I write this post in a moment of great danger to the genre of idiosyncratic people like me, and as my friend Ali puts it, in a moment of great shame to mankind in general. He thinks that in performing the very act that makes me type this post, I bring utter shame, disgrace, and humiliation to humankind. It is a shame in the name of friendship, and the ritual of watching movies together that forms the basis of strong social ties. If movies can make friendship, movies can break friendship. If divorces were not restricted to disjoining two people tied by vows strictly marital in nature, we as friends would have been divorced and disjointed months ago. I marvel at the infallible spirit of mankind that thumps its tiny fists to protect its social instincts, and dictates that movies ought to be watched together, with close friends, amidst sipping cans of coke and munching pounds of buttered popcorn.
Ali knows I tried hard. He knows I gave it my best. He knows that as the darkness and the chill engulfed the large theatre, I tried my best to keep pace with him, and with the crowd, concentrating with greater dedication than I did while studying physics during the boards. I tried to cheer with the crowd, and clap with the crowd, and whistle with the crowd. But ensconced in the lap of luxury, the purr of the AC and the thick foam of a chair behind my behinds became too much for my soporific senses. I had come with the condition that there is a probability, God knows how un-minuscule, that I would fall asleep in the course of the movie. And that became a turning point in the history of mankind and cinema, when despite all my sincere and hard efforts, I fell asleep while watching The Dark Knight (TDK) in the movie theatre.
Sacrilege. Condemnation. Thus cries out every soul that reads this my readers. But history has witnessed it that no matter how good a movie is, there have definitely been moments, minutes, maybe seconds, even nanoseconds when I have fallen asleep. The reason? I go to see most movies at the end of a long day. My energy reserves start depleting, and even the excitement and the thrill of watching a great movie doesn’t suffice in charging my batteries. I cannot concentrate on something that lasts longer than 30 minutes, the situation made all the more worse by my comfortable surroundings. It’s not that I don’t like watching movies, and believe it or not, I have nothing personal against the movie makers. It’s just that the prospect of staring into an illuminated screen with a darkened background induces my soporific self to wake up. I have slept while watching great movies. I have lost so many friends who stopped asking me out for movie nights because the one time I went with them, I have had the nerve to ask them what transitioned between the hero in his days of sworn bachelorhood to the days when he posed for a family picture with his wife and 4 children ensued by the rolling of the names of the art director and the spot boys and other people I have no business knowing the names of when they realized that I have slept through most of the movie. It is an instinctive call, I try to justify myself. Fishes cannot travel in airplanes, no matter how much they love to see the view below from the window. A fish has to live in water and I have to sleep through a movie, no matter how Oscar-winning material it is. I have slept through Bourne Ultimatum. I have slept through Kung Fu Panda. Hell, I have even slept through Sleeping with the Enemy while my enemy-like friend kept darting furtive glances at me.
And thus I kept my record intact, sleeping through this one as well, amidst moments when I felt Ali elbowing me and nudging me to wake up and kicking me and blowing carbon dioxide into my ears and pulling my hair when nothing else seemed to work. But nothing really helped prop myself up despite the frantic kicking. Resigned, he had to be content with watching the movie on his own for a good 30 minutes. For no matter how much I try to feign interest, action movies do not interest me. I see no point of supernatural characters jumping out of high rise buildings or driving vehicles at the speed of light without risking a ticket from the cop or having to struggle for parking. I don’t identify these situations with my everyday life, where I jump out of the 10th floor balcony instead of taking the elevators, or don’t have a heart attack when I see half my face marred enough to delineate the muscles. Action movies aren’t my cup of tea. Sitting through movies aren’t my cup of tea. Hate me, get mad at me, elbow me, kick me, tickle my nostrils with the tip of your handkerchief, but the next time you tie me to your armpits during one of the movies again, I’ll snore aloud and wake up with a jolt to ask if you think the hero is from North Dakota.