Oh, dear heart

4 Mar

I just caught the last 15 minutes of The Graduate on TV, and realised that the entire story is captured in those few frenetic minutes. By themselves, those 15 minutes could compose an entire short film.

Here’s Ben begging pretty Elaine to marry him; she is caught between him and Carl. But she gives him a clear indication that he is a strong suitor. Once home, Ben is confronted by Elaine’s father. The man is both angry and afraid, of what, we don’t know, but the emotions are clear. And it is then that we get to know that the boy has had an affair with his wife, the girl’s mother, but that was a ‘nothing’ affair: his heart was reserved for the girl. This makes the man angry beyond reactions. The next day boy realises that the girl has been removed from school and is being married of f to her other suitor. He tracks her down to the church. Girl sees that he loves her madly, romantically, and elopes with him.

Dustin’s frenzy was what caught me. I had seen the movie years before, and my mind retains little of it. For all practical purposes, these 15 minutes that I saw made an impression on me quite independent of the entire movie, and yet I got all of it. Dustin’s frenzy, his desperation, the lack of background score through the entire chase scene, his reactions at the wedding itself — the fact that Elaine eloped with him despite having gotten married a second before! It is the quintessential situation of the woman choosing to leave everything for a guy who proves that he wants her beyond reason, beyond self-respect, beyond social acceptance.

Rescuing his fair lady from the church, by the church, for the church

Ben in those 15 minutes, is what every woman wants. Perhaps that is why I disappeared somewhere into those 15 minutes, too.

It is what happens after they get into the bus that made me laugh. Ben and Elaine sit side by side, and stare ahead. Ben gives a wide, deliriously happy smile once, and it fades right away. Mostly, they look unsure. After all, every book and every movie ends with the union of the lovers. What happens after? They don’t know.

And the song begins: Hello darkness, my old friend. The Graduate is made all the more memorable through the music: tongue-in-cheek, insightful when you least expect it. And truthful too. After all, who knows why Ben wanted to marry Elaine so desperately? Was it love? Or a spiteful slap in the cheek of the woman who seduced him? Torn between two men until the day before, why did Elaine decide to elope from the man who had just become her husband? Was it because she loved Ben or because her parents had jumped the gun by forcing her into the marriage? Who knows?

Who knows what love is anyway? Really, truly is? What makes us love one another? Is it really all that noble? Selfless, grand, euphoric? Is it everything the movies and books promise us it is? Who’s telling?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Japleen Pasricha

Founder of Feminism In India. Feminist. Activist. Educator. Traveller

jerry-mahoney.com

Author, ranter, dad

All Quiet On The Wench Front

Herstory at its fucking finest.

Ashish Shakya

Writer. Stand-up comic. General idiot for hire.

%d bloggers like this: