State of Denial

N & I went to this movie the other day. It was a Hindi movie. We’d heard it was
different. It was, I won’t deny that. There was this girl in love with this guy,
and then the guy ditched him. The girl couldn’t get over it. Then there came
along a second guy, who had been friends with this girl for a long time, and he
slowly convinced her out of it. These two were very friendly and platonic
throughout. But at the end the first guy finally changed his mind and decided to
marry the girl. In the climax, the girl changed her mind and married the
second guy instead. The movie was called Jab We Met.

When the show was over and we came out, it was raining. It was about five in the
evening and there was that dying evening light all around, dimmed a bit more
because of the overcast skies.

We walked to a secluded portion of the parking lot. The ground was very
slippery. We propped ourselves against a wall where there was some shade
overhead and watched the rain. It came in scattered gusts, some of it sprinkling
on our face. A few cars were getting drenched.

I suddenly said, ‘Do you think it’s good to live in a state of denial?’

I looked at him. He was squinting at the rain. Without turning, he said, ‘what
do you mean?’

‘I mean,’ I looked down at the drenched, shiny ground. ‘I mean you. That you are
part of my state of denial. I am worried about this state of denial. Is it right
to be like this?’

I looked up at him. There was a clash of thunder and the rain seemed to have

He looked at me and said, ‘why are you asking me that? If it helps you, it’s
right. What other definition does right and wrong have? Although,’ he looked
away, ‘it doesn’t seem to be much of a help, recently.’

I didn’t say anything to that. Hoping to avoid the topic, I asked, ‘what did you
think of the movie?’

‘Things don’t happen like that in real life,’ he said, looking out across the
parking lot to a clump of trees that were beginning to glisten from all the

‘I know,’ I said. ‘But these are the movies that fetch money. That are
yet, somehow, not true. Maybe things like that do happen.
Of course they happen. But how often? Wouldn’t it make sense to make a movie out
of what occurs most of the time? And why do people come and watch them? Can’t
they see that this is exactly what has not happened in their lives, and
don’t usually happen? Why then?’

He now turned to me and said, ‘if you were given the money to make a movie,
would you make one about how this guy wakes up in the morning, then brushes,
deposits his waste, has breakfast, then goes to wherever he goes to do something
utterly not interesting, comes back, has some more food and then goes to bed?
Would you make a movie out of that and still expect to make a profit?’

‘Well, of course not, if I were out to make a profit. So what you’re saying is
that these stories work merely because they are commercially successful?’

‘Yes.’ He said, with that glint in his eyes that means he is not telling me
something, and wants me to ask a particular question.

I looked stupidly at him for a few seconds, then I think I guessed what he
wanted me to ask.

‘Why are they successful?’

He smiled and turned away. Yes, that’s what he wanted me to ask.

‘Because everyone wants to believe these untruths, L. Everyone wants to live in
a state of denial every now and then. Everyone. That’s why it works. Every damn
person on earth has their own state of denial.’ He turned to me. ‘Stop worrying
about yours.’

I looked at him for a few seconds, and there was only the rush of the wind and
the patter of the rain.



A12090605 / 140515.

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