Virtual Returns

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Just watched the movie Lion. I liked it… a lot.  We’ve probably all seen films like this before. Many within the “heart-tugging-movie-of-the-week” variety. Yes, this is one of those but rises above the genre in many ways.  The script is actually quite strong. The direction allows the story to breathe.  Dev Patel‘s performance is stronger than what we have usually seen him in… and generously supported by the likes of Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman.  Also, the little boy who plays Dev’s character as a child is riveting and dominates the first half.   So… yeah… it is a good film that is well worth the watch.

This post however is not so much about reviewing the movie. Part of the premise is that a young Indian man adopted by an Australian couple (25 years ago) somehow retraces where he originally came from by using Google Earth. I do sometimes play Geoguessr so that was my first pull into watching this film. But when I did watch it something else kicked in.

Part of it was my own nostalgic look back from whence I came… but more so were the people I grew up with. Be it neighbors, cousins, school-mates… along with all the little adventures I had growing up. And along with that… the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of that time came flooding back.

The reminiscing was pleasant but it also triggered a little melancholy. Mostly because a lot of what I grew up with ceases to exist anymore. The home I grew up in… the entire neighborhood is no more… replaced by a block of flats. Progress, eh? And how do I know this since I have not been back in over 20 years? I’ve taken virtual journeys via Google Earth from time to time… sometimes with friends who are curious about my earlier life. With the “street view” feature I can travel to places I used to frequent… if they are still there. It’s actually a fun thing to do.

More importantly though are the people. I remember them well… and mostly fondly. Sometimes I marvel at where I’ve been and the experiences I’ve had… some of which, if it had gone a differently, I would not be here writing. But ultimately it is what I’ve learned from those people and experiences that is a big part of me today. This is not to negate the people I’ve met and lessons learned since I first left the land of my birth.  Those are just as valuable… and some more so. We are after all the sum total of our life’s journey.

Tis a journey indeed… life. There is more to go… but sometimes we need to stop and look at the markers on the road behind. That way we can access where we may have veered off the path… or found our way back to the essential essence of ourselves.

Anyway, here is the trailer to the film… catch it if you can.