My parents raised me to be an avid movie goer, but I don't believe they realized the impact their guidance in this area would have on my life.
I learned to not only love movies but to internalize the whole experience. Some of the best of times in my recollection involve standing in line on opening day, or sitting with my mom and dad in a theater or in front of the television experiencing something new or different or beloved through a movie.
The most epic opening day that I can claim is when I stood in line with my family for the movie Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. I remember seeing the line of people wrapping around the Huntridge theater and the large painted mural of Darth Vader larger than life with Dorothy Gale and other fascinating characters from famous movies along an entire outside wall that we were standing near. I won't even attempt to describe the electricity in the room when everyone found out for the first time that Vader was actually Luke's father. You had to be there.
Opening days are exciting, but there is something to be said about the at-home movie experience as well.
I remember sitting around the television, with all of my family, watching Gandhi. My mom was crocheting something and my dad was in his recliner, and my brothers and I were piled around on the floor and bed (our television was in my parents' bedroom because my dad was in his chair or bed much of the time). My father kept commenting on what a good man Gandhi is and praising his influence, and I remember seeing him weep at some of the parts as if we were there in that moment in India. My father had a very good friend who is Indian, so maybe that is why he felt so sensitive. Regardless of why, the experience taught me to allow myself to feel all that there is to feel even though a movie is just an interpretation of events, oftentimes lifetimes away from when you watch it, or even a complete fabrication. Because of my father, I love Gandhi—what he did for his people and what he represents as a human being. He lived for his fellow man, and I have wanted to be like him since I saw that movie.
I don't necessarily want to starve myself to death for the cause of peace, but I can starve myself of the wickedness of the world: the hate, the anger, the violence. I am not perfect at this, but I think of Gandhi and his words when I am striving to do more, striving to better my life and the lives of those around me.
In all of my ventures, I strive to "be the change that [I] wish to see in the world." And I thank the people who created the movie Gandhi and my parents for sharing it with me that I might be influenced so greatly by someone who lived half a world away and died long before I was alive.