the sound of the bell

dsc_3233I saw a movie so fresh and exciting, so painful and thrilling, so inspiring and full of hope, that I think it’s going to blow Hollywood out of the water at the end of the month and win best picture as well as best music. It’s Slumdog Millionaire. The sights of India, the evils of India, the beauties of India are all jumbled together in a plot that twists an exciting now––a young man from the slums, called a slumdog because that’s how children survive, like homeless dogs––who can win a million dollars if he answers every question. And every question has its answer in his past. 

To see children climbing mountains of trash and being exploited in ways that are indescribable made me so uncomfortable I wanted to leave. It also made me ashamed of the fat, white bread life I live and any small complaint I might have about it. And I was reminded that there is nothing virtuous about poverty. It’s a trap, it’s a grinding killer of spirit, it’s a spin of the karmic dice that only the lucky survive. 

And I was reminded of how our world is expanding. This point of view, this world we peer into, is so far from our streets and our lives, yet we impact them as they impact us. What does John Donne say: no man is an island. Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee. The sound of the bell is reaching out farther and farther.

The story of the making of this movie is also inspiring. It seems to be that time right now, a moving over for the slumdogs and the mutts.


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