It is always what it is. And you have to go through whatever you have to go through.
A friend had booked for us to watch Anu Menon’s beautiful, beautiful film Waiting last evening. Everything about the movie is so endearing and uplifting – the story, the script, the screenplay, the dialogues, the music and, above all, the brilliant performances by Naseerudin Shah and Kalki Koechlin. I don’t want to talk about the film’s plot so as not to spoil the viewing experience for readers who have not yet watched the film. But instead I want to share what we can learn about Life from Waiting, the movie, and how we can live our Life better while waiting…!
Actually, if you pause to reflect on Life, isn’t it all about waiting; from the time you are born, for your impending, inevitable death? As you wait, you are so consumed by the material pursuits that you indulge in – driven by your wants and social conditioning – that you have missed this point that Life – and living – is nothing but waiting for death. So, when Life gives you a zor ka jhatka that brings a twist to your fairy tale – a relationship issue, a career or business challenge, an irreparable health condition, someone’s death – you begin to want to understand the most inscrutable – Life itself! But because you are so used to having lived Life your way, and are so accustomed to everything being reasoned so logically, you begin with denial, resisting any disruptive – often irrational, illogical – change that comes your way. Your denying the existence of a problem doesn’t make it go away though. The problem persists. So, you ask, partly in anger, partly in grief, partly in helplessness, why, why me? But the problem still persists. You rage on angrily, thinking your aggression can drive your problem away. When this approach doesn’t work, insecurity and fear creep in. Because that which you can’t make sense of always scares you. But fear only cripples you and holds you hostage – and if you are not aware, it can push you into a dark abyss called depression. When after repeatedly banging your head against a wall, when after desperately seeking answers, after trying to rationally, logically analyze your situation, when you find yourself in a no-go, you grudgingly begin to appreciate that between you and Life, you are less powerful. That’s when acceptance comes in. While accepting a problem – your Life for what it is – does not either solve the problem or get rid of it, it sure does help you deal with it better. It is only through facing Life can you live it more meaningfully. So, Waiting, the movie, really helps you understand that you too can be Zen – attaining that seemingly elusive state of equanimity – by accepting your Life for what it is. It teaches you that, while Life is a wait, from birth, for death, there are two possible dimensions to that wait – waiting for you to awaken to your Zen and waiting for death in that awakened, transcendental, Zen state!
Yet, as Ankur Tewari’s lyrics in Waiting’s ‘Zara Zara’ song, sung so soulfully by Kavita Seth and Vishal Dadlani to Mikey McCleary’s music, remind us, it is a slow process. This awakening. This evolution, this arriving at your state of Zen. It happens with the passage of time. It happens slowly through each experience that you encounter, endure and overcome in Life. It happens as an integral process of the journey of Life. But it happens for sure – for each of us, in our own unique ways. In this time you do realize, one way or the other, that only you have to bear your cross in Life, going through what you have to go through, for no one else can or will do it for you! Finally, when you arrive at your personal, individual state of Zen, you realize that the waiting is what makes Life beautiful and meaningful. That’s when you stop waiting for the inevitable end. Instead, you start living, than merely existing, while waiting!