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Dec 27, 2011

Mission Impossible: The Baby Protocol

Two days, two movie buffs, one multiplex and one restless baby – Mission Accomplished: The new baby protocol established…

Dear Riddhie,
I am sure over a period of time you would have realized that I am a little more than an average cinema patron and movies do make up for a very large part of my entertainment. I guess I inherited this love for motion pictures from your grandfather and maybe some of it would rub on to you as well. I can’t tell for sure as of now, but let’s see if this is the case to be. For now, let me tell you about your initial few movies with the focus mainly on the experience yesterday and today.
Let me begin with some history here. Your mom and I had gone to watch Salman Khan starrer ‘Dabangg’ when she was carrying you (a little over 8 months then) and the next movie that we could watch in a theater after Dabangg was ‘Delhi Belly’ and that was when you were already over 7 months old. In fact we followed it back to back with Mr. Bachchan’s ‘Buddha hoga tera baap’, the same day. I wouldn’t say that this was the right cinema for you to open your movie watching innings but nonetheless that’s how you were initiated. 
The next few months were mostly spent travelling, adjusting to life in US and watching you grow from a gentle infant to a tornado toddler and it wasn’t until Christmas 2011 that we could plan another movie together. We zeroed on ‘Mission Impossible IV – The Ghost Protocol’ and made to the theater with you in our lap.
I guess the occasion was right and I perhaps could not have timed or planned it better. Since it was Christmas, most of the seats in the theater were empty which meant that you could have an entire row to yourself to walk, crawl and play around if you wanted to.

I must admit that you were intrigued by the large screen and the sound system and (to my surprise actually) sat on your mother’s lap looking intently at what was going on for first half hour. However, as the time progressed you wanted to get down and move about a bit and since we were the only ones sitting in an entire block of seats, we let you down. I got up and sat next to you on the flight of stairs in a corner and we perhaps spent the next 30 – 40 minutes like that.
Mission Impossible We could keep you busy with your little snacks and milk at random but I guess it was almost time when your patience ran out. Just about the moment when desert storm kicked in on Tom Cruise (watch the movie and you will know) you got absolutely restless and threw off your cookies and milk bottle as far as you could and began crying. The slow sniffle transformed into loud screams and eventually a Dolby level bawl. Within seconds, you made it clear to us that it isn’t the ghost protocol but the baby’s code of conduct which matters.

Thus, began our own little mission impossible. We rocked you, I let you throw my mobile a few times, your mom kept bribing you with some candy and nuts and I took you for a little walk along the stairs as well. But all this could just about last until the final action sequence and eventually your mom did make the sacrifice and picked you up and walked out of the theater to help you settle in. I joined her a few minutes later and as I key this in, I still do not know how the film ended. (Maybe I shall watch it with you again some time) Maybe we were asking too much from you. You are still about 14 months and 3 weeks old and this is perhaps as reasonable a 14 month old can be. 

However, we did not let the matter rest here. Having seen a fair success with you on MI IV (well we could together almost watch 80 – 90 % of the total length of the movie) we decided to push our luck again. The movie this time was the 3D version of Farhan Akhtar’s Don II. As I thought, there were limited people in the audience and the theater again was largely empty and we could find ourselves an entire row empty again. But then as it turned out, you probably liked Tom Cruise better than our Shah Rukh Khan and you were at your restless best within first 15 minutes itself. You wanted to snatch the 3D glasses and wanted to move about just everywhere.

This time around, however your mom decided to battle it out. I guess her confidence was augmented by the fact that it was all Indian population inside the theater and she kind of presumed that the Indian ‘Chalta Hai’ attitude was globally applicable. She took you to the farthest secluded corner and let you move about, as you pleased. You did not let her keep her glasses on for more than a minute at any given time and I am guessing she kind of watched the fuzzed 2D version of a 3D rendition. By the time it was intermission, your mom was nearing her breakpoint. I stepped in when you became almost too violent for her to handle.

Riddhie I guess I could grab your attention and settle you down for a little while but it wasn’t long before you wanted to be free again. Your mom tried bribing you with some fruit loops but then I guess little children can be greedy pigs once in a while. You stuffed a handful in your mouth and before we realized you were choking on a piece right in the theater. Your mom thumped you on the back and you were settled after puking all over me. While this entire thing lasted only a few seconds, I could smell the stink on my jacket even hours later. Funnily enough, you were all calm and ready to sleep just as about the movie was ending.

I am sure in years to come there would be instances when you would drag us to a movie that you would want to watch and then there perhaps would be a time when you would want to go and catch a movie and not want me or your mom to tag along. I generally would not want to dissuade you from cinema for everyone needs their share of imagination and a break from reality. I would however, want you to self-regulate what you watch for it does affect the way you think and dream.

So, maybe from the time that the moving silver screen starts making sense to you till the time that you are grown up enough to know what you should be watching, I promise to be your man to pick those movies for you. Hope we enjoy them together and carry on our little film club.

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