Arrival was among the most gripping and thrilling movies I have ever seen. Arrival uses things like time and language, something that affects our daily lives more deeply than we understand in an extremely effective way to tell us a story we have not heard before. Spoiler Alert! The female protagonist in the movie, Louise Banks, played by Amy Adams, is a linguist who is given the task to decipher the language, roughly speaking, spoken and written, by extra terrestrial forces that have landed on earth. Alongside, she gets visions of her own daughter and husband which seem like flashbacks. However, as the movie’s end unfolds, it becomes clear that those visions and sounds are not of her past, but of her future, while her husband is Ian Donnelly, played by Jeremy Renner, who works alongside her to solve the extraterrestrial invasion. This article is NOT about the movie.

While talking to a friend about the movie, he told me about a theory built by some people from some part of the earth on which the movie is built on. I tried and tried to find the article he read which spoke about this theory but could not do so. So what the theory says is this. We are in the Present, CAN see our Past and CANNOT see our Future. This is what time does. As time passes, we are moving one step ahead in the future, but are only getting more and more sure about our past. However, what we desire is an insight into the direction we are moving, ahead into the future. This is exactly what the movie is showing. We actually have our eyes in the back, not in the front, technically speaking, because we never know what lies ahead of us.

So, in a way, I realized where this comes from through a personal experience. I have to take a battery powered open roof rickshaw from home to the metro station. It is a small vehicle that can seat four people, where two sit facing their back towards the rickshaw driver and are front facing their other two co-passengers. So the first time when I sat in the direction opposite to which the rickshaw was moving:

1) I was moving ahead in time.

2) I could not at all see the road on which I was moving, by which I mean to say that I had no idea of potholes, speed breakers, turns, or even abrupt brakes that the driver was going to apply due to an idiot on the street. I could not brace myself for them in anticipation, there was no way to do so.

3) I had an extremely clear image of the road I had crossed. My past was right in front of me. I could now see the pothole, the turn, the building and the idiot on the street.

This is something that actually sums our life up for us. If you do not believe me, try it for yourself. Sit backwards on the pillion seat of your friend’s bike. The movie shows us our desires turned into reality. Life as we know it is full of potholes, speed breakers, some crazy twists and turns, and of course, a lot of idiots. Only a few of us are extremely wise to foresee what lies ahead of them. And guess what, after this fifteen minute ordeal when I am kind of tossed a bit around my seat in the rickshaw, I do reach the metro station in time every morning. And so will you reach wherever you are headed towards in life, in time too.


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