Do you ever feel you don’t spend your weekends well enough? When Sunday evening arrives — after you’ve made that long-planned trip to Ranibagh, the Mumbai zoo; taken that metro ride to Chandni Chowk; enrolled yourself and your spouse in the city’s new World Cinema club; and had a meal with friends at your favourite Japanese restaurant — how many times do you wish that you had one more day to feel gratified, recharged?
Buddha’s lap: Borobudur, Indonesia.
My Sunday evenings are often ruined by that feeling. By Monday afternoon, I forget I had a weekend at all.
It’s a philosophical or existential qualm, typical to city rats, to be constantly wanting to do more, see more, feel more — “am I spending my life meaningfully?”, etc. The big city can’t feed one’s heart and soul, can it?
A lot of my friends, and people that I meet these days, seem to agree. Everyone’s idea of a perfect weekend is a getaway, a mini-break where you can sit by a lake for hours, watching cranes paddling in shallow waters; walk through the peaceful precincts of a 12th century temple; or read a book lying in a hammock and watching the sea change colours in the distance. And of course, there’s the challenge of exploring an unknown land, its people, food and culture, which can confront you with unpalatable realities as well as give you unadulterated joy. Either way, even when you’re doing nothing really, you come back feeling that you’ve done just enough for one weekend.
At Lounge, we’ve always ensured that you get to know about the best travel destinations of the world, and this week’s cover story on getaways in Asia was chosen with the same intention. The concept of a mini-break (a few days or a long weekend) is catching on all over the world, and with good reason. People are choosing to travel out of their countries for these “recharging trips”. Do read the story and tell us about your most memorable mini-break and how it helped you and your family.
While on the subject of weekends, my last combined a getaway and a unique city experience. I took a one-day trip to Matheran, the only really virgin hill station near Mumbai, unpolluted by petrol or diesel fumes (cars and motorbikes are not allowed there); and watched Dasavatharam, my first ever Tamil film in a theatre. The late night show was sold out, and the crowd was a mixed bag, although Tamil chatter and hysterical hooting and whistling at the histrionics and antics of its hero, played by Kamal Haasan, were audible throughout the three-and-a-half-hour film.
Haasan is known for being indulgent, individualistic and imaginative, and the film is ambitious in all these respects. The 10 roles that Haasan himself plays (it’s written by him, too) are meant to convey complex ideas such as determinism, fate, and the role of science and religion in this universe — for which he uses 12th century Vaishnavism as well as biological weapons of this century. By the end of the film, my head throbbed with too much of Haasan; it’s by all means the most narcissistic enterprise I’ve seen in cinema. But after what I discovered last week about a recent film called Aamir that I loved, I have nothing but admiration for Haasan.
Aamir was well-executed by first-time director Raj Kumar Gupta and creative producer Anurag Kahsyap. But it is almost a scene-by-scene copy of Cavite (2005), a film from the Philippines, directed by Neill Dela Llana. And I say this after watching both. So, here’s my parting question: What would you rather spend your money on: a big-budget, masala movie, which is original and imaginative but narcissistic and unrealistic; or a copy of an existing idea adapted to the Indian context and executed to perfection? I’d go for the former.
Priya Ramani is away till August. Catch up on her travels at Blogs.livemint.com
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