Today was one of the best days of my life. I’m not exaggerating, it’s not just a phase that’s going to pass over soon – today was the day I watched a Star Wars movie in a theatre and what made it sweeter was that it was The Force Awakens. The movie actually released a week late in India, i.e., the 25th, not the 18th because of some stupid Hindi movies that didn’t even do that well at the box-office. Even then, I watched it 6 days after its release in India – seems strange for a Star Wars fanatic like me, but luck wasn’t on my side and I had scheduling problems. I’d made plans to watch it on the 26th with a friend, but the guy was as unreliable as a Stormtrooper’s aim and the plan went blew up like a thermal detonator. For a brief moment, I thought that I may actually miss the movie and I’d never forgive myself for that. So, I was dogmatic in my approach when I asked my father, no, demanded that we (my family) watch it as soon as possible. I was probably this aggressive because we were scheduled to go on a short holiday with my aunt, uncle and two cousins to Bhubaneshwar and Puri and fitting in things such as movies in a holiday is as difficult as quipping better than Han Solo. Thankfully, my father said that all of us would watch the movie on the 1st of January. At the time it seemed like a long way away, but if I could wait over a year for the movie, I could surely wait a few more days.
My third day in Bhubaneshwar was on the 31st of December and the entire morning and part of the afternoon was spent birdwatching near Chilika Lake. After that all of us ate crabs and prawns like it was our last day on Earth at the Chilika Lake Dhaba. Thereafter, we returned to the hotel and I was preparing to finally have some respite from all the activity when my father suddenly said that we’d go to the mall nearby to get the tickets for The Force Awakens in half an hour. I didn’t understand what the hurry was and I was slightly annoyed because of the haste. With just half an hour left to relax, I freshened up and reclined on the bed with the Manchester City vs. Leicester City match recap playing on the T.V. Suddenly, my phone buzzed and I checked it to see that I had received a message from my father. After reading its contents, I realized that it was that automated message that the theatre sends you after you book the tickets online. It told me the show timing – 4:40 p.m. and many other things like the pickup number and reference number that you need to collect the tickets at the kiosk. Just then, my father walked into the room and announced that we had to get moving – now.
While walking into the mall, I saw a huge The Force Awakens poster hanging on the front of it causing me to get goosebumps. My father turned around abruptly and told me to get the tickets as we were getting late for the movie. It took me a while to process that for some reason and once I finally did, I realized that we were going to watch the movie today. My mother then asked me, “Didn’t you see the message Baba sent you?” I replied that I had, but that I’d failed to notice the date somehow. Anyhow, it worked out for the best because it was a great surprise for me. I was smiling from ear to ear and could barely contain my excitement. After we got the tickets, I bounded up the steps of the escalator with my two cousins to the top floor where the theatre was. While doing so, I was secretly wondering how I’d managed to steer clear of every spoiler out there about the movie. It was astounding – escaping the full force ( get it?) of the internet is not an easy thing to do (this seems like the perfect place to use another Star Wars simile or metaphor, but I’ll refrain from doing so… just for a while). Well, I’d evaded the internet but not my idiot cousin (not the ones I was travelling with) who had watched the movie before me and spilled the beans on a major reveal. Before that, I’d been trying a pacifist approach towards him in contrast to the really violent one prior to that, but all that went to hell once he made me privy to a spoiler. There’re many things he’s done to anger me, some may call those things worse than what he had just done, but I hold Star Wars very close to my heart and what he had done was tantamount to almost murdering me. Needless to say, he didn’t sleep well that night… at all.
However, I digress. We decided not to buy any popcorn or coke before the movie because we were all still quite stuffed after our monstrous lunch. We collected our 3-D glasses and entered the movie hall; our seats were the best ones right at the back and I thought to myself that if there was only one occasion on which I could have such seats, it would be this one. I had requested my aunt not to let Tubby (that’s the younger cousin of the two, and yes, that’s my nick-name for him) sit next to me because he is one of the most loquacious people I have ever met and I was certain that he wouldn’t be able to curb his talking-addiction for even two hours. I’m a very fastidious person and also very irritable at certain times. One of those times is when I’m watching a movie – I can’t stand it when people talk during a movie or check their phones or do anything to distract me. The purpose of a movie is to transport you to its realm and in order to experience that wonderful phenomenon, you can’t have distractions. Ergo, Tubby next to me was a no-no. But he pleaded for ten minutes straight to let him sit next to me and I eventually acquiesced after he promised to shut up completely during the movie. He then happily took his place beside me.
As 4:40 grew closer, I was getting more excited and even more restless. Finally, it was time and the hall went dark. The iconic Lucasfilm logo flashed on screen and it was followed by the even more iconic Star Wars logo. By now, I was almost jumping out of my seat and was waving my arms around in excitement much to the annoyance of Spiky (that’s the older cousin of the two, and yes, that’s my nick-name for her) who was shooting me daggers with her eyes. My happiness and excitement have various shades and degrees – think of the happiest and most excited I can be; when I watch Star Wars, it’s many, many times more than that. My emotions were ineffable and my heart was beating at the speed of a bullet train. Then the Star Wars theme song started being blasted through the speakers and the opening crawl was initiated. My eyes were almost popping out of my head and I was so overwhelmed that I started shaking Spiky and screaming in her ear, “STAR WARS! STAR WARS!”
I couldn’t believe that I was watching Episode VII and when that sunk in, I realized what a perfect way it was to cap off 2015 – with the latest instalment of my favourite movie series and with my favourite characters. I couldn’t have thought of a better ending to the year myself.
May the Force be with you.