This article was first published on Womens Web on 20th April, 2016
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel teaches us that age is just a number – we can seek and find happiness, or try out new things at any age.
I happened to watch The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel before watching its prequel The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. The film grew on me gradually as I enjoyed and lived each character through my second and third date with the film.
I cherished some simple yet profound lessons from this colorful and charming ensemble film.
Maggie Smith’s sharp tongued yet affable Mrs Donnelly becomes a true mentor to the brash and ambitious Dev Patel aka Sonny. She teaches him by not offering advice. She helps him explore the American world by being with him yet allowing him to make mistakes enough to learn but not to land him in trouble.
She writes a letter to him at the end where she says that she was writing it to the children she never had. She proves that parenting is an emotion, an energy which bonds the parent and the child through a selfless, nurturing connect. “I am not helping you when I am here, so that you can act when I am not here” is the most empowering lesson from a parent to a child.
Her trust in Sonny comes forward when she says, “He makes many mistakes, but none when it matters.”
“I don’t do advices. I do opinions,” is her lesson in being confident and authentic.
Judy Dench as Evelyn and Bill Nighy as Douglas prove that their ‘love for life’ helps them realize their love for each other. Evelyn asks, “How many lives can there be?” and answers herself, “As many as we want”.
Love needs friendship, respect and freedom in the long run and it is beautifully proven by Evelyn and Douglas.
The floor scrubber for forty years takes the challenge to get funding for a hostel cum hotel for seniors and confidently speaks to the Evergreen owner. Sonny, though melodramatic, wins over through his honest aspiration and childlike optimism.
His risk taking and fierce resolve reflects in his focussed attention on expanding his business. Dev Patel as an eccentric and exuberant youngster reminds us of so many start up mavericks of today.
Life is the biggest leader of all. Celebrating life by accepting the building blocks handed over to us and using them continuously and effectively is the key to be a self-leader. All the senior citizens from Britain prove it by starting a new life in Jaipur. This new life is not a retired existence but an invigorating beginning before the final end.
“There is no end of life, only the end of a story,” is what we absorb.
The first film focused on the struggles of the elderly for these Britons who chose to come to India not because they wanted to but they had to. The ‘sorrow’ of the first film changes to ‘purpose’ in the second film.
All the senior people who think every second – “Do we have enough time?” learn to add purpose to each moment. Mrs. Donnelly tries to become a parent which she never was, Evelyn becomes self-reliant at 79, which she never experienced as a sheltered, naïve housewife. Honesty between the bartender and his wife at this age speak volumes about the need of companionship and fear of loneliness. It encourages older people to never give up till the last day.
Age is merely a number, it is purely incidental that we pick up years while living. Giving happiness to ourselves and others can be done like a warrior, till the last breath.
What do you think?
Image source: youtube.