Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunrise-sunset-midnight and the struggles of being

At sunset-watching, just before the day folded into night, Celine gazed wistfully at the setting sun which was hanging precariously by the horizon.
She said, “It's still there..still there...”

As the sun vanished, together with its warmth, glory, colours, hope……all that the sun came to stand for, completely removed from the sky, leaving a long stretch of darkness behind. Celine concluded melancholically, “……and it's gone.." An allusion to what she felt about her love.

For Celine, her love with/for Jesse was sun-setting.

18 years ago, Celine and Jesse met for a day in Vienna, a foreign land for both of them, in the first of the trilogy movie Before Sunrise. It explores the possibility of love.  Just before sunrise when Jesse has to catch his connecting flight back to America, they vowed to meet again six months at the same platform where they started.

The subsequent sequel Before Sunset unravelled the fact that they failed to meet up. When Celine and Jesse met again in Paris, their only second encounter, there was already a space of nine years before them. Nine years in real time. A boyfriend, a son and a wife entered their respective lives, all were but feeble attempts to fill up that vacuum which Vienna left them when they exited each other’s life. Before Sunset contemplates the decision of breaking commitments in pursuit of following one’s heart.

In the second sequel Before Midnight, Celine and Jesse have proceeded into a relationship and into their middle-aged journey. Nine years into their relationship and a production of a pair of twins.

In the oasis of Greece, in the form of a family holiday, the strains and stress of their career, self-development and family still managed to seep through and soiled their time together.

Unbeknownst to Celine, she herself was sun-setting too. Negotiating the realities of a 40-something-year-old woman, Celine was slipping unconsciously into the horizon like the setting sun, struggling to keep her head above all the different roles that she has chosen to play at that stage of her life--a mother, a career woman, a feminist, a lover, an aging woman and herself. And the desire of perfecting each role has taken the toll on her. And bringing Jesse/relationship down along with her in the midst of her own struggles.

When the heavy curtains of the night came down after the sunset, signalling the imminent end of their relationship, Celine and Jesse entangled in a heated and irreconcilable argument in a hotel room which was intended to be a romantic getaway. They were soulmates yet the worst poison for each other.

Realities bite. Deeply. For them and for anyone else.

A one-day romance in Vienna has seemingly succumbed to the weight of the mundanities of everyday life and the constant tussle with their inner selves. The inner tussle was especially strenuous for Celine. Her failure to tackle her own insecurities turned her bitter and calculative on every “sacrifice” that she has to make in the relationship. Love seemed to be ending. As she prophesized. It could well be her self-fulfilling prophecy afterall.

Nine years of absence accentuated the fondness and the connection between those two. Nine years of living together has obscured the fondness and caused distance.

However, it may not be an end or as despairing as depicted.

Sunrise passes on to sunset and sunset passes on to midnight. It is a matter of passing on. Life/love passes on. It may not have ceased but only to take shape in new forms. The yester-love might be asphyxiated by the daily mundane, realities and self-interests. It could also be just buried under and taken a different form. It could be still there, in a different form and to be readapted.

For after all is said, after midnight comes the sunrise.