Entrenched inside movies and books, sometimes I find things that I would want to do. Earlier it used to get me all giddy-up. Fiction embellished reality in ways more than one. Of course, it still does. But now, I take a step back and steady myself before embarking on journeys set by characters I adore.

One such recent addition is something I saw in the movie Begin Again featuring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo. They’re a singer-songwriter and producer bound together by their passion to make music while their personal lives are in shambles. One evening while conversing about their deepest selves, Keira Knightley finds a splitter in Mark Ruffalo’s car. She asks him what it’s for and he says that you can say a lot about a person from the music they have on their phone. They then take off to the city’s streets walking around and listening to songs simultaneously off of each other’s phones (by turn). It’s shot in a way that the only thing they can hear is the song they’re playing and the city’s noises are shut out while they watch the colours of New York melt before their eyes. At one point, they sit on a park bench listening to something from Keira Knightley’s phone and the dark of the night has now descended in finality. It was at this moment that I mentally jotted down this ‘sharing of a city and music’ in my long to-do list of life. Although there is no romantic relationship between the two, their camaraderie shown springs from their empathy for each other and it’s rather warm. It is this sharing that they barter throughout the movie and help crawl out of despair.

The long littleness of this life becomes obvious and scary when bad things happen to ones closest. At such times, while fiction does help, I think reality with the right people does a better job of healing. It was this that got me ruminating about a time when I met someone very recently and spent some time being the person I knew how to be. While this friend and I had gone our separate ways and experienced completely different things, our camaraderie made it easier for us to laugh together. It was then that my friend held my hand and I knew I was understood. It was then that my friend walked me around my city, hand in tow, that I knew it was all okay. It was then that my friend hugged me for the longest time before we left that I knew sometimes I didn’t need the words I lived by. I didn’t have to scream and say what I wanted. It was when my friend said “I know” that I lay down my arms. That reality did so much more for me than a hundred text messages that didn’t amount to anything in the end. It was the quiet breathing of a person next to me, holding my hand, even if it was for a few hours, which thawed something inside me.

And so, when I get overwhelmed by all those things that happened to my closest and should not have, I find myself in helplessness. I find myself in prayer, “Not my people”, I intone. I find myself in the dumps, yet knowing that we have to make this journey alongside and not together. And oh, the difference!

It isn’t the romantic notion that I now advocate, but the romanticism of human connection that seems to work. Despite all our messy selves, we have something magical to give each other.

I must admit that I did revamp my music list on my phone after I saw the movie. If I am to be under a vast sky in a city, and be judged for my taste in music, I am well prepared.

Please don’t see just a girl caught up in dreams and fantasies.
Please see me reaching out for someone I can’t see.
Take my hand, let’s see where we wake up tomorrow.
Best laid plans; sometimes are just a one night stand.
I’ll be damned; Cupid’s demanding back his arrow.
So let’s get drunk on our tears.

– Lost Stars, Begin Again