There is a scene in Jessica which says it all – it tells us why we will always remain begging for justice, why the manu sharmas of the world will rule over us, why to expect any better is not to be defeatist but realistic. This scene is an enactment of the true episode which transpired. Manu Sharmas parents pay a visit to Jessica’s home in Delhi to offer condolences. They carry a funeral wreath of white flowers. Jessica’s mother is too distraught to talk to them or react in any coherent fashion. Since her daughter’s death, she has been enveloped in a cocoon of gloom and silence from which only death will release her. As is to be expected, Jessica’s father is taken aback when he opens the door and finds the two outside. He lets them inside and waits for a few seconds in obvious anguish and discomfort for them to break the silence. When no one seems to have anything to say, he offers hesitantly, “Chai lenge?” There is nothing more moving in the entire film than this short 5-min scene – so full of defeat, of poignancy, of suffering. As I watched the scene, I wanted to scream, to shake the old man and make him understand that he was still abiding by a set of obsolete rules that could never guarantee victory. These rules which we, the salaried education-thumping middle class abide by, have no place in the world we are fated to operate in. Yet, this knowledge doesn’t bring any relief or redemption because as Franzen’s wonderful book shows, in life there are few opportunities for correction. We try and build our lives along these rules which were taught to us in school and later pass on the same to our children. But these rules completely castrate us of any real chance to succeed in the world and instead hand over the platter to the Nanu Sharmas. And even as we stand robbed of everything that mattered to us, we cannot unlearn those rules which unmade us. That’s the tragedy.
It's interesting that i read STPs wonderful poem on a day when these dark thoughts about what people do and how they are paid back or often not, occupied my thoughts. Both the film and the poem evoke a manic laughter. This is the laughter of the ever-faithful Job, this is the laughter of the diligent Sisyphus, this must have been the laughter of Galileo.