Grind, grind, grind. Life has been like an interminable grind ever since Corona. There has been no ‘work from home’ for us doctors! No holidays, no vacations, no leaves of absence. While the world stayed indoors, we have gone out and done our jobs; and it has taken its toll. Life has become a grind. Every day we have plodded to work, scared but keeping up a brave face, and then plodded back home – tired but triumphant. But no, this is not just the story of these exceptional times; why, it’s not just my story too! It’s the story of everyone. Life in the 21st century has become stressful; keeping schedules, appointments, targets….work, work, work! Even taking time out for the family has become a chore, leading to stress.
In the midst of all this stress, I watched a movie on Hotstar which made me laugh, made me cry, made me sit starry-eyed with wonder; in essence made me feel like a child again. ‘Christopher Robin’, a movie made on the character of the same name from the book series ‘Winnie the Pooh’, is a comedy-drama, fantasy film (2018) directed by Marc Forster and produced by Disney, my favorite producers! The movie stars Ewan McGregor, who plays Christopher Robin, the child who lives in Sussex, England, and enters a fantasyland filled with animated creatures through a rabbit hole in one of the trees in his backyard. Amongst his friends in this magical land, accessed through the hole in the tree, are Winnie the Pooh, Pooh for short, Tigger the Tiger, Eeyore the talking donkey, Rabbit the rabbit, Piglet the piglet, Owl, and Kang and Roo, the mother and child Kangaroo.
Christopher Robin goes to play with them every day through the magical portal in the tree and spends some wonderful time with his friends in the ‘Hundred Acre Woods’, where it is always sunny. He serves them snacks from his home, plays games with them and protects them from ‘Heffalumps’ and ‘Woozles’, the imaginary monsters who populate the Hundred Acre Woods. He is, thus, their friend and their hero – playing imaginary games and saving them from imaginary monsters. His friends believe in him; to them the monsters and the games are not imaginary but real, as real as the land they live in is.
Then one day, Christopher’s father decides to send him away to a boarding school and he has to leave his friends in the Hundred Acre Woods. Christopher parts with his friends, promising never to forget them.
After school, Christopher joins the army and serves in World War II and, later, after the war, comes to serve as an ‘Efficiency’, or ‘a fish in the sea’ as Pooh calls it, officer for Winslow luggage, a business conglomerate trying to stay afloat in the post war depression. His job, as ‘a fish in the sea’ officer, is to cut costs and make the business profitable again. It is a tall order, and Christopher is under a lot is stress and has to work long hours. He works on weekends, skips holidays and steals time from his family to set things right at work. His wife is unhappy, his daughter is unhappy, he himself is unhappy. In the midst is all this stress and unhappiness, Pooh arrives in London, or Lon Don as he calls the place, to find Christopher.
From here on the movie is a roller coaster of fun and laughter and comedy and emotion. The conversations between an adult Christopher, who, as per his own view, has grown up, and Pooh, are hilarious and insightful. Pooh’s simple, minimalistic needs and straight questions cut through the modern materialistic crap and serve to remind Christopher, and through him the audience, of what is important. In a sense, the Corona pandemic has also done the same for us – remind us of what is ‘essential’. But of course, the movie is much more hilarious and far less dangerous than the Corona pandemic. So people, if you haven’t learnt your lesson from the pandemic, or even if you have, I strongly suggest you watch the movie. You can thank me later!
And, as Pooh would say, beware the Heffalumps, for they would suck out all your happiness from you, and find your Pooh for he is your bestest friend.
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