With TV, cable, video cassettes and laser discs on hire, I find going to a cinema a pointless pursuit. However, thhere are people who still go to the cinema. Last night, the wife persuaded me to accompany her to ‘Sense And Sensibility at the Sterling. It was her type of movie, not mine. Too much talk and no action, piano-playing and giggling in the drawing-room, but no body in the library.
Sterling, I am told, is the best cinema in town. I thought it was Regal, but never mind. Each ticket cost Rs.43 (NET 28,E.D.14, SER. 1, whatever that means), a princely sum with which I ould have hired four video cassettes and seen them with my family, my neighbour's family, their servants, out servant.
The show was a t 10.15 p.m., which came as a surprise to me, I am used to 3.30, 6.30 and 9.30. But it was still house full, there were large crowds standing on the Sterling steps and asking, "Any spare tickets," I wondered if all these people did not have TV sets at home.
But I am going ahead. First there was the task of dressing up, driving to the cinema and finding space on Bastion Road to park the car, no easy task at the best of times, but impossible on last day, last show of ‘Sense And Sensibility'. Then pay the little self-employed street warden Rs. 10 to guard the car.
The lift was not working (best cinema in town, yes), so I had to climb up several flights of steps, admiring on the way Vinod Apparels blazers in a show-window in one of the landings. Then I had to climb a few more steps to enter the audiotorium, and as the credit titles had already begun, I fumbled through the dark. Unlike, in precable times, when an usher conducted you light to your seat and deposited you in it, I found a man standing at the bottom, torch in hand, and barking, "Fifth row, seventh seat," etc.
I climbed more steps to reach the seat. And, five mimutes later, got up again since it was the wrong seat. I should have argued and stuck to the original seat. This one squeaked every time I moved forward, and squeaked every time I moved backwards. The wife said I did not know how to sit in push-back seats.
People kept coming in long after the movie had started, and the usher kept flashing his torch. It was difficult to concentrate on the screen. It was like the wife continuously moving between me and the TV screen in the course of her housework. It was all very disturbing. My fingers itched to push the rewind, volume control, pause buttons.
In the interval, everybody went out and returned with popcorns. There was no butter in the popcorns. Imagine, going to the movies and having popcorn without butter!