A lot has been said about how to learn to enjoy your own company. As an ambivert, I tend to oscillate between my need to be surrounded by people at some times and escaping them when the other side of my personality takes over. For most part I love going out, engaging in some activity or another with my close-knit group of friends. Take movies for example, they are fun in a very passively-interactive manner. All you do is sit in your allotted seats and watch the feature film barely interacting save for exchanging looks or a word or an interjection from time to time, I realised it was time to taste the complete opposite of this experience. I decided I must watch a movie alone. The fascinating thing about firsts is that there is always that “almost” which makes the experience of finally going through with it absolutely exhilarating firsts; like the first “almost” kiss – it’s awkward because neither parties foresaw its occurrence, there is touching of lips, little fireworks light up but are doused too soon due to embarrassment at having been caught off guard. I too had my “almost alone” movie experience about two years ago, tagged along with a friend who called her friend too, which left me to enjoy the movie almost all by myself for they were busy “interacting passively”.
The movie I saw was a sequel to a popular brand of ultimate-macho-action movies in India. Yes, much of the action in the prequel could force Newton to rethink his theories but it was fun nonetheless, in the glad-I’m-not-spending-money-at-the-cinema-for-this-but-watching-this-in-place-of-crappy-daytime-telly on an insipid Sunday kinda way (Phew!). I was pretty gung-ho about grabbing my place in the sun and getting a brand-new experience to my name. Tickets purchased and glasses on (I need to wear glasses when watching TV or working on the computer and this was a mother-effing ginormous screen). Trailers to upcoming movies- done; silly, annoying adverts that make me cuss under my breath-done and there it was! The movie.
Now, the seats flanking mine were empty and there were people in groups on seats from there on. It felt like my personal space had magically expanded; so far, so good (yaay). The movie rolled on, and I found myself chuckling at a line or two, despite having notions that it will be pretty over-the-top hence slightly uninteresting. Usually, at this point, I’d turn to a friend by my side and exclaim or giggle but not this time. There was a small comfort in not having to move to do any of that and simply sit there, merged with the plush red back of the seat. Halfway through the movie, people brought in the munchies and began chomping on them quite audibly; at least those in my immediate vicinity. It is something that I find mildly irksome, the rustling of popped corn in the tub as one tries to grab a fistful, proceeding to stuff said fistful in the mouth and chewing it vigorously, almost one popped kernel at a time. It was nice to not have a friend to that right next to my ear and tolerate the same or pretend to ignore it ONLY because I love my friend too much and feel that they mustn’t deny themselves something they really like. Like I said before, I didn’t need to turn or talk, which meant that I found myself in a complete zen-like state, with no thought in mind; merely sitting tight and watching the story progress. It felt a lot like walking all by myself on the beach, with my mind like a blank slate and only the sound of waves adding a little audio to the scene. At one point I found myself pondering over how elegant the human body looks in the lotus position as a scene had people sitting in a meditative stance, listening to a sermon from a god-man. I realised that the randomness of my train of thought hit an all-new high today.
Sure, I got a few stares; the ticket guy gave me a once-over when I replied that I will need only one ticket. When I sat on a couch in the lounge, reading on my phone waiting to be allowed entry in the cinema hall. When the end credits rolled and the lights came back and a group of teenagers looked at the empty chairs on either side. But you know, I simply didn’t care. I was too happy in my three-seat-bubble for that 1 hour and 66 minutes (yeah, our movies are a tad long).