It occurred a few times to me. I can’t claim I keep experiencing déjà vu every leap year. Nor have I seen ghosts. I fail to remember dreams. Still it did happen; I saw or heard something new but felt it wasn’t a fresh knock – a replay of sorts.
I bunked classes and walked 30mins to watch a movie, not for the first time though, called Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa. In 1994, SRK was naïve and not the superstar he later went on to become. There was something Amish-ly attractive about the movie in its entirety. I still rate the film as one of my top Hindi picks; the protagonist, Sunil, was a key reason for my deep commitment and lifelong devotion to the film. Much later, 20Y from that day, I stumbled upon http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/sisyphus/summary.html – I was trying to clear the air about ‘the absurd’. Illiterate in literature, philosophy or humanities, I got this basic intro very late in my life. I realized what Sunil was whispering in my ears all these years.
Life is meaningless – it’s a realization that doesn’t actually promote suicide. Conflicting? Conflict between our rational mind and a silent universe is the starting point to appreciate the absurd. It’s not about enrolling into a faith system either. Rejoicing to have caught someone who, in turn, has found an answer is a popular method to live. The third way of coping with the absurd is what Sunil learns. Yes, life is meaningless – so what? Yes, hope is an illusion to rise above the absurd; can’t I still live a lifetime without hoping to find a meaning? I know and I’m not afraid of the fact that a saint and a criminal have the same end. Life can’t be so much of a fun or a trouble, as it terminates in an unpredictably timed yet predictably placed climax called death. The universe is unresponsive, and we have too many questions to ask with no methods of finding the right answers. The conflict is inevitable, but true.
Sunil made a life out of all its vagueness, just like Sisyphus did… like I do. I don’t mind failing in life as none succeeds to beat death. In fact, life is about living for happiness, as far as possible. Respect the randomness, appreciate the meaninglessness and listen to your heart – it’s not a fight, but a journey; open your eyes and enjoy the visuals till you have vision. Build something around you, just for the fun of it. If there’s a form, don’t go overboard that you found a meaning. If amorphous, never mourn – in either case you’ve made a ‘significant’ progress towards your end. When you’ve a tight world, a free mind and the recognition of your passion, you’re not the challenger to the absurd, but a friend of it. Father Breganza, played by Naseeruddin Shah, explains that Sunil’s life is not about aspiring and inching up to a distant goal. It’s about living each day of his life devoid of a defined destination to leap forward to. In other words, the journey becomes synonymous to the destination. Juhi Chawla’s cameo in the climax of KHKN wasn’t exactly about a ray of hope for a success. It was more about agreeing up with the senselessness.
I knew a man who told me, while discussing about sports, that he considered an act with a life risk a game and others mere sports (or may be the other way round, don’t remember!). So life is a game, where we meet a night at the end of a day as long or short as we’re alive. This ‘gamified’ impression of life is enough to keep me engaged with its absurdity.