Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Notes from the reunion: More than "3 Idiots" getting together?

Soon after the movie "3 Idiots" was released, "S" emailed me about it and strongly encouraged me to watch it.  "S" is the sister of my school mate, "R," who was also a good friend and a neighbor.

Yes, "was."

In the primitive days before the internet and emails, most of us classmates had drifted away from each other.  I lost track of most, including "R."

More than 25 years later, I got an email from "S."  I was surprised and excited.  But the content of the email was nothing but tragic--"R" was no more.  Tears rolled down as I read that email.

The departures of "R" and "M" were the emotional triggers for me to begin to re-connect with old school mates.  I was, therefore, happy to say hello to the living classmates, even if I had no clue about them back when we were in the same school.

Later, as we settled into emailing about more mundane topics, "S" emailed me about "3 Idiots."

I didn't watch the movie. Even when it appeared as an option in the in-flight movie listings, I was not keen on watching it.

For a simple reason: I knew from the movie reviews that the plot was not going to be anything new for me--I had lived it.

Something like how a friend's husband, who is a public defender in capital punishment cases, said he cared not to watch "Dead Man Walking" because he lived with those very issues everyday in his work. 

I was one of the many idiots who went to study engineering because, well, that was what boys did, while girls went to medical colleges.

It didn't take me even a few weeks to figure out that I cared not for engineering.

So, why watch the movie, right?  After all, my own life is as complicated and exciting for me to live it, and no movie with the same plot can be any better :)

But, my brother was keen on us watching it, and we did.  While made quite differently from typical formulaic Bollywood movies, it is still one long movie at almost three hours!  We ended up watching in bits.

Even the scenes of the freshman hazing at college were all too familiar.  The demonstration in the movie that salt water is a conductor of electricity was not humorous to me as the director might have intended--it reminded me about how the "raggers" directed the fully nude me to pee on exposed electric coils in a corner of the room, which I stubbornly refused, and for which I was slapped as well.

At the end of the movie, I told my brother and mother that I routinely tell my students I would be a college professor teaching the topics that I do, even if I got paid nothing at all.  My profession is my hobby too, with the result that it is all fun and play for me.

Life is not about money, nor about fancy gadgets, all of which would have been in plenty had I continued with engineering.

But, that would not have been my life.

I am happy to be an idiot, who lives paycheck-to-paycheck.  Well, it is stressful at times, yes!  But, it's my life :)

All izz well!

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