the Motorcycle Diaries
The ordinary stories of extra-ordinary people are always intriguing. The question always lingers about them…what must have caused them to become how they are? This film takes us through the journey of answering that question for the one person who has touched the lives of common man in Central & South America – Che.
The Person – There are some people who turn everything they touch to gold. When they enter the lives of other people, they also bring along a breath of fresh air, energy and fearlessness. They carry an invisible power to breakthrough the years of superstitious belief systems simply by their actions and curiosity. Before they realize it, they touch the lives of several people. That person is Che in the eyes of everyone whom he has met in his journey…a young daring lad who defies the logic and the man-made (unjust) laws, who is not afraid of questioning and has a strong conviction, and who is simply following his heart. When he leaves, the void difficult to fill.
The Friendship – Dreams and aspirations transcend across all barriers or differences amongst individuals and societies. That is what connects people and creates enduring friendships like that of Alberto and Ernesto. The experience of traveling long winding journeys on the path less travelled (literally and not so literally) together defines the foundation of one’s life. That connection stays forever and would be difficult to surpass. I have experienced this with my (once) boyfriend- (now) husband. When faced with extremely grueling situations in life and close-to-death experiences, when participating in highly challenging outdoor activities of very demanding hikes, races, skiing, ice-climbing, etc, and when traveling together through thick and thin, that is when the bond of friendship, trust and love strengthens, and the belief in each other solidifies. The journey of overcoming an arduous circumstance in life, the pull and push of each other, is what defines the relationship of the two individuals. In a spiritual sense, they become one in heart and soul. While this may sound too romantic, it is for real and can be only understood deeply by those who have been through something similar. The movie does a phenomenal job of showcasing this depth of friendship for those who can see it. Hence their departing in the end is truly heartbreaking because no-one else can possibly understand what they meant for and to each other. It would be a tall order to ever fill those big shoes of attachment, understanding and companionship.
The Journey – The journey of Che and the stories of people he touches invokes the following emotions. It completes the circle of understanding why Che is what he is, why might have done what he did. The stories of indigenous people are very similar across the boundaries of nations. Rural India is more similar to Latin America than to the Urban India. The so-called developed society ironically shows its true colors of primitive thinking by side-lining the handicapped, by legalizing unjust take over of someone else’s property, by making this self-sufficient communities homeless and then calling them illiterate, by destroying the ecology for immediate comforts, by abandoning the idea of a community. Clearly it is under-developed in the ideas of respect for others, ethics, justice, truth and freedom. Repeatedly history has shown that when we decide to understand the real reality, the ideas of creating a better world will naturally come. But we are so afraid of knowing the truth, of crying, of inconvenience that we even fashionably admit – Things are so miserable that I don’t want to know about it (and hence deal with it and hence do anything about it). In silence, we are supporting the status-quo. If we feel that we will die (with exaggeration ofcourse) of seeing the injustice, then let’s open our eyes to see that people are actually dying of the same injustice. If you feel that nothing can be made better, I dare ask you, what you have you really done to ever change it? Let’s not hide under the pretext of development to escape from the sacrifice needed to make this world a better and equal place. The explanations for the mistreatment of and war against the handicapped, the weaker, the underprivileged, the powerless are now long due. What kind of development are we trying to achieve if it cannot respect basic humanity.
This movie is an absolutely beautiful human story. Even if one does not feel strongly about the things I mentioned above, one will likely enjoy the story of their friendship and travel adventures.