Reflections On Ghandi

I don’t have a very good memory.

I say this and nearly everyone responds with something like, "Oh yeah, me too! I can’t seem to remember anything!" And then I think — but I don’t say — "Huh. So you can’t remember the births of your children or your wedding day or the color of your house or who this character in chapter 7 of your book is and you’re seeing a neurologist hoping they can fix it?"

I really don’t have a good memory.

Sometimes when I think about a movie I know I’ve seen, one specific scene will stand out, even if I can’t remember squat from the rest of the movie. For Gandhi, a movie in the 80’s starring Ben Stiller1, the scene that immediately pops into my head is where Gandhi is on a hunger strike and some lady gives him some water and then conspiratorially tells him with a wink, "I put a little lemon juice in it."

The details surrounding this don’t matter, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I have them wrong. (I’m thinking they were walking on a beach? And I bet she didn’t really wink.) The thing is that she gave him water with lemon juice in it during his hunger strike, without asking him, and he just had to accept that as an act of kindness. Which, I presume, is pretty easy for Gandhi, or at least movie-Gandhi.

This popped into my head this morning as I was pouring my wife some coffee, as it will.

Thinking further, I remember that I really liked that movie. I was 16 and I probably saw it in The Glenwood, a tremendously huge screen in a tremendously huge theater that now only exists as a little ball of melancholy to be pulled out when driving by the Walmart or whatever is standing there now.2 I don’t think I’ve seen it since then. So I started wondering, would I still like that movie?

And that caused my thoughts to turn again. Gandhi was a real-life historical figure (look him up, kids), not just a lead character in a movie. I’m betting that one "side" or the other, because everyone is on some kind of side these days and the other side is always wrong always always always, probably now says Gandhi ain’t really what we oblivious 80’s people thought, and obviously we shouldn’t be watching this completely false and misrepresentative movie and we should just open our stupid sheeple eyes about this man who we might just put on the same list as Hitler and the inventor of the Circus Peanut.

And of course the other side will then roll their eyes so hard you can hear them move and bystanders wonder about ocular bruising, and say the movie didn’t go far enough to represent the true Gandhi, who was really Jesus’s uncle and was so awesome his feet never even stank when his sandals got wet.

At that point I realized I’d likely never watch the movie again, which means I have a bonus 3 hours and 11 minutes to spend on something else before I die.

I took the coffee to my wife.

  1. Okay, I knew it wasn’t Ben Stiller, but I couldn’t quite pull out "Ben Kingsly". 1982.
  2. I saw all 3 of the original Star Wars movies there, going so far as to skip school to see the third one on opening day, standing in a long line wondering if I should try to avoid the news cameras that were there or not. I mean, I was skipping school, so…

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