the screen….united. But that didn’t shake the determination of my class-rep. She even resorted to threats about denying proxy to girls who gave this movie a miss. So which movie were we supposed to go to anyway, I asked her. She gave me this benevolent smile as though God was enlightening his Chosen One and said to me, “Chak De India”. Humph. Perfect. Just what I’d want to see with my entire class. A senti movie about hockey players who run around the oh-so-handsome Shahrukh.

So imagine if the team had lost its World Cup final and were returning home all disgruntled. That was the exact expression I had on my face as I was busy racking my memory about the last thing we decided to do as a class. A trip to Wonderla. Wonder Bah! Humbug. Only 18 of us ended up going. That’s how “united” we generally are. But, there’s always a time for a new beginning, the optimist part of me [which I had so far, successfully shunted away] popped up and said.

So The Day dawned. Not so bright. There was a chance of rain [Oh Please! Oh Please!]
Like all good students [who are scared to death about shortage of lousy attendance], we attended our first two hours of lecture. And then we embarked upon the expedition to reach our place of destination. By foot. Not on those fancy spaceships with all the sound effects. We reached the theatre all sweaty and panting. We were not to worry about our appearance anyway as we examined the crowd around us. In fact, it was the other way round. The ‘crowd’ was examining us. Oh, I forgot to add three things. 1) The fact that we were watching this movie in a seedy theatre close to college.
2) We had only got the ‘First class’ [also known as Gandhi Class, apparently] seats as balcony and mini balcony seats were not doled out to a crowd of 40…
3) Yes. 40. So our class finally decided to do something united after all!!

As we sank into our….not so ‘sinkable’ seats, we could distinctly smell rats somewhere. That distracted my mind till one dirty porki rascal [our new jargon for these rowdy Romeos] screamed “Hi Babies!!” okay. I’m going to end with the description right there and move on…..

The movie started….and I got back into the same days of The Lion King. Only, this time, we could howl, scream and laugh without nervously looking back at our teacher. So howl, scream and laugh, we did. All the bitter feelings about our scattered class forgotten, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. And what better movie to watch with a huge crowd than one that has a nail-biting hockey final match to finish with? We laughed as a class, ‘awwwed’ at the cute scenes as a class, stood up during the national anthem as a class and even cheered for the same players as a class. We couldn’t get more united than that.

The movie finished…but we were still high on the excitement of the whole event. As we got out, one of the ‘more’ energetic of us yelled out loudly “Three cheers for 2nd PyEJ” and every one started cheering loudly. Urgh. This is the end of my already non-existent social life, I cringed. But when I looked around, I saw everyone in the theatres giving us looks. Not looks of impish disapproval or rolling of eyes. But looks of envy. Looks that clearly read, “Che, I wish I was in that class”. I then realized how cool my class actually was….is, actually. Okay. It was something I always knew but never wanted to admit lest I add fuel to the fire of the enthusiastic girls. I can only hope that we continue this tradition and do more stuff together. Hey, we’ve already come up with a new agenda. Our next destination? To watch the International Film Festival of India in Goa……united!