Monday, January 26, 2015

Alice in love land

i saw two downloaded from the net movies over the weekend and i shall mention that both were excellent. i say this because i never carry the unnecessary baggage of pre conceived notions that media hype or reviews load you with. i watch movies not only for entertainment but look for stories i can identify with when i am watching a drama. It should have something of my own in it. That which touches my core, raises questions i never would have asked and yet despite all those questions inspire me with a great message. Well that's just the 'my' kind of movie.   
First one was, 'The Judge' and the second was 'Still Alice'.

Both are dramas and both talk of major issues and relationships especially among family members but today i have to share my thoughts about Still Alice only.

Since i am going through with one of the diseases which i am told is an inherited one the first thought that struck me was, " Should a mother feel sorry if she discovers suddenly that she is inflicted with a terrible familial disease and chances of her passing on that disease to her kids is a fifty to hundred percent?  The flip side also. " Should she feel grateful and pat her tears dry in consolation if only one of her three kids has her sad bad disease? "   
The story got me thinking what if one knew beforehand that at the pinnacle of one's successful intellectual career he or she will lose it all
All that she or he worked passionately all his life for. Well then should that prior knowledge determine the decision to have a child?
How would it affect other relationships? 

In this movie Alice and her husband John seem the ideal made for each other couple.
What if  her rare familial debilitating disease was known beforehand would that prior knowledge make a different story altogether?  What if they knew it before...would they prefer marriage or part ways in peace...judging from how strong her character is portrayed in the movie... Okay maybe not have her own child but she being a woman wouldn't she long to adopt one. Perhaps be married to the man she loved and lead a fuller, complete life. Have someone she could pour her unfulfilled desires of motherhood into...of weaning, nurturing, teaching, cooking and caring...
So many what if's and situations presented itself as i watched. Mainly because we have become obsessed about controlling everything.

And this feeling stuck-i guess because i am a mother myself and a carrier of a genetic disease too which sometimes makes daily chores difficult. Maybe not to the extent as it is shown in the movie ...yeah not yet...but then sometimes there are real bad days as shown and said by Alice in the movie.

Motherhood is beyond SORRY' s and THANK YOU' s i feel.
i am talking of our own Homo sapiens here because although in the animal kingdom motherhood is for a limited period there is no specific limitation as such in our own. A tottering octogenarian with wrinkles that feel like warm velvet making hot parathaas for her 40 year old lovingly even when she can barely stand up just because she wants her 'baby' to have a good healthy meal instead of the junk that her child would be seen nibbling into sitting by the computer is quite a familiar scene of warmth, love and care. Some might scornfully call it a weaning that never ends but that's the way it is. One can always count on mothers no matter how debilitated, old, she has might appear to be.

There is so much love, hard work, sacrifice involved in bringing up a child and making one a fully grown, free thinking and yes independent enough adult that a mother need not feel sorry for anything. Also she needn't be thankful/ grateful either to her own child if the offspring pitches in to take care of her when she needs him/her the most. She actually earns it, SHE DESERVES IT. Period. 
It also got me thinking if we in India have woken up to this possibility...and thus the prevention.That our babies are carrying our DNA and it is better to get tests done. The sooner we do it and get prepped up the better it would be. i mean our precious babies shall live better healthier, fuller lives than us. 
i have rheumatoid arthritis...early onset and my doctor after studying my tests and my family history informed me that i probably inherited it from my mother. Ignorant and blissfully unawares i have done no such tests for my very own 24 year old. Nor have i heard or read anything about any such tests excepting of that of preserving Stem Cells.
And there too again because of ignorance and lack of information i have missed the opportunity to provide my own and only child some health insurance. But do i need to feel sorry about that. i guess not. For this being a mother is all i believe in. One that is caring and yet selfless. One that does not expect but only knows to give. Nothing new that i am doing or taking credits for. i guess it is one great basic instinct this being a mother and doing stuff.

In the first part of the movie Alice Howland feels sorry and apologizes to her grown up independent children when on being informed of her condition by her doctor and upon whose advice she asks them to take the test which would determine who might or might not be inflicted with the same early onset of this rare case of familial Alzheimer.
But it is again later when she is trying to convince her maverick of a daughter Lydia to do college because she  wants to see her daughter 'secure' before she went ( passed away) she says," I don't have to be fair. I'm your mother."
So then there it was, the essence. One instance feeling sorry and another instance using the same as an excuse for 'emotional blackmail' as today's generation calls it.

Not after that film called 'Masoom' (1983) starring Indu , DK and their lovely two plus one adorable kid have i felt so deeply involved.

The tears silently gathered and dropped and i felt it dry up i watched the story but it had other such scenes which felt so real that eyes would start smarting again.
This movie too like ' Grace of Monaco' had a speech. And the way the speech was written and delivered made me quiver with emotion too. This time i sensed the corners of my mouth twitching as i tried to control. For i wanted to hear and see clearly those Simple Honest Words Spoken from the Heart.

Here it is that speech:
Julianne Moore as Dr. Alice Howland delivers:
"Good morning. It's an honor to be here. The poet Elizabeth Bishop once wrote: 'the Art of Losing isn't hard to master: so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.' I'm not a poet, I am a person living with Early Onset Alzheimer's, and as that person I find myself learning the art of losing every day. Losing my bearings, losing objects, losing sleep, but mostly losing memories...
[she knocks the pages from the podium]
I think I'll try to forget that just happened.
[crowd laughs]
All my life I've accumulated memories - they've become, in a way, my most precious possessions. The night I met my husband, the first time I held my textbook in my hands. Having children, making friends, traveling the world. Everything I accumulated in life, everything I've worked so hard for - now all that is being ripped away. As you can imagine, or as you know, this is hell. But it gets worse. Who can take us seriously when we are so far from who we once were? Our strange behavior and fumbled sentences change other's perception of us and our perception of ourselves. We become ridiculous, incapable, comic. But this is not who we are, this is our disease. And like any disease it has a cause, it has a progression, and it could have a cure. My greatest wish is that my children, our children - the next generation - do not have to face what I am facing. But for the time being, I'm still alive. I know I'm alive. I have people I love dearly. I have things I want to do with my life. I rail against myself for not being able to remember things - but I still have moments in the day of pure happiness and joy. And please do not think that I am suffering. I am not suffering. I am struggling. Struggling to be part of things, to stay connected to whom I was once. So, 'live in the moment' I tell myself. It's really all I can do, live in the moment. And not beat myself up too much... and not beat myself up too much for mastering the art of losing. One thing I will try to hold onto though is the memory of speaking here today. It will go, I know it will. It may be gone by tomorrow. But it means so much to be talking here, today, like my old ambitious self who was so fascinated by communication. Thank you for this opportunity. It means the world to me. Thank you.

The question that riddled me with so many if s and tugged my heart at the beginning of the movie came a full circle at the concluding part of the movie.

In the ultimate scene Lydia is reading out an adaptation of Tony Kushner’s 'Angels in America '  for Alice her mother.

Alice looks lost holding on to that glass of whatever she was drinking and i am presuming it was good green tea she was so fond of. ( While videochatting or perhaps skyping with her daughter Lydia she made one for herself in a scene earlier...when her caretaker was on leave)  

Lydia reading like she knew the words from memory...
'' Harper Pitt, the emotionally frazzled, estranged wife of a gay, Mormon Republican looks out  across a dusk horizon from the window of a plane and addresses the audience:
Night flight to San Francisco; chase the moon across America. God, it’s been years since I was on a plane. When we hit 35,000 feet we’ll have reached the tropopause, the great belt of calm air, as close as I’ll ever get to the ozone. I dreamed we were there. The plane leapt the tropopause, the safe air, and attained the outer rim, the ozone, which was ragged and torn, patches of it threadbare as old cheesecloth, and that was frightening. But I saw something that only I could see because of my astonishing ability to see such things: Souls were rising, from the earth far below, souls of the dead, of people who had perished, from famine, from war, from the plague, and they floated up, like skydivers in reverse, limbs all akimbo, wheeling and spinning. And the souls of these departed joined hands, clasped ankles, and formed a web, a great net of souls, and the souls were three-atom oxygen molecules of the stuff of ozone, and the outer rim absorbed them and was repaired. Nothing’s lost forever. In this world, there’s a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind, and dreaming ahead. At least I think that’s so.''
After the reading this is the concluding scene.

Lydia: That's it  (coming closer and sitting closer to her mom and softly but gently asking her mom) hey, did you like that ?
Lydia:W...What i just read, Did you like that!
Lydia; Hmmm... Wh.. what  was it about?
Alice: (looking into her daughter's eyes smiling nodding in affirmation and not looking lost anymore and saying) Yea Love...
Lydia: Yeah it was about love.

The super smart beautiful lady seemed to be losing it all but she could never seem to lose the essence. The essence of her being which was to love and to be loved in return for what she was and that she still can tell and figure out from all the jumbo mumbo her world has turned into.

Needless to say then that this last scene the tears would not just stop and i just let it flow...i let it flow along with the pony and the boat...
And i missed someone very badly by my own dear sweet sister...

Ost- If i had a boat written by Lyle Lovett sung by Karen Elson

My sincere thanks to Mr Piyush Dewan for Recall and Relish: Lost Chapters of Hindi Cinema and,


  1. Hi!

    You have been nominated for the 'Very Inspiring Blogger Award'. More details are on my blog.


  2. After reading this I was reminded of what one of my friends from Varansi told me "we Indians are very good at feeling guilty"
    Congrats on that "Inspiring Blogger Award"

    1. Haddock u r at at saying just sufficient enough. hahaha...ur Varanasi frnd is she is spinster or what? Feeling guilty is a kindo mother's international day we can discuss about it ie if u feel like it.
      Thank you for stopping by and just u's going to land where it actually you. The award i mean but thank you. At the moment i accept it on ur behalf. :)

  3. Have to catch those two movies. Masoom moves you. You must watch 'Water'. It is equally moving.

    1. Yeah Saru I have seen Water but through Chuhiya's story more than being moved I was the way things r still...knowing about those widows some who survive by begging. Trust me on this on my last visit to Omkareshwar Mammaleshwar a group of these widows approached us too begging us to buy them a months supply of rice...
      What moves me is the reality. How can anyone desert anyone and dump her elsewhere ....
      Thank u for being here and giving me the pleasure of ur company once again on this one too. :)

    2. I agree. How can anyone desert their family member!

  4. Not seen either of them .. But here is a question why is the mother always talked about and why not the father .. after all both can pass on the defects to their children..


    1. Good question Bikram. yeah I know why it pinched u. But let me tell u sumthing. Until I became one I too was a Daddy's girl. No this post was not about Whose importance is greater, Father's or Mother's in the first place. The discussion centered around the mother because incidentally in the movie it's the mother who gets affected. Had the father got affected my blogpost would be different.
      Btw there was another beautiful movie made in India. The last one in which Farooq Sheikh has acted before that brilliant actor suddenly left all of us to merge with the universe. Club 60. Do see it too. I liked it. Another heart warming story about living in the ' Now'.

  5. Congratulation for the award.Yes you really inspire and make me ponder about the"essence"you want to convey.Overwhelmed by the story of Still Alice.Great post.

  6. "if i had a boat" said it all.

    1. Thank you sis for stopping by...wish u were near. We would hold hands and cry together...remember how we did in Masoom. :)
      Love you and thanks for taking time out from ur hectic chores to and my not so an entertaining stuff that u might've wanted to read after a hard day's work. Hugzz and feel so happy that u did. Miss u soo much...