Sunday, February 16, 2020

I felt like I'd been shot in the leg

Last Thursday, February 6, I learnt an important lesson: If you've crossed fifty, never run to catch a bus. Instead, wait in line for the next one, take an autorickshaw or call an Uber. The world isn't coming to an end.

That evening, I ran, ducked, leaped and dodged like an African gazelle. Big mistake. I was a few metres from the departing bus outside my suburban station when my knees buckled and I almost fell. I felt a stab of pain in my left leg, as if someone had whacked me hard with a stick or shot me in the calf. A couple of passersby helped me up. I managed to hail an auto for the ride home, through hellish traffic. By then, I was in agony and tearing up.

The injury forced me to stay home, or work from home, for nearly two weeks. I was advised complete rest. No travel. No movements. No bending or stretching. No yoga. The physician didn't think it was a tear and he did not recommend an X-ray or a scan, not that I'd have gone in for one. I hate those things. The healing process involved ice and heat packs, painkillers and anti-inflammatory medicines, a pain-relieving balm, my trusted homoeopathy, and getting pampered by the family. The calf is still sore, but better.

With little to do, I read, watched movies and listened to old music these past few days. Blogging, not so much. I read books and comic-books. I rediscovered some great music from my generation, the seventies and eighties. And I watched several films. Here is a recap of films that made an impression, mostly from Netflix and then some on cable TV.

Red Joan, 2018: Loosely based on a true story, widow Joan Stanley (Judi Dench) is interrogated by British Intelligence decades after her suspected role in passing atomic bomb secrets to the Soviets during WWII. She was protecting her country, England; idealistically, if only to maintain the balance of power between the Yanks and the Communists. The film is a series of interesting flashbacks.

Beirut, 2018: In 80s war-torn Beirut, a seasoned but a widowed and washed up US diplomat Mason Skiles (Jon Hamm of The Million Dollar Arm) is forced to return to Lebanon to negotiate the release of his friend and colleague held hostage by a PLO faction. I enjoyed the film because I have been following events in the Middle East since the eighties.

We Bought A Zoo, 2011: A rich widower, Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) and his kids buy an estate house, except they also have to buy the zoo that comes with it. The film also stars Scarlett Johansson as his love interest and Thomas Haden Church as his brother. Again, based on a true story. A nice family drama. 

The Kominsky Method, 2018: This is the kind of stuff I'd like to write. Don't ask me why. Two ageing men, acting coach Sandy Kominsky (Michael Douglas) and his longtime agent and friend Norman Newlander (Alan Arkin), ride the roller coaster of life together, laughing through old age, cynicism, loneliness, illness and tragic loss. I hope there is a Season 3.

Lucky, 2017: Harry Dean Stanton was 91 when he played Lucky, a reclusive navy veteran who lives in a small Arizona town. The film follows Lucky's rigid daily routine until, one day, he collapses in his house. Though quite healthy for his age, the event forces him to come to terms with the inevitable process of ageing and dying. Lucky offers a profound insight into one man's philosophical journey. It has some great dialogues too. Stanton, who died before the film was released, looks his age and that kind of hits you from the start.

The Big Short, 2015: Another true-to-life story about the 2007-2008 US financial crisis, triggered by the collapse of the housing market. Remember subprime? This one went over my head.

The Hard Way, 2019: Payne (Michael Jai White), a retired soldier and new bar owner, sets out to avenge the death of his brother, a secret operative, in distant Romania. He finds a kickass ally in his brother's teammate Mason (Luke Goss). Avoidable.

Boy Erased, 2018: Jared Eamons (Lucas Hedges), the son of preacher Marshall Eamons (Russell Crowe) and Nancy Eamons (Nicole Kidman), is forced into a church-backed gay conversion programme. I found this film disturbing. How can parents do a thing like this to their children, their own flesh and blood? It doesn't have to be "complicated" for parents if it's in their heart to love and accept their children unconditionally. In the end, Jared tells his father, "I'm gay, and I'm your son. And neither of those things are going to change. Okay? So let's deal with that!" Guess who needs conversion therapy?

There were a few more, I forget which. Meanwhile, lesson learned.