The Darjeeling Limited Derailed

By NaazishYarKhan

This evening, as it so happened, Farhat was home from work early. Early meaning at 5:30 p.m. Plus it was a Friday night meaning no school tomorrow, so no homework, no making lunches for the next day and so on. He and the kids planned to hang out at his folks’ and I had plans to watch a movie with a gal pal. Now, somewhere between checking who all were available to join me and Melinda, and which movie to watch, Melinda got scuttled from the plan and I decided to ask Farhat if he wanted to watch a movie with me. Watch a movie with ones’ spouse. Ah… After 13 years of matrimony and two kids, it’s quite a rarity that you and beloved can actually get any down time alone! His brother agreed to watch the kids and we found ourselves buying tickets to ‘The Darjeeling Limited’, that American movie made in India.

Now how should I put it? It’s not like I didn’t like the movie. Sure, it moved me. Sure it was engaging but it just didn’t do it for me. Now I go to a movie, for I guess, an “out of mind” experience. To be engrossed, enthralled, blown away. Hindi movie style, larger than life, mega entertainment, lush landscapes, witty dialogue, beautiful characters traipsing across the screen. I don’t go to the movies, to a read a book. That’s actually hitting the nail on the head. ‘The Darjeeling Limited’ was equivalent to reading a book. It had substance, it had character development. No flash, bang, kick, shove.
Boy, the indigestion I got when I got home. I was irritable and grouchy. I hadn’t signed up for our rare, once in a blue moon, movie night to turn out so hum drum, so devoid of dishum, dishum. I felt cheated. And then I began to write, because I had to figure out how I could be so emotionally affected by disappointment in a movie of all things. How could I be so emotionally involved in what a movie does for me. How could a movie turn me into Grouchola, with a capital ‘G’.

I write to figure out stuff. So I began writing. And as I write, I’m wondering, was it really the movie, or was it the fact that I have an 8:30 am breakfast tomorrow with a friend, then a 2:30 p.m. babyshower in the city and then a 7:30 p.m. get together at a friends – are thoughts of those impending appointments the ‘background noise ’ responsible for my turn of mood. I was in fact in a great mood when we set out to the movie.

The more I typed, the clearer it became. I like things just so. I like them to go smoothly, as planned. I don’t like them to turn out differently than planned. Maybe most people are like this. But maybe the lesson for me ( that’s one thing about me – I always have to find a lesson to learn) is that I need to relax a little – take a deep breath and get on with life even if it doesn’t go as planned – esp. if it’s a movie of all things. And the more I thought about this being the crux of the issue, the truer it seemed to be the crux. After all, lightening up seems to be something all of us in our home need to do.

My son’s teacher at the recent parent teacher conference stated how diligent and earnest Yousuf is about school. How particular he is about not having fun, and obeying rules and doing just as he is told instead. They preferred it when he was able to get a little light hearted instead and play the fool a little. Taskeen came home one day complaining how chatty and un focused the kids at her table in school were, and that it kept her from focusing exclusively on her work. I asked her to ask the teacher to move her to quieter, more focused table. Maybe this uptightness is something both kids are inheriting from me. I am uptight. I am very ‘this has to go as planned’ and every item on the to-do list must be done. I’m used to being productive. I think that’s the bigger issue here. Learning to let go….Take a deep breath. Hold it for 2 secs. Let go. Take a deep breath. Hold it for 4 secs. Let go. Take a deep breath. Hold it for 6 secs. Let go. Ah… oxygen straight to the brain.

Well, so much for The Darjeeling Limited. At least I got to hash the issue out on paper. Atleast I got to get it out of my system. As those who have a regular sounding board will guess, I’m one of those who needs a regular sounding board. My friend, Faryal, who is all ears as needed, in fact, is missing in action this week. Tonight is too late to call but tomorrow’s another day. So all I need to do is take a deep breath and walk away from the computer once I’ve added the last period to this article. I’ve mulled it over, written about it, gotten it out of my system. The Darjeeling experience is now past. No more breath, time nor fonts are to be spent on it. Amen.