Images of India

Recently, I saw The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a film about a run-down hotel in Jaipur, India, that draws a handful of British retirees seeking a change of scenery in their later years. The movie was fantastic, and it took me back to the richness of India’s streets and the odd, yet seemingly natural, juxtaposition of calm and calamity. It’s not unusual to walk out of a holy site filled with a sense of peace and serenity only to encounter a young mother begging for a small offering of food to feed her children or a street vendor insisting relentlessly that he has “very good quality, Madam” and “will make special price for you.” Life experiences of many kinds collide in India.

According to Sonny, the main character whose dream it is to turn a decrepit landscape into  a luxury hotel, the greatest and smallest of challenges can be managed with a little faith. “All will be right in the end. If it is not right now, then it is not yet the end,” he assures his guests.

I’ve thought a lot about this simple phrase that promises a tidy ending to life’s difficulties. I quite like the sentiment of Sonny’s words, though I think I would interpret the “right-ness” in the end to a sense of acceptance for most of us plodding along day to day.

In typical Hollywood/Bollywood fashion, it’s no surprise that the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel becomes a smashing success, the retirees find new purpose for their lives while resolving the regrets of the past, and romances flourish by the end of the film.

In reality, only rarely does everything turn out right. Instead, I’m guessing we come to realize that whatever the outcome, it is the one we’ve been waiting for–whether we know it or not. It is what it is.

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