Saturday, October 27, 2012


“And you, Elaine. You'll die, too. And my curse is knowing that I'll be there to see it. It's my torment, you see. It's my punishment for lettin' John Coffey ride the lightnin'. For killin' a miracle of God. You'll be gone like all the others, and I'll have to stay. Oh, I'll die eventually รณ of that I'm sure. I have no illusions of immortality. But I will have wished for death long before death finds me. In truth, I wish for it already.”
- Paul Edgecomb, The Green Mile IMDB
I rarely believe in miracles and pride myself that I am not swayed by people trying to convince me of one either. Stephen King’s book “The Green Mile” is phenomenal, the movie adaptation is even better. Although Frank Darabont doesn’t hit the same crescendo as he attains in The Shawshank Redemption, he doesn’t let you down in this one either. The same jail-like settings apply to this one too, and Darabont was adamant to adapt the book’s story as soon as it released in 1996. 
In the movie there is this guy who is abnormally huge and is in death-row for being convicted of raping and murdering two girls, one aged 7 and the other 5. Turns out that this convict has a God-gifted power of healing the sick. He cures the ailing prison guard first {played excellently by Tom Hanks}, then a dead mouse and finally, an estranged women dying a painful death from terminal cancer. What strikes you in the end isn’t the miracles performed, but the result or the scars it leaves on Peter Edgecomb {Hanks}. When he narrates this story to a colleague in an old-age home, he claims to be 104 and still waiting to die. He has seen his family die before his eyes and has to live with the pain of an agonisingly long life each day.
Sometimes I feel how difficult it must have been for him, to wake up and expect death, only to be cheated. We quibble that we do not want to die and how scared it makes us feel to even think about it. I guess there comes a certain time in our lives when we decide that we cannot or do not want to live anymore. Every day becomes a burden, every day reminds us of a haunting past that refuses to perish away, and every tomorrow seems a nightmare, where more close ones will die before us.
I may not understand the human element of a miracle, but this movie gave me something to take back. Miracles happen every day. We survive countless deathly encounters and are never even aware of how fortunate we are. A bus may trample us or a boulder may squish us to pulp. Heck, we might slip and fall in our bathroom! We must be grateful for each day we live, grateful that we have other comforts that people in war zones or areas plagued by disease don’t have. Life in itself is a miracle. Pity, we often are late to recognize it. The clock is ticking. The sands of time fly.

Bottom Corner

Nostalgia had always left me with a mystifying melancholy, and every time I was asked to recall that gusty August afternoon that same feeling persisted. 
As an eight-year old, football was something my coach forced me to participate in. I was told that I had sharper reflexes than most of classmates possessed, which made me ponder if it was a boon or a bane. Reluctantly, I was thrust upon the duties of keeping goal during the match against our neighbouring school. We had played them several times that year and beat them convincingly in quite a few matches. But the stakes were tremendously high for this match, all Independence Day cup matches were. Our school boasted a repertoire of hosting and winning the tournament seven years in a row now, and we were on the verge of eclipsing the record set by our rivals quite a few decades ago. The match kicked off midst sunny conditions and beautiful clear skies. The mountains draped the clouds like a warm sweater in the background. I was left with minuscule work at the posts; the defence was shaping up to be very effective. We dominated much of the first half but hadn’t got a chance to score as yet. A soft drizzle surprised us, and then morphed into a sharp shower making it impossible to grip the turf. 
Deep into the second period, our coach instructed me to ask for the ball and kick it deep into enemy territory. Our forwards were tall and had a good chance of heading them at goal. I called for the ball and took a stride to get set to kick it. The pitch was muddy by then and the small drains acted as speed bumps on the otherwise smooth surface. The ball took an evil bounce and sailed over my foot as I swung it ferociously. My heart sank along with the realization that the next second was going to be disastrous. The white orb trickled into the bottom corner of the net and screams of joy erupted from the opposing stands. My legs gave way in the embarrassment of the moment and I fell heavily in the muck. In the distance I could hear the faint whistle amidst the roar of celebration. Time was up. We had lost and I was to blame for it. 
I sat there in the dirt, the horror shadowed me. The rain felt cold against my skin but I didn’t care. The trauma was such that tears refused to flow from my eyes. A soft, reassuring pat greeted me on my shoulders. I looked up and saw a sympathetic grin etched across my coach’s face. He pulled me up and explained that it happened to the best of us. I wasn’t listening and eyes peered down at my feet; I feared my team-mates for what they would say. We had lost because I couldn’t kick; we had lost because of me.
I still have haunting nightmares from that afternoon. Playing football in the rains always took me back to that unfaithful day where the sky was glum and the rain was piercingly hurtful. We have laughs over the incident now, but at the back of my head, the guilt never died. 
*Disclaimer: Hypothetical