My Thoughts on Freedom on ‘A Wednesday’

At first go, it seemed like – Man, I should have watched it when Saagar’s (a good friend of mine from college) mom recommended this movie to me way back in 2008. Since that day, I never really bothered to watch or overthink the film.

I was on my way to higher studies, and this movie never crossed my mind until a few days ago when I saw a status on my wife’s Facebook wall. The status read this way – “I was watching A Wednesday some days back and loved it for the sheer cheek of Naseeruddin Shah as a common stupid man! I think now we need more and more of them!!”

I didn’t look at the reviews, and neither I knew what the plot was.  All I knew; it had Nassiruddin Shah, and his role was really good, as told by Saagar’s mom. After reading the status last week, I got interested, and I decided to watch this movie. A sheer coincidence, I chose a Wednesday to watch this movie.

The screenplay was quite impressive, and I liked the flow with which the movie moves ahead and concludes. There were no songs, a plus in such a film, and there wasn’t any violence in the story. It was artistic, and movies are all about communicating one’s stories, and this did.

To add my personal view, somehow I always feel while watching the movie, the stupid common man played by Mr. Shah isn’t a terrorist, nor does he have grand plans to upset the everyday public life. It was his way of dealing with justice. “We are resilient by force and not by choice,” and frankly, this line quite sums up the voice of a common man.

We live in a country where a common man is suppressed to make his choice, by and large, forced to make a living. Our patriotism isn’t just talking about injustice; it is about making a difference and showing the way.

I read a quote yesterday – “An activist is not a person who complains about the surroundings being dirty; an activist goes about cleaning them.” This very act of his seems foolish to most of us when he could have led a less stressful life by not getting into it at all. This quote summed up why the protagonist, the unknown caller, calls himself a ‘stupid common man.’

Since my college days, I have been asking myself this question– “What it takes to lead a better life?”  Over a while, I have come to understand that the answer lies within us. Only I can define the better life I want to have, and for that, I need to get to know my inner self and where it wants to be. This, I believe, is an on-going process and will only get better with time.

If I am not happy with my surroundings, all I can do is, change myself and hope for a better tomorrow.

We fought for our freedom, and finally, a date was chosen, 15th August, to celebrate our freedom. But deep down, we all agree with ourselves we are far away from freedom. And what is the meaning of having freedom? It is to live by choice and not by force.

To be free isn’t just having a corrupt-free government; it goes beyond it. Although it isn’t easy for me to accept this wholeheartedly at times, the truth is, each individual gives his/her best action based on his/her set of beliefs at any instant of time.

In an ideal world, everyone can do anything, and yet no single individual will suffer. This is the definition of freedom according to the perfect life. In practical terms, what (privilege) seems like a panacea maybe a potion that would stop our evolution as a human.

I am attached to many people, things, etc., unless I get rid of each one, I may never be able to attain freedom. Or is it a restriction I am putting on myself?

Well, it is all about my choice. I have to accept that I have a place in this world, and I have a role to play.

And at the same time, acknowledge the fact there will be others with their own set of ideologies living around me. There will be a clash in some way or the other from time to time.

That’s the very essence of work in progress.  On the other hand, there will be some beautiful moments. It is essential to strike a balance according to one’s idiosyncrasies. Understanding oneself seems the most effective solution, in my view. It is by far the best homework to understand others.

For freedom, all I can say from my experience is that; there will be brief moments in life where our mind will think, our heart will feel things without any notion of fear. Such a condition to me is freedom, especially in the world we live in. How long it lasts? I do not know, but I can safely accept that I look forward to such moments more and more.

‘A Wednesday’ is a 2008 thriller movie made in Hindi. Directed by Neeraj Pandey, this movie was well received by the audience due to its brilliant story and a well-twisted ending. Apart from Nassiruddin Shah, the cast includes Anupam Kher, Jimmy Shergill, Deepal Shaw, and Aamir Bashir.

Countdown to the D-Day – Part III

I was quite superstitious about my hair. I just had too many things running on my head from mid-2007. It turned out to be excellent fodder for my hair. I just liked it, long hair; I took good care of it. It didn’t matter; I was working because I never had doubts I would cut my hair, owing to some pressure at work or family.

And people who mattered at work and home never pressurised me either. They knew I wouldn’t budge.

Actually, in a way, it turned out better. I was able to do a lot of work, which I enjoyed, meeting clients across Bangalore and Chennai. Ok, it was a coincidence that Dhoni, too, had long hair at that time. But who cares? He was successful, and often few people referred to me as Dhoni.

Coming back, March first week 2008, I flew to Mumbai for the zonal qualifying. We had four zones of qualifying Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. The top two teams are selected for the semi-finals in Mumbai, followed by finals very same day. After a nice lunch at Pradeep’s place, we reached the auditorium.

We didn’t qualify; it wasn’t about Formula 1 alone; it was about the entire Motorsports, which was something. We both were shocked, but to be honest, we weren’t disappointed. There was a lot of quality in the teams. We felt out of place at some times when we watched the finals.

We asked if we could take part in the Chennai round with the quiz master Avinash Mudaliar. Since we had not qualified, we were allowed to take part.

Boy, the next two weeks was to determine our capabilities. Pradeep just called at odd hours, and this time he was asking me to put fundas. Once, he even asked his girlfriend to speak to me about focussing on the task ahead and not waste time with girls and other stuff. He was funny, and I admire his unique ways of pushing his partner to achieve a common goal. He knew I had it in me.

We went to Chennai two weeks later, and guess what; it turned to be one of the most challenging motorsports prelims we had ever encountered. We topped the prelims again. It was the final round of qualifying, so in a way, we weren’t dished out Formula1, etc.; it was hardcore motorsports. All forms of Motorsports. We were introduced as one of the best Sports Quizzers by Avinash Mudaliar, quite sarcastic, though. We had a point to prove.

Till the last round, Man, we had lost it. There was no way we could make it, unless, for the miracles in the buzzer round. We had to answer three questions correctly and hope others answered them incorrectly or did not answer them at all.

This was to take the second spot.

The first question, we answer. The second question, the 5th team (a team which currently in second, answers), The third Question, the leading team answers. We still had a chance if we answered two correctly and hoped the last one went unanswered.

For the fourth question, a toughie, we press the buzzer and answer.

Hi-fi’s exchanged, c’mon, we can do it.

The fifth question, no clue, we press the buzzer, we worked out quickly, and Pradeep answered Bugatti. Perfect. We were 2nd. The last question went unanswered, as we didn’t have to take a chance.

We got a round of appreciation for our late effort. It was the final two rounds; we went overboard.

Ok, we made it. At least, the sarcasm proved we were good enough for the finals. Now, we were among the top eight teams in India, after a month round of qualifying.

We felt Barcelona a bit closer. Yes, the winning team won an all-expense trip to Spanish Grand Prix 2008. Pradeep, from the beginning, had one aim, Barcelona.

And in the end, it turned out; we did this quiz, travelling crazily one place after the other in search of this.

This was what one calls chasing one’s dreams—a dream of watching a Formula One event live.

That night, at Chennai Airport, I was reflecting on few things. I wondered, did my hair play any role?

I know; I was superstitious about it. I felt I had all the luck and got everything I wanted because I had long hair. I somehow didn’t like to be under this assumption.

I saw Dhoni winning in the Australia ODI series with his short hair. Sometimes, we need to break out of this shell to understand who we are. It’s good to be getting things done, not because of the hair, because of the capabilities.

Next few days, I went about pondering, to have a hair cut or not. Fine, let me have it. And I felt a change; I was not the same guy who went about being ruthless in his work; I thought I was reborn, and I knew I was transformed emotionally, and now I was ready to look at life from a different perspective.

Just a week before the finals, I had my hair cut. I feel one of the bold moves I ever made considering the stake of the finals. I didn’t want this hair; I wanted to get out of this, it was a sort of force holding me. I wanted to be liberated. Liberated I was after the haircut.

The finals were to be held at ITC Sheraton, Mumbai. All expenses for flight, hotel stay, transfers, etc., were paid by the Times of India and BP (Bharat Petroleum).