Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Perfect Sunrise

Rising sun on a frigid winter morning wraps the Rockies in dawn light lingerie. As the world turns, mountain flanks and alpine slopes are revealed. Two days past solstice and we are on the uphill climb out of the valley of the shadow of darkness where we have been lingering for the past few weeks.

            Colours kaleidoscope as the aspect of mountain and angle of earth shift, and rock meets sky. I behold the very definition of beauty. And I am aware enough of the present moment to know it.
            So, why the hell am I in such a foul mood?

            Maybe it’s because of the ice I’ve been slipping on as I scurry around town with hundreds of other Xmas shoppers. Maybe it’s my hormones. Maybe it’s because my kids are at their other house and I miss them. Maybe it’s because I’m such a loser. Wait, that’s it!
            Ever heard of Rashida Jones? If you haven’t, then you must be a loser just like me. She’s the daughter of music magnate Quincy Jones and (70s) Mod Squad star/model Peggy Lipton. Rashida is a Harvard graduate, Hollywood actress, social activist, comic book series creator, and TV and movie writer—in fact, she’s writing the script for Toy Story 4. And she's not even 30. 
            Well, there you go. I don’t know why I even bother.

            Hmm, let’s see, what are my accomplishments??
            I could list a few, but there ain’t no way I’m gonna look as good as Ms. Jones.
            Sheesh, I’m not making myself feel any better here.

            When I found myself in this funk I took myself to a cafe and treated myself to coffee (this much I apparently have in common with Rashida). While I sipped my latte (with a generous spoon full of brown sugar stirred in) I read some writings by Thích Nhất Hạnh. You know the guy, he’s famous for being in the present moment, and teaching engaged Buddhism.
“It turns out,” he writes, “that everything you have been looking for is already there in the present moment, And the secret of the finding is to go back to the now.”
            God, I had to roll my eyes—way up. My bad mood was not assuaged.
            The random chaos of my mind can really appreciate the now. The now is always interesting, ever changing, unorganized, messy, impermanent, and free. I like the now. In fact, I do spend a fair amount of time in the now, and have, of late, felt more and more comfortable letting the now come and go, and not nailing it down with description, published words, or Instagram.
            However, I am also aware that it’s not easy to be in the now, because often the now is dark and busy and scary. The now is not always fuzzy unicorns and rainbows. In fact, sometimes the now is just not somewhere I want to be.
Quite often, in fact, the now is extremely frustrating. I can’t grab it, or nail it down. I can’t conjure it up, nor can I make it stay in one place. Just when I get a bead on it, it moves on without me. I get a burst of bliss (you know, that nothingness (or everythingness) they’re always going on about—the Pure Land, the kingdom of heaven, nirvana, etc.)—and it then it’s gone. This morning’s sunrise—the ethereal lighting seductively revealing the lavender clefts of valley bottoms—that dissipated, didn’t it. The day turned cold and grey and windy.
The now tends to keep merrily moving right along. But why is it that when the now is less than merry—when it’s miasmic, mired, marooned—why does it then seem to go on and on?
And on.
            Like this morning.

            After that sunrise I took myself to the gym and ran as hard and fast as I could for as long as I could. And then I dragged and pulled the heaviest weights I could manage, until I was thoroughly spent. All in the hopes of moving the bad mood out! In the heat of the steam room I noted that it had indeed ebbed, somewhat, until I was left with just a mental residue of my frustration, which made it easier to understand.
It was my annual dark season detox. Whatever brewed in me during the deep, dark weeks after Halloween, as I followed the energy down, and stayed with it curled up cozy, was ready to come out and up into the light.
Ever notice that it’s like this every year?
The dark illuminates, and from this cleanse I am inspired to offer up the kind of new year’s resolutions that make sense, some fundamental truths for me that I can follow into 2016.
            So, what are they this year?
            Go to Harvard, catapult into international limelight as an actress and social activist, publish and be praised, and make zillions of dollars. All doable, right? I mean, if Rashida can, so can I, right?

             . . .

            Argh, I’m still me.
I made it through another winter Solstice, but I don’t think I’m going to achieve quite that Hollywood endingJ
            So, what can I tackle this year?
What do I want to accomplish?
What do I want for and from myself?
            I have to say I want to spend more time in the now. And write about it. That might seem like a conundrum, and it is.
            In the best tradition of the Buddhist koan, living a real life in the now is nearly not doable, and yet, it must be done. It must be attempted with heart and soul. It begs the effort needed to build the mindfulness muscles.
            It must be done without need for reward, and with full expectation of Thích Nhất Hạnh’s promise to find “everything that [I] have been looking for.”
            Or, to quote another Han (Solo, that is): “I expect to be well paid. I'm in it for the money."
            I do believe there is a pay off.
There is a reward.
            I have a feeling that though the now can be difficult, it can also be expansive and easy and open. It is spacious and gracious. It’s pretty much everything. And I want that, right?  
            Yesterday, as the day dragged to its sorry end, and I was still in a funk, I remembered the words of my GP in Victoria, in those challenging days when I first separated from my kids’ dad. “I can give you a pill,” he said in his South African accent, “but you’ll still have to go through all the feelings eventually.”
            I thought he offered me a pull.
Which is how it feels when I do drop into the now and allow myself to be present to everything, even—especially—the tough times. No matter how deep I drop, there has always so far been an irresistible tug that moves me along, and through. Every moment is its own entity, and the moments, strung together, become a journey. So far I have always made it back up and out the other side.
This morning I woke up mostly fine.
And I could look back and understand: perspective was available.
I trust more and more that there is this reward.
            And this year I resolve to more mindfully appreciate the now, and embrace it as it flies by, or crawls through the muck. Whatever it does, I will be there. 
           Here are a few pointers (there are many, many other sources, but I like this non-denominational how to): Wiki: Live-in-the-Moment



Sunday, November 1, 2015

Road Trip Rwanda

    Calgary author Will Ferguson, three time winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour, writes about "his journey into the New Heart of Africa" in a book called Road Trip Rwanda.

     If you are like me, you love to gather and absorb new information. The world changes. Borders shift. Countries get new names. Allegiances swap. Our understanding evolves. But unless we seek out information, and understand the bias of the publisher or producer, we will be subject to what the mainstream and popular media feeds us--or doesn't--and only see the world through their lens.
     That's why I like to read non-fiction.

     Will Ferguson visits Rwanda with Jean-Claude Munyezamu, a friend from Calgary, who left his home Rwanda just in time, twenty years ago, and now returns to bring soccer equipment to kids, and to see how his home country has changed.
     In 1994 Rwanda experienced a genocide in which nearly one million people were killed: a census taken six years after the genocide established the names of 951,018 victims.
     The killing was done person to person, with machetes and clubs, on the orders of a de facto government, urged on via state-sponsored radio. The church has been found complicit as well--where many people hoped to find shelter, they were betrayed and murdered.
     Today's Rwanda is a country that has grown out of those ashes. There are many memorials to learn about the genocide, and to pause and contemplate and wonder. Ferguson describes these places, and the effect they have to chill and sadden the spirit.
     When Rwanda was first observed by a European (in 1894, one hundred years before the genocide) Rwanda was "a complex, highly organized, semi-feudal society with a divine king in the centre and a network ... radiating out from [the] royal court." Known as the "Land of a Thousand Hills... every hill had its chiefs, every chief his delegate. Every farm, every home, every house was accounted for."
     Ferguson writes that the culture was cohesive and tightly controlled and "the people were known throughout the region for being law-abiding and compliant--traits that mark Rwanda, for better or worse, right through to today."
     Rwanda is the most densely populated country in continental Africa--as dense as the Netherlands. The source of the Nile is here. It is a beautiful and complex country. And is also well known for the mountain gorillas that Dian Fossey made famous.
     Ready for a road trip yet? Just wait, it gets better.

     Today Rwanda is a very interesting country. All kids--boys and girls--are universally schooled to grade 9. More than 3 million Rwandan diaspora have repatriated since 1994, from all over the world, and Rwanda has one of the most international populations in Africa. The capital Kigali's streets are famously clean. "Older ladies in bent-back postures appear at first light, sweeping the sidewalks by hand, and the whisk, whisk, whisk of their straw brooms feels unnaturally loud in the fragrant hour."
     Actually widows and elderly women are allotted specific sections of major streets and paid a stipend to keep them clean--"and Lord help you if you absent-mindedly drop a candy wrapper on their stretch of pavement."
     Rwanda's new constitution sets a minimum of 30 percent women on the boards of all publicly listed companies. Half the the country's fourteen Supreme Court justices are women, and by law one-third of all national representatives in Rwanda must be women (Rwanda has the only parliament in the world where women outnumber men). Public employees must exercise every Friday at 2 pm. Rwanda is positioning itself as a higher end, lower-impact eco-friendly travel destination ("A Costa Rica rather than a Mexico.") Chinese workers are pouring into sub-Saharan African to build bridges and dams and massive infrastructure projects. Rwanda does business insisting that on large-scale projects the local workforces are hired and trained.
    "Enlightened self interest, the notion that what's in the public's best interest is also in the individual's, motivates much of what Rwanda does." Rwanda is creating full internet access for the entire nation. Rwanda is part of the East African Community (EAC), which aid to lower tariffs and increase cross-border trade with shared visas and potentially a shared currency. Rwanda has an open-door visa policy for all Africans, and calls on all African states to eliminate barriers to trade, study and travel--the idea is this will encourage the open exchange of goods, people, and ideas. Rwanda has signed onto the One Laptop per Child initiative.
     Imihigo, a custom which had chiefs and village leaders stood before their people to tell them their goals for the year so they could be held responsible for them, has been brought back. "Local administrators and regional heads are made accountable to their constituents in this way."
     Rwanda's focus with everything it does is to prevent another genocide from occurring. "If everyone is invested in the success of the country, if everyone has a stake in its process, this will  also help to temper political will and humanize decisions."
     Most interestingly, and importantly, Rwandans do not identify as one or another of the two groups which previously and post-colonially defined them. These days Rwandans are one people. "We are all Rwandans" is what is said now.
     Of course there are detractors. People who criticize. People who suggest president Paul Kagame is a dictator. Countries who claim nefarious political deals are happening under the table. Journalists tell of political interference and harassment. The re-patriated Rwandans who lived abroad can't believe how slow the service is. And author Ferguson himself says the chicken is terrible!
     As Rwanda emerges from its appalling and tragic genocide event, observe the methods and tactics implemented by political will--and the populace--to implement healing.
     Overall it is surprisingly enlightened.



Monday, October 5, 2015

The bees knees

Thinking of knees today 'cause I'm gonna have arthroscopic surgery on one of mine tomorrow. It's stuck and won't budge. Could be there's some cartilage gummed up or torn. 

So I looked up the saying, the bees knees, and whaddya know, there's no consensus on the etymology. 

But first, I'll talk about my mom's knees.

And I will mention that my mom (pictured above with one of my brothers) has a bum knee too, her right one too. Verry interesting. She fell over one day and hurt her knee and figured it would get better. It mostly did. But some years later the knee collapsed and doctors told her there was nothing they could do because arthritis had set in pretty good. And now she hobbles (happily, it must be said, she has an amazing spirit) and agreed to a wheelchair on an outing to Assiniboine Park recently. She is gracious and graceful and her equanimity is inspiring. I do aspire. And appreciate her amazing role modelling.
Zana, my mom, me, my son, and my two nieces: her first day with wheels!
Something else you have to think about when your parents get older is that aging is part of the cycle of life, right? It's not easy, of course, because in doing that we have to face our own mortality.
These are the steps to her childhood bedroom. I like to think of her sitting at the top of the stairs, looking out the window over the moonlit prairie night, waiting to see the headlights of her dad's car, coming home from Winnipeg. 
Spending time in her childhood home in Springstein, Manitoba, a CPR settlement stuck on the bald-ass prairie, was intense. Everything breaks down. Everybody dies. When I got home from this visit I cried for two hours. It's hard to see your mom get old, to see her suffer as her body breaks down. And it is amazing to experience her spirit, and to appreciate her legacy, and to own a part of that too. I was so happy to share this with my boys, and their cousins, and my brothers and sister too.

This was my mom's bedroom when she was a kid: she shared it with her five sisters.

Cousins on the prairie, where there grandmother was born and raised. She walked across those stubbled fields to school. 

Awesome, beautiful young women. My mom lived here when she was their age. 

And if you're still interested, have a read of some explanations for "the bees knees." 

When bees flit from flower to flower the nectar sticks to their legs. The phrase "bee's knees" means sweet and good, because the knees of the bee are where all the sweet, good stuff is collected. 
There's no profound reason to relate bees and knees other than the jaunty-sounding rhyme. In the 1920s it was fashionable to use nonsense terms to denote excellence - 'the snake's hips', 'the kipper's knickers', 'the cat's pyjamas/whiskers', 'the monkey's eyebrows' and so on. Of these, the bee's knees and the cat's whiskers are the only ones to have stood the test of time. 

Also... 'Bee's knees' began to be used in early 20th century America. Initially, it was just a nonsense expression that denoted something that didn't have any meaningful existence - the kind of thing that a naive apprentice would be sent to the stores to ask for, like a 'sky-hook' or 'striped paint'. 

Bee Jackson: One tenuous connection between the bee's knees and an actual bee relates to Bee Jackson. Ms. Jackson was a dancer in 1920s New York and popularised the Charleston, being credited by some as introducing the dance to Broadway in 1924. She went on to become the World Champion Charleston dancer and was quite celebrated at the time. It's not beyond the bounds of possibility that the expression became popular in reference to her and her very active knees, but 1924 post dates the origin of the phrase. 
Is there any value in the theory that "Bee's Knees" was originally defined as meaning insignificant, or of little value? I thought this seemed a peculiar suggestion when I first heard it, but it seems the other terms described - Eel's Ankle, Elephant's Instep (Gnat's Wing is another, although not mentioned here) - would have similar connotations.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

All She Wants is Cherries

The Ones That Make It
Never mind the birds and bees; do you know where cherries come from?
Sweet cherries, those dimpled, crimson bites so round and juicy, with their sweet meaty fruit flesh and taut scarlet outer skin, are known as tender fruits. With such specific requirements to grow they are found only in very specific conditions. They need rich, well-drained soils of the perfect pH, where winters are chill enough to keep the trees dormant until it’s time to bloom, and summers that are not-too-hot-yet-sunny-enough to provide those little critters with their daily dose of eight to ten hours of sunlight.
In blossom the cherry is classic, its clouds of flowers heralding spring. Cherries grow in places like the Kashmir Valley, Persia, the deepest south of France, the Mediterranean and Baltic lands–in other words, Shangri-La.
In the human diet for four thousand years, cherries feature prominently in Heironymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (circa 1500) where you cannot mistake their symbolism, which is alive and well to this day: purity and the deflowering of innocence.
After outrunning the Russian front at the tail end of World War Two, my dad landed in Niagara. Tucked into the sweet southern curve of Lake Ontario, on soils lain down when a massive glacial lake receded at the end of the Pleistocene leaving thick deposits of lacustrine silt over glacial till, this peninsular paradise was the Promised Land to him.
Cherries grow here, in the good, deep, friable, well-drained soil of the Lake Iroquois Plain.
My mom arrived a few years after; at sixteen she was too young to stay behind when her parents left their Manitoba acreage, bought from the CPR during western expansionism, to move to the Golden Horseshoe which hosts one-third of Canada’s best agricultural land—and a similar representation of Canada’s population.
They weren’t the first immigrants to settle here, of course. People have nestled into this sweet spot since it was humanly possible – ten millennia and counting—after the époques of warm inland sea, Wisconsin ice field, and finally the massive freshwater lake, which drained when the St. Lawrence ice bridge gave way at the warm end of the Pleistocene, exposing fertile soil in the lee of the Cretaceous coastline now known as the Niagara escarpment.
The Onguiaahra gave this neck of the woods its Iroquois name, and there were many others (Seneca, Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Huron, Petun, Erie and the Susquehannock) who traveled through, inhabited, farmed, hunted, settled, fished and fought here, following the water, the mighty, muscular Niagara, unnervingly green, mirroring the lush lands on either bank.
By the time I was old enough to roam freely my family lived beside Four Mile Creek, so called because it’s exactly four miles from the Niagara. We just called it the creek, and it was the perfect place for us kids to mess about in boats, get soakers in November, skate on in winter, and explore in spring when the cherries on either bank flowered in pink and white efflorescence.

Of course, I took the creek for granted, but have since learned that this little waterway drains thirteen square kilometers of the ancient lakebed, and is designated as Class 1 agricultural soil (only half of one percent of our country’s total tillable soil is this prime). The Four Mile Creek drainage is now almost entirely converted to orchard.
This fertile place by a watercourse bears evidence of all human settlement since the ice retreated, and was in fact inhabited by aboriginals and the first colonials, Niagara’s United Empire Loyalists.
Tucked into the tidy, tended rows of fruit trees near Four Mile Creek is a patch of wilderness. Protected because it shelters a historic Burying Ground, this remnant of first growth Carolinian coppice has survived all of Niagara’s human settlement.
In my memory the gravestones of the Servos family and the forest are inseparable, as are the forest and the riparian remnant hugging the creek’s banks. Deciduous diversity shelters the water and morphs into the white elm, shagbark hickory and white ash of the original hardwood forest in the graveyard wood, not to mention maples with plate-sized leaves and oaks. Tall grasses grow until they are mown, their tall floral stalks bearing witness to natural succession after centuries of forest clearing.
 It was a strange and exhilarating irony to rest peacefully on the grave markers. The hot, sunny days of mid-summer in the well-ordered cherry orchard were tempered perfectly by the shade of wild canopy, and rendered dreamy by the movements of grass and milkweed. Butterflies busied themselves. Insects and amphibians made music here: cricket rhythm, cicada dissonance, and the chug-chug of motor-throated frogs.
But it isn’t nostalgia that makes me write of my birthplace. It is a need to acknowledge my crucible, the cradle of my civilization—the home I left as soon as I could fly.
That patch of forest beside the creek, hidden deep within the heart of the domesticated orchards, held the power of nature for me. I was drawn to the wilderness along the water for comfort, therapy, healing.
What, you ask, could a fifteen-year-old girl have to heal from?
Well, I was a tender fruit, bruised by a touch too rough: I wondered, if God saw the sparrow fall, why didn’t he catch it?
The people I lived among were survivors of the twentieth century’s major European crises: revolution, collectivization, communism, Stalinism, Nazism, war, escape. They had been persecuted, displaced, removed, interned, relocated. There was loss: husbands and wives were separated, children orphaned, brothers and sisters torn apart. Betrayal, internment, death by execution, disappearance, mysterious parentage—all these play out in my family tree.
By the time these people arrived on Canadian soil they were ready to put their heads down and make a new life, as inoffensively yet determinedly as possible. So they worked hard, and they worked the land, pulling it into service, and all of us with it.
Just the other day my son asked me, “Was your father a good man?” In the split second before I nodded, a lifetime of responses sizzled across my neural pathways. At every juncture in my development my answer would have been different. At one time I believed anger at him was in my very roots. But as I clocked my response, I knew I could—I had—let it go.
This son is nine, the age my father was when the Russians finally made it to the Ukraine and ousted the German army, which was seen to be a saviour by the German-speaking Mennonites, people who were always looking for a safe place to mind their own business. Tagging along as the army retreated, my dad and his family were the front: soldiers, bombs, guns, the flight across eastern Europe in winter with horse and wagon, crowded train cars, deplorable conditions, panic, terror.
My dad’s cousin recounts icicles of blood dripping from their wooden carts, and a face full of filth from the chamber pots emptied out the train car ahead. That winter this cousin watched a Polish woman pull her blind husband by his hand, as they and their children were evacuated under soldiers’ orders in the dead of winter. My dad’s family was housed in their house, ate their root vegetables, and fed their hungry horse with that family’s hand-mown hay.
I had two cherries tattooed on my skin before it was fashionable for young women to embrace body art. Somehow I knew that I was indelibly marked by my lineage, haunted by the effects, yet buoyed by the journey, and the arrival in the new land. The cherry signified all that was good, and somehow I understood that too.
My nine-year-old was born on the anniversary of my dad’s death; they never met. That July day was beautiful, as only a summer day in Niagara can be, with perfect cherry growing conditions, the kind of weather my dad loved best: blue skies, sunshine, twenty-seven sweet degrees with a little breeze off the lake that made the green willows dance, while puffy marshmallow clouds bounced above the thick green grass where he was laid to rest.
What would I (do I) do to protect my sons? This is the lens through which I must peer down the line. I live in good times, thanks to all that happened then.
Very few farmers will grow cherries: they are so tricky to protect. So the ones that make it are a unique delicacy, one of those very special fruits that, grown and harvested in season, when the conditions are just right, yield a very special thing.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Mad Max, Messenger of Hope

What did you hear about Mad Max (the new version)? Too much violence, too many chase scenes, too thin plot.

So when my teen age son suggested we watch it together, I told him I had to do some research first.

Rated R in the US, the rating site I visited described, yes, the violence and some language. But what seemed to have thrown the rating into R territory was—surprisingly—pregnant bodies and lactating women.


That didn’t sound so bad to me. So I was more than happy to make some popcorn and have a look at the new version of a movie from my past.

Creepy, dystopic view of an enslaved society in a damaged world with decrepit (male) leaders in charge, tick. Pumped up warriors with bloodlust who spray their teeth with chrome before they fight, check. Super souped-up vehicles with mega-motors requiring human carburetion, check. Warrior tribes bearing resemblance to creatures of a new and alien world, check. Said souped up vehicles careering through desert in pursuit of… what? It’s a domestic! A family squabble. 

A bunch of “wives” lead by Furiosa, their warrior woman, are escaping enslavement by decrepit male leader who breeds them to populate his brave new world. One of them is visibly pregnant. Furiosa was stolen when she was a child, and wants to go back to the Green Place she remembers.

I love Furiosa!

How come none of the reviews I read mention this feminist take? This allegory of hope powerfully behind the roaring engines? Mad Max is a mature version of The Lorax?

“No, it’s not!!” my son protested. “It’s nothing like The Lorax.” 

“Come on,” I said. “Stay with me: it’s taken a piece of The Lorax, when the last truffula tree was cut down--the ponds are glumped, the Humming fish drowned, land is bared, and Swomee Swans gone (and isn't that biker gang wearing Thneeds??)--and made an interpretation of the Unless ending.

“And what’s the Lorax about?” I persisted. “How does it end?”

“The seed,” he said.

“And someone who cares,” I concluded.

Mad Max is a noisy, messy, crazy chase in the pursuit of hope!

Furiosa leads the way, in her search for redemption. And Max, a man of very few words, grudgingly reveals his own buried desire to believe in something better—or at least to support this woman who moves passionately toward it.

I believe that’s the human condition.

Hollywood didn’t manufacture the happy ending, nor did Disney create the dream of romantic love.

They do capitalize on it, but that’s only because it’s within us. We do understand—and sometimes it requires the feminine to illuminate it—that everything is yin and yang. There’s good in the bad and bad in the good, and it’s all one piece.

It’s the very essence of life. It's the message (for example) of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It's the power we all hold. It's a choice we must all make. 

It’s not exactly a happy ending. It’s a way of looking at the world.

In this movie it’s the women who make the change. They’ve had enough. They make the break. It’s when Max washes his face with mother’s milk that he begins to see, and drops his weapons (or rather, begins to use them in the pursuit of hope).

A surprisingly rich allegory, Mad Max is a lot of fun, and even has a bit of depth.

"But now, says the Once-ler,
Now that you're here,
the word of the Lorax seems perfectly clear.
UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It's not."

Thanks, Dr. Seuss.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Having fun yet?

Interesting pinnacle of summer fun was enduring (sorry, kids) the Calaway Park experience with my boys (10,13). 

Determined to accompany them and curious to see if I could do it without getting sick, I hunkered down into every ride they suggested.

Feeling like I was in that deep limbic euphoria/darkness of childbirth I was able to zone in so deeply that I didn't feel the spinning, shaking or zooming.

I just rode out the ride in my very own zone of stillness where nothing could touch me. In fact, I was nothing at that point but that point. 
"I have to admit," I said to my boys, "I'm not really having fun."

"What??!!" they were horrified, with that innocence/ignorance that the young can/must own.

And then I thought about it, and decided that I was actually, indeed, having a kind of fun. What the heck!! It doesn't have to be fun to be fun, right?!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

You Won't Get Another Life

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara is a must see! 

In a nutshell, my review: this film is fun, it's flirtacious, it's deep yet frivolous. It's perfect.

Three buddies from school days who are now all rich, gorgeous, well dressed and very, very au courant Indian urbanites (who move easily between English and Hindi), go on a road trip through Spain as an extended bachelor party. One of the three is getting married, and each of the men chooses a place and an activity that they will all participate in while on this road trip.

Each man has his vulnerable spot, recognized by his friends. You won't get another life is a rough translation of the movie's title. And during the trip each man is encouraged to face his fears and to take significant actions that ultimately transforms him. 

I just love how life's challenges are addressed in this movie, rather than ignored. Each friend gets to fight his most fearsome dragon (and win!!) all on one landscape-lovely (Costa Brava, Valencia, Pamplona and Seville, and the beautiful male stars), poetic (poems written by Javed Akhtar), cheeky road trip in a vintage1949 skyblue Buick Super

with the top down AND a great sound track to support the dancing scenes (La Tomatina (tomato festival) which is like Holi, but monochromatic, and includes our stars dancing shirtless being showered by fountains of tomato sauce, a flamenco masala number sung by Maria del Mar Fernandez and danced by our multi-talented stars, and a choreographed run through the narrow streets of Pamplona)

This movie is so fun! It sweeps you along, entertains you all the way, and surprises and delights you at every turn. Enjoy.