Self-introspection is a necessary condition that we often go through from time to time, as we seek and fulfil new experiences.
Today, all around us we’re seeing the emergence of new interests, ideals, beliefs, thoughts and value systems, the result being a cornucopia of symbolism and imagery we have to make sense of, all bound together by the forces of free market economies and the proliferation of the internet in our day to day lives. Seldom do we make an effort to understand the real power of technology over us, not to mention our ability to lose ourselves into our inventions as ends in themselves rather than, technology being used well to further our means to other ends which could make us happier and knowledgeable as one large global community.
Never before have we lived in a time where information was so free to use and share. Yet we’re also living in a time where too much information is now a problem, where it’s hard to make sense of so much, and construct them into one bigger construct of life. There is value in niche, well made, professional grade content today, where the more nicher one’s story is, therein lies the opportunity to make a mark. Today, at Bangalore Insider we spoke to Rajni, the Director of ‘The Day I met Joshua’, about aspects of the film that resonate with our modern lives today. Below are the excerpts from our interaction.
Is it right to say that people understand themselves through solitude? Which is what Kelly goes through in the solitude of the desert.
Yes, when we find ourselves in a position when we have no option but to look within, when we dont put an effort to develop a relationship with ourself, then situations like what Reena goes through In the desert (when she is left alone) pushes us into meeting ourself. I feel solitude and self-awareness then go hand in hand. When we have no distractions, we are forced to look within. It gives us an opportunity to dwell questions like what are purpose is , why we do the things we do in the society we live in . A moment of solitude helps us gain a new perspective to our inner self.
Why do you think your experience with ‘gadget withdrawal symptoms’ in Florida prompted you to make a film? What happened?
I was honestly quite devastated when my phone broke down beyond repair, this was the longest I went off line from all my social media apps. This experience made me question a lot of things that I realized had become so normal in my daily life. I was dependent on my phone for everything. My phone had my money, the maps and had even become my substitute memory. I felt like I had experienced a relationship breakup or like I had lost a close friend of mine. I was grieving for my phone. A mere gadget had so much control over my life. By the end of the night I was confused as to why losing my phone was bothering me so much. It was just a gadget, I could wake up in the morning and go buy a new phone off the shelf.
That night I made a decision. Once I bought a new phone, I would not be as emotionally attached to it but look at it as a piece of technology that is built to make my life easier. I would use the technology but would not be used by it. That was two years ago, and I think that night flipped a switch in me. And of course a story so personal, had a potential to be made into a film and thus the idea about ‘The Day I Met Joshua’ was born.
What is ‘universal consciousness’ according to you? We understand that’s the theme you ascribe to the film in general
Its partly science and partly spiritual. Irrespective of the journey one takes, we all universally experience love, sadness, and happiness. We feel these emotions because we are alive. If we cease to exist at this moment, the world ceases to exist for us.
So it’s like we are part of a bigger plot. We don’t live in a secluded environment, everything is interconnected. The dry Saharan desert dust causes rainfall somewhere else on the planet, our Earth drifts in space in a precise speed, the sun rises and sets at a precise time. Everything seems random at first but there is a cause and effect. As humans we are a part of this. The cells we are made of is a product of the environment we live in.
Universal consciousness to me is the world we build around us which is nothing but a manifestation of our thoughts, and the intrinsic layers of human minds relative to the fabric of the entire universe.
Why do you think the film is relevant in today’s day and age?
Look around and look within- how many times we feel disconnected being with our own family and friends we are so isolated. Its very Important to connect with ourselves. Regardless of age, everyone has a mobile phone in their hand. As the world is digitally connected , geographical borders are no longer a barrier to meet and collaborate with people. It is also an aspect of our life that demands a lot of our energy. The amount of time we give for our external environment is disproportionate to the care we give to our inner self. How long can you drive a car because you are too busy to stop for fueling?
This film’s message is about recognizing the need to pause, take a moment and get to know your inner world. By recharging ourselves we can have enough fuel to burn in the world we live in. Nature is a healer. In the lap of nature, this connection with ourself happens almost instantaneously, even if it’s in a vast empty desert. The feeling of witnessing the blue pacific ocean , or watching the Himalayan mountains turn gold because of the morning sun or even for that matter sitting under a tree, we are transported to a different dimension. My film was an attempt to capture these moments that rejuvenate us for free. It only costs a little time from our daily schedules and sometimes that means going offline from our external environment and going online to your internal self.
Nature is there for us to cherish it, and by spending time in nature , through this film, I want both millennials and beyond millennials to take away an important message- to step aside from the virtual world and to connect with oneself , the nature is always there for us to cherish it, and we could repurpose this beautiful element in our own ways to ultimately connect better with the world.”
Our readers want to know what has been your own process of self-discovery?
This pandemic forced me to spend more time with myself, something that I haven’t done in a long while. I am always planning adventures, if not working on films, I am always surrounded by people. Initially, I was anxious how I would handle my mind but now that I can reflect on how I was able to adapt to being home and working virtually without meeting people over the past year, I owe it all to my inquisitiveness in life.
Unknowingly, this inquisitiveness has shaped the person I am today.
I have a big circle of friends from all religions of the world, atheists and agnostics alike. By surrounding myself with such drastically different kinds of people, I have learnt to absorb their understandings and view points. I even fasted for 30 days last year for Ramadan to experience first hand how it affects me mentally, while my muslim friends constantly guided me throughout. I celebrate Ganesh puja, the Chinese new year and Christmas with equal vigor. Thus over the years my temperament has become drastically accepting. Food is a big way I have discovered a lot of new cultures. Can you believe the Nigerians have a very similar dish like our ragi mudde ( ragi millet ) ? They call it ‘Swallow’. I can now whip up traditional Northern China’s hot pot like my best friend,You Zhou’s grandpa. By truly being open to all kinds of experiences I have learnt to curate the ideologies and lifestyles that suit me. Through making movies, I am, in a way, sharing all that I have learnt through my own process of self discovery.
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