Heaven’s gates are open once again

In this column, the writer shares his experience of visiting a movie theatre for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdown

You know how they say that on their last day of life, people don’t really know that it’s in fact their last day. Somewhat similarly – if you will pardon the exaggeration in analogy – on the last February day of the dastardly 2020, as I walked into Mayajaal multiplex to catch Kannum Kannum Kollayadithaal, I had no inkling that it would be the last time I would be in a theatre for at least eight months. It was a divine experience, a semi-weekly visitation that I had taken for granted. If someone had posed the hypothetical question then about whether I could handle theatres being shut for almost a year since, I would have likely fainted in shock. And yet, here we are, eight months since, the world transformed, and theatres hesitantly opening their doors once again.

On November 10, as I took tentative steps into a theatre again (SPI: Palazzo), taking in that once-comforting blast of air-conditioned air, a few questions echoed in my head. Was it safe being indoors in a public place, given that a vaccine for covid is still coming? Was it wise to be entering a movie theatre with a disease still at large? It probably wasn’t wise, but then, aren’t love and wisdom often found to be mutually exclusive qualities? And so, yes, I stepped into the theatre hall, the inside of which almost resembles a crime scene. There’s yellow tape blocking every alternate seat, there are barely any people inside, and there’s a general sense of alarm even among those present. There’s a bit of checking before you are allowed in. Your temperature is gauged, and recommendations given to you about using sanitisers and wearing a mask. It’s like you are entering a highly restricted area; well, you are.

For the remainder of this column (and there’s a lot more left, I assure you), visit The gates of heaven are open once again- Cinema express.

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