To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.Oscar Wilde
For the first time in months I ventured out to the cinema to see the film Romantic Road. Married for 35 years, a British couple take an alternative route to winding down their lives to retirement.
They pack everything on top of their 1930s Rolls Royce and journey across India to attend the Chobi Mela photography festival in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The question on everyone’s lips is why would you want to do that?
Why Take Risks?
Rupert Grey would answer that it has always been his dream to do so. But then Rupert is a walking paradox.
- An eccentric upper-class lawyer he enjoys an alternative lifestyle on his farm in Sussex.
- An Englishman driving around India in a Rolls Royce may be viewed as a symbol of colonialism and not welcomed by many.
- In his sixties he still wants to take the risk of driving an old car on treacherous roads 8000 kms across India.
- Their ambitious six-month journey from Mumbai to Dhaka is fraught with many mechanical problems, battling border officials and dodging bandits.
Irony of Risk Taking
When we are young, we think we are invincible. “Nothing bad can happen to us! We can take as many risks as we like.”
As we get older, we think, “Something is going to get us in the end. We may as well do something adventurous before time runs out.”
While we may be prepared to take risks, we often need to engage the help of others to rescue us. Do we consider them in our risk-taking?
Rupert Grey frequently relied on the local villagers when his car was bogged, the exhaust pipe snapped off and he wanted to get the car on and off a small boat. He had escorts to guard him against bandits.
He also relied on the willingness of his wife Jan to take the same risks to be with him. Open to all of Rupert’s adventures, she readily admitted, were it not for him, her life would reflect the quieter person she is.
A Gesture of Respect
Rupert’s reason for taking the Rolls was a gesture to his father and the service of the car which had been used to cart bales of hay rather than being preserved as a status symbol.
They were greeted by the Indians with curiosity, viewed as something of an oddity yet many of the locals appeared to be drawn to the exotic car and showed the couple no animosity. Instead they treated the couple with respect befitting their elder status.
This may have been due to the couple themselves and the obvious love they expressed for each other. The film is a fascinating character study about a couple wanting to share a bold and colourful life together.
The romantic road may have referred to the beauty of India. However, it soon became obvious it was their romantic road trip which gave them more precious time with each other.
While I worried about the Indian people risking their lives to help them, I could not help admiring this couple for embracing the possibilities of life. I am sure many watching the film wished they too could experience the same adventure.
Following our Dreams
Visiting India was a lifelong dream for me but with major health issues, it seemed impossible to achieve. When I finally got there, I discovered that even the toughest moments in life can bring us unimaginable joys.
Chasing Marigolds is a journey through India dedicated to anyone who loves life and believes it is never too late to find life’s tiny blessings, no matter where they find themselves.
Literal and metaphorical bumps in the road are not an obstacle to having an adventure in old age. You are never too old to live your dreams no matter how wild or crazy they may be.
It’s never too late!