M and me having coffee.
M: ‘Little things’ is playing.
Me: Who’s in it?
M: Denzel Washington, Jared Leto, Remy Malik.
Me: Let’s go.
We’re going to the movies!
M, my friend from childhood and me – we always went to the movies. I think it started on a regular basis when multiplexes opened up in our suburb. He started going first, then somewhere along the way, I followed. We were in our 20’s when we started going. And we’ve kept at it.
In M’s car.
Me: I think we should eat first.
M: You should. I’m good.
Me: We can stop on the way.
M: There’s Pav Bhaji at home.
We head to M’s place.
I check the papers, the movies section. I call him or he calls me, who knows? Boom! The plan is set. It would usually be on evenings or, most often, late night shows. At times, other friends would join us. Then D & D (read drinks & dinner) before heading back home. Till next time. We knew we would be back. No question
Outside the screening hall, M talks to a couple.
M: Are you watching little things?
They nod; she’s enthusiastic, he’s tentative.
M: Is the minimum still 6, right? (For a screening, a minimum of 6 moviegoers used to be a must.)
Guy: Post Covid, it doesn’t matter.
M: That’s one good effect of Covid.
We went for all kinds of movies – good, bad, mad, sad. We went to learn, to forget, to yearn and to be left alone. We went on love-struck days, through strained relationships, bad jobs and shitty days. We went even when we stayed at different ends of the city. We just kept going.
During the intermission (No snacks are allowed now!)
M: This Bollywood star (name not worth mentioning) is he getting into politics?
M: (Poker faced staring into his mobile) Will ask him the next time we have dinner.
About 4 years ago, we stopped going to the movies. Together, that is. I had my thing – was away for a long time. M also went through a tough time. Though M did go to the movies with other friends. Till Covid happened. And it stopped all together.
Till I came back into town. But we had to wait due to the lockdown. During that time, we realised both of us had changed – a lot. And also that things could change further.
Till they allowed movie screenings again.
That’s when I realised movies were our thing. Maybe not like before, maybe not as often. But that’s all it took — watch a good movie and all was well. If the movie’s bad, well — there’s always the next one. 🙂
Me: (half-heartedly) You want me to drop you?
M : Nah. (half hugs me while hailing a ride) Mulund?
After loss and learning, after Covid, after a long time, we were back. Back at the movies.