There is little more that needs to be said in praise of James Cameron’s Titanic, or Cameron himself. I have watched the film countless times, and have realised that most people find a piece of Rose in their own self at some point or the other in their lives.
Rose DeWitt Bukater is 17 when she boards the RMSTitanic on its maiden journey to America. Describing it as boarding a slave ship, she finds herself surrounded by people with inflated egos and empty chatter – something that she has seen her whole life, over and over.
I saw my whole life as if I’d already lived it. An endless parade of parties and cotillions… yachts and polo matches. Always the same narrow people, the same mindless chatter. I felt like I was standing at a great precipice… with no one to pull me back. No one who cared… or even noticed.
The same mundane life toiled with unnecessary sophistication feels like a noose around the neck, choking her slowly day by day. There is nobody who shares her fascination; be it art, literature, sciences or poignancy for life.
The difference between Cal’s taste in art and mine is that I have some.
There is only hollowness.
There’s truth, but no logic.
The feeling of sullen loneliness grips her. The agonising knowledge of her predefined fate and the abhorrent shallowness of his fiance-to-be leads to her the only reasonable escape from this ocean of misery – suicide. This is where Jack Dawson(20) saves the lady. His endearing zest for life and vagabondry seems like a refuge to the repugnant lifestyle of the so-called upper class. With Jack, she lives, truly, for the first time in her life.
Everything now seems to be resolved. The agony, the Kafkaesque of life, everything is about to go away the moment the ship reaches shore. There is tremendous hope. Salvation, rather. But she can’t escape her reality. The gilded family title that masks the family debts burden young Rose shoulders. This scene, particularly, from the movie is one of my favourites:
The corset is a striking metaphor for her condition. Oh the irony, to see who ties it tighter, for her.
But Rose is now defiant. There is madness. She is the romanticist rebel that flouts all the customs and the rules. The world is her oyster. There is no looking back from here. Here is Jack Dawson whom she trusts more than she trusts herself. He is everything she’s been missing out in life; the panacea to all of her maladies. There is no logic; just a Jack Dawson.
Then the tragedy unfolds, and Jack Dawson dies. Rose lives and fulfils every promise she had made to Dawson, including horseback riding on the beach, going to Santa Monica Pier, flying a plane, etc. She lives with a memory of Dawson all her life. Does she die in the end? Cameroon leaves that for the viewer to decide.
What we miss is the blatantly obvious: there is no Jack Dawson in the end. The idea of having a saviour to bring salvation for us is not new, rather old enough to appear in Homer’s The Illiad in the role of Achilles for Greece. This notion of being liberated by an exceptional being of extraordinary calibre – the one who is not restrained by what you already are- gives us immense hope and inculcates faith.
But hell breaks loose in our heads when such a figure is not found in the contemporary world. We painstakingly try to find our Jack Dawson, with a presumption that there does exist a special edition for all of us, and that we are destined to find him. Yet, we, quite often, fail miserably. We then blame ourselves for not being good enough, or worse, that we don’t deserve a Jack Dawson. Then follows a spiral of self-loathing and pity – all for having pursued a misconstrued notion of Love.
The person who truly understands love could love anyone.
This marvellous aphorism gets repeatedly recited throughout literature spanning the entire period of humanity’s existence. The problem is not that we are unable to find a Jack Dawson for ourselves, but that we are appealing for an imaginative figure which quite does not exist in this world at all. What we truly seek is unconditional love, someone who can reciprocate and be gentle to our own complicated selves.
A deeper inspection of the concept of Jack Dawson will reveal the character’s non-existence quite easily. The fact that one such character appears and then silently goes away into the depths of the ocean is what I truly relish about Titanic: that a Jack Dawson will not stay. What stays with Rose is the love, the excitement and the vigour for life that Jack helps her discover.
Yet, I have pity for Rose, for she had to suffer from the heart-wrenching longing throughout her life. Oh, it must have killed her so many times. How many time must she have prayed for having died in place of Jack?
“It’s been 84 years, and I can still smell the fresh paint. The china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in. Titanic was called the Ship of Dreams, and it was. It really was.”
This exquisite retention of memory, after all those years, reminds me a few lines from Munawwar Rana’s ghazal:
भुला पाना बहुत मुश्किल है सब कुछ याद रहता है
मोहब्बत करने वाला इस लिए बरबाद रहता है
A fellow of mediocre talent will remain a mediocrity, whether he travels or not; but one of superior talent (which without impiety I cannot deny that I possess) will go to seed if he always remains in the same place. – Mozart
Despite its several therapeutic benefits, I have had a love-hate relationship with travelling, albeit I travel on a regular basis, and it is a matter of great likelihood that I will never quit travelling. The reasons are, quite literally and philosophically, absurd.
We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves.
The above quote is invariably accurate and holds most of the reasons why I suggest other people travel more. There have been times of crisis, and I have reminisced the beautiful beaches of Puri. The gentle sound of the ocean touching the shore echoes in the mind whenever I see a picture of the sea, or read something similar. The equanimity thus experienced distances you from plenty of minor tribulations in your vicinity. The pleasant weather can make you forgetful of the daily grind – though only momentarily.
Travelling is truly a spiritual experience; you end up thanking God for all that there is. Oh, if you do not travel, how will you ever know the enormity of the constellations? Or the vastness of the sea and the sky? How will you ever see the so many hues of the clouds? Or the smallest and the most fascinating creatures? How does it feel to walk part garden full of twinkling fireflies? The feeling of sand slipping under your feet in the sea and the obscured fascination caused by deserts? Or the majesty of the airborne feathered beings? How will you ever hear the melancholic songs in so many dialects that are around you? That how ecstatic is language? That how prejudiced and insecure people are? That how vast are the dimensions of grief and joy that can undeniable? That what is to have faith and what is to feel the poignancy of it? What piety is? That how stark and scathing literature is in itself when you read about the lives of people? How can one fathom the accuracy of Tolstoy in explaining the human character through stories based in the villages of Russia? That what is to live in India and Bharat? If you do not travel, then how will you witness the marvel and tyranny of God? How will you experience the indifference of the world and your abysmally small role in the grand scheme of things? Literature is like a splash of water; travelling will drench you with experience.
And all of this comes at a price, both literally and metaphorically; reasons which had once convinced me to passionately abhor the concept. The greatest issue with travelling – which on introspection might get turned out to be a diagnosis – is that while you move from a place to another, you are condemned to sit idle in your locomotive and get lost in the abyss of your own mind. While you stare at the trees running past your view, you dwell into thought and daydreams, both of which eventually lead to the existential dread. The feeling of resentment, the guilt and the anger resurfaces while you are lost, and you have to bear every moment of it, alone. Whether it is a bout of self-loathing or a wrecking memory of unrequited love, the torture is infinite; there is no recompense. The only solution, then it seems, is relentless mechanical work. One must imagine Sysiphus happy. A physical entrapment within your usual four walls will never let you step into anxiety and melancholy, but the endeavour of travel will necessarily do. Anyway, is there a way not be melancholic?
All of man’s unhappiness comes from his inability to stay peacefully alone in his room.
Through the window of the cab that is carrying your burden, you see lives only the more miserable, psychologically more insecure, politically corrected and spiritually starved. How can one not have a grudge against God? Why is the nature of things so undemocratic? Why do I have some privileges and others don’t? If you cannot relate to me yet, you can start with looking out through the lenses of feminism, post-colonial history and caste. Everyone is undeniably sad; only that some are temporarily unaware of the fact.
Every bit of this world is beyond the limits of human conception, and thus I resign, sincerely. One can do only so much. But even if you turn a blind eye to the worldly issues, how will you hide from your own self?
Man is sometimes extraordinarily, passionately, in love with suffering: that is a fact.
There are many methods prescribed to chase away the dread; most of which boil down to just getting mindlessly lost in jejune work. But that might as well be an oversimplification of things. Literature helps too.
Still, paradoxically, we find more reason and meaning to existence through travel. All that toil is worth it.
बीते रविवार को देभभर में प्रख्यात वार्षिक सांस्कृतिक मेला Spring Fest’17 IIT खड़गपुर का हर्ष एवं उल्लास के साथ समापन हुआ। परंतु मेले के अंत तक कई युवाओ के मन मे मायूसी का आलम भी समाया रहा। Salsa Workshop के वायदों से जो हसीन सपने इन दीवानो ने बुने थे, उन पर KLPD की भारी मार पड़ने पर सभी लड़के अब भी सदमे में हैं। हालात की गंभीरता को देखते हुए केंद्र सरकार की ओर से एक और तुगलकी फरमान जारी किया गया है : सभी पीड़ितों को केंद्र द्वारा रु6,900 का मुआवज़ा नकद दिया जायेगा।
A Limca Book of World Records committee declared this evening that a group of IIT KGP students have successfully built and lighted world’s first green Ravana effigy. The ten feet tall structures made up of roots, stalks and leaves of cannabis left the spectators spellbound during the “Ravana Dahan” ceremony. The entire produce of cannabis was homegrown with cow dung fertilizers under the strict supervision of Amma.
The last week has been among the most difficult ones for Facebook in its decade-long history; the recent predictions issued by a Goldman Sachs led team predicted an abysmal growth, if not more drops in the profits. The founder and CEO, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg has heavily expressed his disdain on the matter, for he believes the onus of the continued failures lie with the team; he fired the trending team last month for the same reason. Mr. Zuckerberg also recently visited the Pope in this regard, to seek moral and spiritual support in hard times like such.
In the wake of increasing cycle accidents on the one-way cycle lanes within campus, the Civil Engineering Department of IIT Kharagpur has proposed an innovative solution; a team of proficient civil engineers from the department will implement the layout prepared by third-year students of the Architecture and Regional Planning Department to build flyovers and highways over the current cycle lanes which are spread across the campus. Continue reading “IIT KGP to get flyovers only for cycles to curb cycle lane accidents”
Latest finding touted as “the most incredible discovery of the century.”; probable Nobel Prize in the following year.
A powerful earthquake of magnitude 6.8 on Richter Scale hit the Central Myanmar earlier today, as reported by the US Geological Survey. Researchers at IIT KGP Geology Department were able to predict the quakes accurately about 48 hours before the event.