January 26, 2016

DUGGAL | Lost in Translation

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Despite a few cancelled flights and a missed bus here and there, I did make it back to campus a couple days early. I am convinced there is no better feeling in the world than the one that washes over you as the bus rolls up College Ave and you can see a now-closed Stella’s next to the brightly lit up 7-Eleven. “Yes,” says my brain. “Five and a half hours have been completed. The end is in sight. I’m coming for you, dorm room twin bed.”

What is always unclear to me is what happens after. What happens after we go through the motions of dragging a suitcase into our room, unpacking, meeting everyone we could not wait to see over winter break — once I’m unpacked, showered and rested, what do I do for three days on a campus that never stops to let you breathe for more than a couple hours at a time?

This year, it was a movie with friends. Creative, yes, I know. We put about as much thought into our plans as we did into the genre of the movie we would watch. Popcorn and copious amounts of boba in hand, we set out to combat the process of picking a romantic comedy to watch. Would it be our girl, Bridget Jones, documenting the various ways in which she sets out to self destruct but somehow ends up okay (a clear metaphor for just about everyone’s time at Cornell)? Or would it be my least favorite 13-year old, Jennifer Garner and those incredibly rough curlers she felt the need to sport for what felt like literally half the movie (if you can’t tell, 13 Going On 30 was not even close to my first choice of romcom for the night)?

Our choice, rather, was a Bollywood romcom — one about the intricacies of Indian families and their kids, as shown by sticking them all in a place from which they cannot run: a cruise. Unfortunately, I too was stuck in a place from which I couldn’t run throughout the course of the movie.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the above described movie. It’s one of my absolute favorites. I could watch it every other week, curled up with popcorn and Nutella. The only difference is, in my mind, I’m alone in bed with popcorn and Nutella and I’m experiencing this movie all by myself. Watching with friends was an entirely different experience, one filled with discomfort and anxiety over sharing my culture and opening up part of my life I choose to usually keep very separate from the life I have at school.

It was an interesting experience. I squirmed every time an elaborate song came on, I giggled awkwardly every time someone spoke English with a strong accent and, by the end of the two-and-a-half-hour movie, I got over my uncomfortable attitude towards having my friends peek into a different part of my life. I truly enjoyed sharing what I mistakenly believed should be kept to myself.