Thursday, 21 January, 2021

Where Is Your SOUL?


Nistha Shrestha

A simple story with a deep meaning is the essence of the movie "Soul". A masterpiece that is sure to resonate with many considering the challenging year all of us experienced. The themes touched upon by the movie allows us to draw parallels with the personal lessons we have learnt being in a pandemic.

The movie follows the life of Joe Gardner. A middle school music teacher who dreams to find one opportunity that he believes will change his life. With the hunt for the perfect gig, he faces the pressure to find a secure job. His entire life is music and just when he is close to his goal, death welcomes him with open arms. The story follows his struggle with accepting the change and the fight to get back to the life which was suddenly taken away from him. Each one of us is in a race.


     Our Identity

The race to find a perfect career, a perfect partner, a perfect home; the list is endless. Like Joe, we have a goal in mind which becomes our identity. The goal changes with every stage but the target is defined and all our efforts are directed to achieve it. But what happens when this dream comes true?  Do we take a moment to appreciate our achievement or do we immediately fill the vacuum with another plan? The pandemic put a halt to many dreams. The movie makes us question ourselves, how did we deal with this unwanted and unexpected pause? Did we allow it to control us or we found a way to make it suit our needs?

The year 2020 forced us all to take a break. It gave us time to look back at our lives and experience our emotions in those lonely moments created by lockdowns. For Joe, the second chance came as an accident and he fulfilled his dream to play with the best. The resulting dissatisfaction, however, confuses him which makes him wonder if the music was truly his calling as he made himself believe to be. Many of us probably realised important parts of your life during the pandemic.

We were grateful for the support from our family, friends and even pets. Maybe some of us realised how meaningless our actions have been all these years and wished to change if given a chance. Now as we are learning to live with the pandemic, have we brought a change to our lives? Have we retained our appreciation for simple moments of joy? With the new year setting in, what lessons are we taking forward to make our life better? The moment of realisation for Joe made him appreciate music in the real sense and allowed him to make things better for the coming generation.

Apart from the central character Joe, the supporting characters allow us a peek into the different personalities in modern society. The character 22 represents the young generation who are trying to find a spark in their lives.

The world has defined multiple options for them to choose but what if none of the choices ignites the fire within them. Does society have the patience to allow the young generation to figure it out or label them as a vagabond for life? A conversation between Joe and 22 highlights how preconceived ideas of living has forced youngsters to give up on their dreams.

In this particular scene, the character 22 states her out of the box interests which makes Joe comment, "Those aren't purposes 22. That's just regular old living."  This feedback from an admired person leaves a mark pushing the character 22 to question her purpose and worth in life. The rejection faced by youngsters from the hands of their closed circle has forced many to forget their dream and resign themselves to replaying the negative thoughts which become their reality.

The message of hope and positivity is conveyed through two characters in the movie. Dez, a barber who is loved and appreciated by all his customers. Joe believes Dez was born to be a barber and this judgment is changed when he learns about Dez's past.

 It is great to have a passion but sometimes the circumstances of life make us pursue a completely different path. This does not mean we let go of your passion. Through Dez, the movie teaches us how we can modify our passion to suit the life we are leading rather than crib over what has been lost. Our choices define us and trusting our passion allows us to blend it to any obstacle that comes our way.



The second character worth mentioning is Moonwind. A person if looked at from the lens of society would be labelled as a free-spirited, odd and maybe even called strange. He is a character unaffected by the comments from society. He performs his duties while simultaneously enjoying the hidden gems life has to offer. Through him, we get a glimpse of the good and bad side of passion. Most importantly, he sheds light on the concept of "lost souls", people who are alive but leading a futile life.

The movie "Soul" allows the audience to develop their associations with the characters. It is a movie that gives a chance to review one's life and encourages viewers to find joy in whatever they are doing.

The goal is not the destination but the journey one takes to reach there. And if there is one lesson this movie wants its audience to take away, it would be, to find something that makes you feel alive and enjoy every moment of it. With our close encounter with death this past year it makes sense to end with an African proverb which beautifully captures the true way of living," When death finds you, may it find you alive. "


(Shrestha is a mental health expert)


How do you feel after reading this news?