the Namesake and following your bliss

The Namesake

So Evan and I went and saw The Namesake on Thursday night, a movie directed by Mira Nair and based on the novel by Jhumpa Lahiri about the Ganguli family’s journey from India to America. Sensitively potrayed and visually striking, the movie is full of raw emotion: I had a lump in my throat empathizing with the lonely, lost feelings Ashima must have had in an arranged marriage that brought her to a foreign country, where she would lose both her father and her husband from a distance.

In between, however, she recognizes at the end of the film, in the words of mythologist Joseph Campbell, that her life was full of bliss, and she returns to her native India after these tragic deaths to follow her bliss, to sing and play the sitar as she did as a young girl.

As Ashima closes her eyes, to follow her bliss, to envision a time when she was truly happy, I realized the lump in my throat in this film stemmed just as much from the sadness as from the joy.

The story paints life as full–fully painful and fully joyful–when I close my eyes to see the fullest parts of my life, they do bring tears to my eyes because of the overwhelming blessing life itself is. It was good to just take a moment even in the midst of a dark theater and a colorful moving picture to be quiet, gracious, and reflective about how good life really is…

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