By Victor Mukherjee
What is Matrix? It may mean various things, including an international calling card, but for movie buffs across the world the word ‘Matrix’ can only relate to one thing – the cult masterpiece by Wachowski brothers’ (they were brothers back then!).
It’s been more than 16 years since The Matrix released. And it had an unimaginable effect on my life and still continues to do the same. For a sci-fi hungry kid like me, The Matrix was a revelation. It gave birth to several new likings in me, it gave me weird viewpoints, and more than anything it taught me many important lessons in life.
I wont deny, the first time I watched The Matrix in New Empire theatre in Kolkata, it went over my head. I did not understand a single thing other than the brilliant action scenes, and how the power of expressing love can get you back to life and make you a meta human – invincible being – who can stop bullets and run through someone’s body and come out completely destroying it. And then you turn Superman and you fly off in the last shot. That was The Matrix at the first go.
Of course the new likings started peeping through the gates of amusement and I was already looking to buy couple of those gadgets. The sliding Nokia phone Neo used was by far the only Nokia phone, which I drooled for. My usual scorn for Nokia products is no secret to my family and friends and yet… the neon green display and the matte black slider were too sexy for a technophile like me. But Alas! It was too expensive for a student like me.
So I moved on to another highlight of The Matrix; Neo’s ovalesque black shades. In the last 15 years, I have bought at least 15 similar pairs of shades, but every time I watch The Matrix post that, that pair looks drastically different than the one I have. At the end of it, I am left with so many similar shades that even I get confused when to wear which one!
What surprises me is couple of those are similar to what Mr. Smith wore in the movie. Interestingly, some friends had this unique fascination for Morpheus’s stemless glasses…
The third thing that was intriguing about The Matrix, was Neo’s overcoat. Oh! I would die for that overcoat, but sadly, I could not get it because of three precise reasons
a) I could find it in Kolkata
b) The climate in Kolkata is not conducive to wearing an overcoat
c) I had immense trouble for being a weirdo anyway. Did not want to add another one to the list!
I was a decent geek and fanboy myself (some claim I still am). So connecting with these are regular. What hit me hard was something else. This happened when I watched the film for the second time.
This time I opted to watch it with subtitles and hence waited for the VCD (good old days!) to be released. And this time it indeed ‘freed my mind’; ‘It showed me the door and walked right through it.’ And then I understood, a hero’s story is not only his own, its about the people who make the hero. Every person is the hero of their own story, but hero makers are much more important than the hero! For every Chandragupta Maurya, there is a Chanakya; for every Alexander, there is an Aristotle; For every Neo, there ought to be a Morpheus who will give them the choice of the blue or the red pill and welcome him to the real world.
Since then I have searched for my Morpheus. I did find him, under different guise in different stages of my life. They didn’t wear steely gray overcoat and mercury coated glasses, but they definitely shaped my life for better.
But the dialogue, which caught me completely off guard, was when Morpheus says, “There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” This one line clears all the fight we have about theoretical and practical knowledge… that applies in all our day-to-day dwellings. For example, if Virat Kohli misses a ball on the front foot and gets out, we all become big cricket experts! We discuss how Virat should have played it on the rise over the cover region… but geez! First we need to go out and play there… because you might know the path, but he is walking it (just make sure that its not NH 10)! So let him play in peace. You get my point right?
Discussions on The Matrix would never end. I could write a separate chapter on spandex clad Carrie Anne Moss, but that would take me to wonderland and deep into the rabbit hole.
I pity those souls who haven’t watched ‘The Matrix’ till date. It is not a film that could be experienced over an essay. Like Morpheus said, “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.”
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