There was a time I was a Bollywood fan, I would go and watch films as they came out, and my iPod would be loaded with the latest songs (along with some classics). I even had ringtones with Bollywood music at one stage. Remember those Nokia days when it was ‘cool’ to have a personalised tone? Finding the code online and uploading to the phone? Oh how times have changed. My phone remains mostly on silent these days.
The title song from Kal Ho Naa Ho was one of those songs I loved, I had the ringtone and the film was so moving, it was sad, it was different. It came out during an era when Bollywood began moving away from the traditional script; bad guy wants girl, good guy saves the day, throw in a few fight scenes including jumping from moving cars and a mix of music- that was the Bollywood I remembered as a kid. The story lines during the early 2000s were very different, they had meaning, they took a new turn, exploring issues which otherwise would be a taboo subject. The music remained great, hence a reason I was a fan, eager to see how the writers would keep me entertained whilst pushing the boat out. That all stopped in the middle of 2008 with the writers strike, and when my life turned into a Bollywood story of its own, but that’s for another time, perhaps…
‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’ which translates to ‘Tomorrow-may or may not be’, was released in 2003, so why am I mentioning it now?
Well I was taken down memory lane whilst driving back from the Luton Mela last Sunday (7th August). Team Mo was out and about on the campaigning front, it was a great day of connecting. My friend who organised it all for me, sent me an instrumental of the song I speak about above. He is making a short video to help with my fundraising campaign and chose this particular piece of music for the background.
My immediate reaction was ‘OMG I love this song… …the music is so apt’. The fact that I had this as my ringtone and the story of the film, was extremely powerful.
A few days later, when I got the chance, I had to re-watch the film. It made me teary. The protagonist, played by Shah Rukh Khan, is a man in the final stage of his life, the doctors have given him a short time to live. It was like I was watching the film for the first time, with fresh eyes, with a new found empathy. The character could so easily be me. I could totally relate.
My mantra for the past 20 plus months has been Each Day As It Comes, a variant on ‘Tomorrow- May or May Not Be’. Yet the questions remain the same. There was a moment in the film when he asked his doctor ‘How much time do I have left?’. I personally pray each day for another day. When another day comes, I am grateful. Drawing open the curtains has become a bit of a ritual for me as I say “thank you”. Yet I go to sleep not knowing if I will wake up, although I am also grateful to have a few hours slumber albeit interrupted.
A few months ago the questions in my head were; How am I meant to plan for the future when I might be dying? Career, relationships, ambition, are they even allowed? I mean who would take someone on in the knowledge they wont be there for too long?
The truth is we don’t know what will happen from moment to moment let alone planning day to day, to forecasting ahead; weeks, months, years, decades, generations, centuries, millennia. Its all an unknown.
Back to the film, well it took me to a deep place of questioning once more. And although I don’t know the answers to any of those questions, what I do know is that my vision is what keeps me alive and as long as I live each day with the intent of creating that vision then I am at peace (well more often than not), regardless of whether Kal Ho Naa Ho.
P.S. Here’s a link to the song, to see the subtitles turn the annotations on the CC button.