Here’s to the Dreamers

 

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It was a Saturday night and after a long day of running around for all the things that college life could possibly make you run for, I was drained: drained like a dried lemon squeezed of all its juices, like a flower that has withered away its grace and purpose. It was one of those “I give up” moments and I wanted to do nothing, absolutely nothing that involved real life; an escapist’s response to life, I agree.

But I had time to kill and had nothing planned until the next morning. As I sat there wondering what to do, my friend barged in wailing about “the acute pain of boredom”. She’s one of those lucky souls that belong to the department that barely ever has classes; even during the rare occasions that they do, it’s never beyond a half day ( three guesses which 😉 ) So her burst of unspent energy, though understandable, felt quite incomprehensible to the then battery-drained me.

Well, it’s hostel and the number one rule in hostel is that you don’t bother asking: friends are family here, and are obliged to accompany you. Which is why I was in a theater seat, half hour later, still dazed from having been separated from the cozy comforts of my room; so much that I neither helped her decide the movie nor cared to find out; as long as she lets me sleep, I’m good.

It was “La la land”. Now, mind you, I’m not one of those movie buffs who are always abreast of the latest movies that hit the screens: for the matter, I’m still catching up with movies from more than a decade ago (friends have given up saying, “you’ve got to watch that movie!”, figuring it’s going take forever for me to catch up.)

So, don’t be surprised when I tell you, as I had never heard about it earlier, the movie surprised me with its intro song and dance set in the unlikely scenario of a traffic jam. It had me wondering, “Who ever does that these days?” The music, the dance, the people seemed so unreal and so far away, like they had landed from another time. And that’s probably why it reminded me of “The Sound of Music”.

“It’s a musical.“ Oh? Okay. Yeah. That’s why. I recovered once I got that.

The movie progressed like most typical romantic movies: all beautiful and bright, although the story revolved around an aspiring actress and a jazz pianist, yet to make a name for themselves. It spoke of those familiar rhymes of dreamers and chasing your dreams. The movie felt real only during those stressed out moments, during arguments and even they seemed really toned down.

 

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While these skeptic thoughts ran in the background, I got carried away: carried away like the movie was supposed to carry its viewers. Like a bird that had forgotten how to fly, as it tries to resist the gentle coaxing of the wind and slowly gives in.

And as I glided and soared, rose and fell with the movie, I realized how much I missed this feeling: the feeling of being free. As a child it had come so easy, the capacity to see things through rose-tinted glasses. But somewhere along the way, as I grew up, I broke my coloured glasses, making it difficult to see through the cracks; and I got rid of them to face reality.

It was harsh: like eyes without goggles exposed to bitter arctic winds; it burnt of dryness. But I carried on anyway: believing life wasn’t meant to be beautiful, succumbing to cynicism and apathy. And as a dreamer born into a world that worships practicality, I believed I was going the right way.

And I won’t say this movie turned my life around: but it was one of the many sparks during my darkest hour. And it only strengthened my suspicion that maybe, just maybe, some of us are different. That to some of us, drab reality wasn’t enough; that some of us might go blind without the filter of those infamous rose-glasses.

Don’t get me wrong: we do need our healthy dose of realism. A healthy dose. But too much of it, for some, it can cause ulcers. After all, we need a balanced diet.

 

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A little bit of imagination and day-dream, so often quoted synonymously with aimlessness can ironically give life the taste of meaning it often lacks. Just as an intoxicating little drink of wine every once in a while might just help us pull through; like that little ray of sunshine seeping through to a sad and lonely you, as you make your way through that dark and cold dungeon, it may give you hope that there really could be a bright and sunny place.

Or maybe, keep with me (since you’ve made it this far with my “aimless” musing, by the way, congrats), it’s already around you and you just have to see it. If you wish, you can believe in magic. And if you do, you’ll see it; through the drudgery of everyday living, a silver line that beckons to a life of a human, flawed yet ambitious, ridiculous yet strong.

So as I picked up my broken rose-glasses, jagged edges cut red of sweet nostalgia; softly I sing:
 

“She told me:
‘A bit of madness is key
To give us new colors to see
Who knows where it will lead us?
And that’s why they need us’
So bring on the rebels
The ripples from pebbles
The painters, and poets, and plays
And here’s to the fools who dream
Crazy as they may seem
Here’s to the hearts that break
Here’s to the mess we make”

From the movie, La La Land. 

 

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Written by Arul Shalini, Third year Computer Technology