…and they lived happily ever after…or did they?

Submitted by a guest writer.

What’s your favorite movie? Did it involve the upheavals of the ‘knight in shining armour’ as he progressed toward the teary climax of HAPPILY EVER AFTER, with his ‘damsel in distress’, overcoming every obstacle in his path without once giving up, and throughout, remaining the gentleman that every woman wants to meet, and every guy wants to be?                                     Or maybe, a la Bollywood, it was about the perfect couple torn apart by disapproving parents who, in their efforts, seem to be Satan incarnate, employing various measures from gossip-mongering to hired goons, to destroy the beautiful relationship, that you, the viewer, knows is meant to be.

Movies are a great pastime, a way to forget the pressures of daily life, to have a good belly laugh or shed a tear or two, whilst eating over-priced pop-corn and watered down soda (or the proper well priced stuff you sneaked into the theatre.) Even pirated versions can be a pleasure in the comfort of your own lounge, provided that annoying aunty doesn’t incessantly phone during the interesting scenes.

BUT (yes there is a but) does it give us a warped expectation of reality (particularly in matters of the heart). I mean, I’m pretty sure, many a young lad wished he were as skilled a martial artist as Jean Claude Van Damme, after watching Kickboxer. So much so that he and his buddies went on after the movie, to practice their skills on each other – fun times, unless the end result was a bloody nose. It was then that mummy became a martial artist of her own, who would even make Tong Po whimper!

And which young lady didn’t look with admiration at the beautiful and docile Bhagyashree, who won the heart of Salman Khan in Maine Pyar Kiya, away from the also rather attractive, yet villainous Pervin Dastur (Seema).  A fairytale come true when the two lovebirds eventually marry with blessings from all, best friend marries the milk-maiden and even the pet pigeon finds a partner –but what on earth happened to Seema??? Faded away from the climax in particular and movies in general.

Which young woman didn’t picture herself in the role of Suman, being romanced by Prem as they frolicked around, lip synching “Dil deewana bin saajana ke, maane nah”? I do sincerely hope the older women folk instead pictured themselves as the sweet and simple mother, portrayed by Reema Lagoo, instead of also being romanced by a rather emaciated looking Salman Khan, in one of his earliest Bollywood offerings.

Have we humans become influenced by the happily ever after of movies? Nothing personal against Maine Pyar Kiya – I rate it as a classic – an all time favourite that me or my family never tire of. But here is a beautiful, unassuming girl from a poor background, a supposed hunk from a wealthy home, who strike a sweet friendship that rapidly turns to love, an aloof yet lovable best friend who never leaves your side, a wonderful mother/mother in law, who is miles apart from the stereotypical Lucifer mothers-in-law of today. Everything is just so perfect – or at very least ends up so!

And then onto real life singletons, some of whom are individualistic enough to not care about being single (and the negative comments/insults that often go with it), some who are indifferent and have left their fate to “GOD’S perfect timing”, and lastly, group no 3, who are downright depressed and borderline psychotic in their quest to find Mr/Miss Perfect (hint hint – watch this space for more on this soon).

Do we have a perception of what qualities a partner should possess or does it boil down to what they look like? Sadly the answer is sweeter in mind than in reality.  I mean, do we really look at a ‘less attractive’ person and say : “Wow, what a lovely personality on that podgy, balding till packer, wearing the ‘no name brand’ jeans.           Are women looked upon in admiration for their beautiful, sweet personality instead of her 42” waist and frizzy locks that looks like it could be the secret lair of a family of rodents?                      

Are men viewed as kind-hearted that surpasses (or rightfully ought to) the fact that he has more hair coming out his ears and nostrils that he has on his head?  Don’t get me wrong – good grooming ought to be a given, but neither in personality nor in looks are us all homo-sapiens created equal, and it appears that in the real world, looks trump personality any day.  ‘Sure, my partner is a downright ass and treats me like dirt – but those Angelina Jolie lips and/or that Brad Pitt charm is just so irresistible. Sorry Podgy Person and Hamster Hoarder – I can’t be seen in public with you – euww!!!!’

Are we striving to find that “perfection” in a prospective partner, whilst forgetting that perfection encompasses more than just physical attractiveness? To quote another of my favorite movies (with an awesome soundtrack) – this time from the Hollywood stable – Who’s That Girl, which stars pop sensation, Madonna (in, I confess, what is not her most flattering look), as a paroled convict from the wrong side of the tracks, who wins the heart of an uptight wealthy lawyer. Talk about opposites attracting – a  MUST WATCH – but what happens when the reel ends??  Did Suman and Prem’s love story end there, with her in lovely red bridal sari, drinking saffron milk? Did she not perhaps morph into a devil daughter-in-law, who made Prem’s mother wish he married Seema instead? Or did Prem not perhaps turn in a drunken wife beater, who, via his vices, collapsed the family business and put them out onto the streets?  Alas,we shall never know as it’s merely a movie, an escape from reality that makes us smile and gives us a glimmer of hope. Hope that good shall triumph over evil, that happiness is both a journey AND a destination, that it is everyone’s destiny and right.

We might never be the ass-kicking Chuck Norris or Rajnikanth type who can drop 15 bad guys with a single blow, we might never find the lost treasure of Indiana Jones, and trust me, its rather unlikely that Aamir Khan /Aishwarya Rai /Will Smith/Jennifer Aniston  (take your pick, depending on your inclination/fantasy), is gonna be mesmerized by us, when they spot us in the local butcher, into stunned silence, as LOVE IS IN THE AIR by John Paul Young begins mysteriously playing in the background. And seriously why should it matter? Physical attractiveness ought not to matter, and neither should we strive to find utter movie-like perfection in a partner – could we deem ourselves as ‘PERFECT’ first???

Yes I certainly do believe in HAPPILY EVER AFTER, but with a smattering of drama and despair to add some masala to our lives, which would be quite boring otherwise. Difference is, our lives are not caught on 16mm video reels, VHS tapes or 4.7 GB DVD’s. Happily ever after is RIGHT NOW. Enjoy it – make it count, and who knows maybe Karan Johar will be knocking on your door soon enough to bring your inspiring happily ever after story,  to the big screen – or, if your story is a tad different, then maybe Steven Spielberg will get the desired inspiration for his next instalment of Jurassic Park.

So let’s hear about your happily ever after – or happily right now if you prefer. Podgy Person, Hamster Hoarders etc etc – all welcome. We won’t judge !!