David, Matt and myself alongside Howrah Bridge in Calcutta in 2013
I just watched the movie, Lion. It’s the true story of a young boy who gets lost in Calcutta, India, and separated from his family. He lands in an orphanage where he is eventually adopted by an Australian couple. The movie is both tragic and uplifting as the young man searches for his family and his past. I won’t share any more so I won’t spoil the story, but this movie is worth your time.
Market below Howrah Bridge
The story is especially fascinating because I’ve been to Calcutta with my sons and walked across the bridge featured in the film. That area of Calcutta is every bit as crazy as the film portrays. I enjoyed my visit, although I was somewhat overwhelmed by the amount of people and activity. I cannot imagine being a young boy, around 6 years old, lost, separated from family, unable to understand the language and trying to survive the streets. Like I said, I recommend this movie!
One note about Howrah Bridge, which is featured in the film. It is reputedly the busiest bridge in the world, carrying 500,000 pedestrians and half a million vehicles a day. It seemed that way to me as it was packed when I walked across. However, the bridge is under siege as thousands of people spit guthka – a chewable mixture of tobacco and slaked lime which often causes oral cancer – on the steel hangers. This spit is literally eating away at the support structure of the span. Several plans are in the works to save the bridge from spit, but so far nothing has quite solved the problem.
Sign on Howrah Bridge – which is not working
What will you do with this extra day in your life, a day that comes only once very four years?
Here’s some notable happenings on past Leap Days (along with my commentary):
In 1692, Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne & Tituba, (a Native American servant) were the first people to be accused of witchcraft in Salem Massachusetts. Bummer of a day.
In 1940, at the 12th Academy Awards, “Gone with the Wind” won eight Oscars. Frankly my dear, I don’t give a d#@n.
In 1968, the US ended regular flights with nuclear bombs. (We used to fly airplanes around the US loaded with atomic bombs…)
In 1976, for the first time on television, ABC-TV broadcasts the hit movie “The Sound of Music.” Rebroadcast annually ever since to the delight of my wife!
Whether you’re involved in witchcraft or bombs or just love to sing on mountaintops, I hope you enjoy your extra day!
We watched the documentary Exporting Raymond a couple nights ago. To quote the famous Branson-Russian Yakov Smirnoff, “What a country!!” This movie chronicles an attempt to take the American sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond and adapt it to the Russian market. If you’ve ever been out of the US or worked internationally, you’ll love watching the cultural misses in this film. It’s fun to see the attempts at humor and how Russian actors try to take an American script and make it their own. It would be a unique cultural study for a person or group headed abroad! Stalin would not approve, but we’ve not been worried about him for awhile.
I watched the movie, In The Land of Blood and Honey, with my wife a couple of nights ago. Having been to Serbia and nearby countries I’m interested in the history of the area. Written and directed by Angelina Jolie, the film follows the tragic lives of two people during the civil war in Bosnia from 1992-1995. The movie shows ethnic cleansing, rape, murder – it’s a brutal on-screen depiction of a horrific war. After watching the film, and replaying it in my mind (it’s hard to forget), I’ve been reminded of a couple of things. First, old wounds heal slowly, if at all. This area of the Balkans has seen warfare and fighting among the various people groups living there for generations. As the former nation of Yugoslavia unraveled, it only took a spark to reignite hatreds simmering below the surface. Second, brutality exists everywhere. It seems to be just below the surface of people. Certainly not everyone, but present in every society and in every culture. It seems a condition of mankind, which the scriptures would affirm. It takes active resistance on both a personal and societal level to oppose such actions. I recommend the film, but with the warning that it’s more Schindler’s List than anything I’ve seen since.
Poster showing aftermath of a NATO bombing in Novi Sad, Serbia